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Neutral copper vapor density and electric recovery after forced extinction of vacuum arcs

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3 Author(s)
G. Lins ; forschungslaboratorien der Siemens AG, Erlangen, West Germany ; I. Paulus ; F. Pohl

Dielectric recovery data were obtained for vacuum arcs between chromium copper butt contacts 30 mm in diameter and 2 mm apart. The 50-Hz arc current was forced to zero at its maximum of 200 A in about 1 μs. Following current zero, high-voltage pulses of a sufficient amplitude to always cause breakdown were applied to the gap. Gap recovery is characterized by the measured breakdown voltage as a function of time. Dielectric strength of the gap rises sharply within the first few microseconds after current zero, reaching its final value in about 10 μs. Neutral copper concentration in the center of the gap was measured by laser-induced fluorescence under conditions very similar to those of the recovery measurements. In contrast to the fast gap recovery, the copper vapor concentration does not change substantially during the first 100 μs from its value of 1.4×1018 m -3 near current zero. It is concluded that the neutral copper vapor concentration does not play a decisive role in gap recovery under these experimental conditions. This is corroborated by the fact that the mean free path for electron-impact ionization of copper atoms exceeds the gap length by four orders of magnitude

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 5 )