Lead-Free Lightning Arrestor Connector Material Development

Carolina Gomez, Joshua Nordlander, Pin Yang

Sandia National Laboratories

Lightning Arrestor Connectors (LACs) shunt high voltages such as lightning strikes from a connector pin to the grounded housing case by arcing across an air gap. Dielectric material inside LACs helps air break down at a lower voltage threshold. Lead Magnesium Niobate – Lead Titanate (PMN-PT) is the dielectric material currently used in LACs, but reasons for developing a lead-free material of the same function include: quality PMN becoming increasingly scarce (it is difficult to synthesize), hazardous waste reduction, and a widespread push for eliminating lead use in electronics. This research explores the use of Sodium-Bismuth Titanate – Barium Titanate (NBT-BT) as a lead-free alternative LAC material which exhibits the key properties of a high dielectric constant and a favorable fast-rise breakdown response with increasing temperature.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory managed and operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-NA0003525.