5. Significance and Use
5.1 The dielectric strength of an electrical insulating material is a property of interest for any application where an electrical field will be present. In many cases the dielectric strength of a material will be the determining factor in the design of the apparatus in which it is to be used.
5.2 Tests made as specified herein are suitable for use to provide part of the information needed for determining suitability of a material for a given application; and also, for detecting changes or deviations from normal characteristics resulting from processing variables, aging conditions, or other manufacturing or environmental situations. This test method is useful for process control, acceptance or research testing.
5.3 Results obtained by this test method can seldom be used directly to determine the dielectric behavior of a material in an actual application. In most cases it is necessary that these results be evaluated by comparison with results obtained from other functional tests or from tests on other materials, or both, in order to estimate their significance for a particular material.
5.4 Three methods for voltage application are specified in Section 12: Method A, Short-Time Test; Method B, Step-by- Step Test; and Method C, Slow Rate-of-Rise Test. Method A is the most commonly-used test for quality-control tests. However,the longer-time tests, Methods B and C, which usually will give lower test results, will potentially give more meaningful results when different materials are being compared with each other. If a test set with motor-driven voltage control is available, the slow rate-of-rise test is simpler and preferable to the step-by-step test. The results obtained from Methods B and C are comparable to each other.
5.5 Documents specifying the use of this test method shall also specify:
5.5.1 Method of voltage application,
5.5.2 Voltage rate-of-rise, if slow rate-of-rise method is specified,
5.5.3 Specimen selection, preparation, and conditioning,
5.5.4 Surrounding medium and temperature during test,
5.5.6 Wherever possible, the failure criterion of the currentsensing element, and
5.5.7 Any desired deviations from the recommended procedures as given.
5.6 If any of the requirements listed in 5.5 are missing from the specifying document, then the recommendations for the several variables shall be followed.
5.7 Unless the items listed in 5.5 are specified, tests made with such inadequate reference to this test method are not in conformance with this test method. If the items listed in 5.5 are not closely controlled during the test, it is possible that the precisions stated in 15.2 and 15.3 will not be obtained.
5.8 Variations in the failure criteria （current setting and response time） of the current sensing element significantly affect the test results.
5.9 Appendix X1. contains a more complete discussion of the significance of dielectric strength tests.