Skip to Main Content
Recovery of dielectric strength and post-arc currents after diffuse and constricted vacuum arcs were measured for filat OFHC-Cu contacts (D = 25 mm, d = 7.5 mm) enclosed in a bakable UHV chamber. The arc current pulse had a trapezoidal shape of 5.5-ms duration with peak values up to 11 kA. In comparison with the fast recovery of diffuse arcs, the recovery of constricted arcs with gross melting is considerably retarded. Post-arc currents are simulated using the Andrews-Varey model extended to include the effects of secondary electron emission due to ion bombardment of the cathode and loss of the plasma due to thermal motion. The flow of charge carriers to the anode and the shield, which is at the anode's potential, are registered separately. The amount and decay of the residual plasma is evaluated from the measurements of post-arc current. The decay times of a few tens of a microsecond give evidence of ions with energies below 1 eV. The origin and effect of slow ions on recovery is discussed.