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What's "creep" ?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Chris Carlen, Jul 11, 2003.

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  1. Chris Carlen

    Chris Carlen Guest


    I have heard the term "creep" a lot, and wonder what it means, usually
    coming from women.


    Just kidding.

    Seriously, in the context of electronics, I think it has something to do
    with slow dielectric breakdown over time. But I'm guessing.

    Please educate.

  2. It refers to conduction over the surface of an insulator. It is much
    easier for charge to migrate over an insulating surface (under some
    conditions, especially high humidity) than it is for it to pass
    through the insulator. Often used in terms of creep distance for high
    voltage rating. The creep distance between two points on an insulator
    can be increased by making the surface undulate. The breakdown
    directly between two points is referred to as a strike, so the direct
    arc distance (through air, rather than along the surface undulations)
    is the strike distance. Many times, the creep distance between two
    conductors on a circuit board is not big enough, even though the
    strike distance is. In those cases, the creep distance is often made
    larger by routing a slot between the two conductors. You see this a
    lot in direct line voltage switching power supplies and on monitor
    boards that produce the high voltages for the CRT.
  3. If I can remember my materials class from uni correctly, creep is where the
    atoms of one particular metal diffuse into the metal its bonded to over a
    period of time. I believe principle was used by the medievil people used to
    make alloyed swords back in the day. BTW, I could be very wrong, and the
    more i think about the more i think i am wrong....Anyhow, if I am right,
    heat accelerates the process too!!
  4. Active8

    Active8 Guest

    i think i once heard the term used to refer to molded plastic shrinkage,
    also. like maybe shrinkback of a plastic chip package from the pins
    which would allow the envionment in and the smoke out.

    mike c.
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