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The short vacuum arc. I. Experimental investigations

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1 Author(s)
Paulus, I. ; Siemens AG, Erlangen, West Germany

High-current vacuum arcs drawn between commercial radial-magnetic field, chromium-copper contacts were studied by high-speed photography. The aim of the investigation was to study phenomena of relevance to high-current interruption, such as arc constriction and arc motion. The arcs were drawn at contact opening speeds typical of commercial devices, are duration being 10 ms or less. The arcs were `short' for much of their lifetime, and strong electrode-discharge coupling could be expected. Such arcs are also of principal interest. Arc behavior was found to be strongly influenced by the gap length d and the arc current I. No diffuse mode was observed at d less the dmin≈4 mm and at instantaneous currents I above Imax±25 kA. The diffuse discharge mode was assumed more readily when d was large. At d below 2 mm, the arcs could not be moved by a magnetic field. Increasing both I and d resulted in an increase of the probability and duration of arc motion and of the arc path length. Arc speed was often irregular, showing that arc motion is also affected by parameters other than the purely electrodynamic ones

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 3 )