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Anode-Spot Formation and Motion of Vacuum Arcs

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2 Author(s)

This paper reports about experimental investigations on high-current vacuum-arc phenomena, especially anode-spot formation, arc states, and motion. The presented work was stimulated by lack of information about the transition process from the diffuse low-current mode to the high-current mode characterized by anode spot(s). Optoelectronic measurements, streak photographs, high-speed movies, and correlated arc voltage/current records yielded remarkable results on power-frequency vacuum arcs. Three different high-current vacuum arc modes can be observed beyond a certain threshold current. Which mode appears depends mainly on the momentary electrode distance. The modes are characterized by different anode-spot behavior and interelectrode phenomena. The transition between different arc modes is continuous. The arc modes observed on ring electrodes producing a magnetic blast field are the same as those appearing on butt-type electrodes. Anode-spot formation is preceded by congregations of cathode spots and may be initiated by thermal overload of the anode surface opposite to these cathode-spot clusters.

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 5 )