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Fluid Simulation of the Conduction Phase of the Plasma Erosion Opening Switch

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3 Author(s)

The conduction phase of the plasma erosion opening switch (PEOS) is studied using a 1¿-D electromagnetic two-fluid code. The focus of this work is on understanding how two effects, a current-limiting model of electron emission, and the magnetic insulation of electrons at the cathode, determine current conduction in the plasma. Simulations are performed in the parameter regimes of the Gamble I, POP, and PBFA II pulsed power generators, and previous low-density, short-rise time simulations of the PEOS. Fluid code results are compared to a 1-D analytic theory and to the Gamble I and POP experiments. Good agreement between theory and simulation, but mixed agreement between simulation and experiment is found. Experimental B-field measurements on POP show weaker j × B compression than the simulation. Current penetration and plasma current channels qualitatively similar to experimental observation are found in the Gamble I regime. However, magnetic insulation of electrons emitted from the cathode bunches the electron flow into narrower current channels than observed experimentally. In several cases, the presence of an electron-scattering or energy-loss mechanism near the cathode must be invoked to overcome magnetic insulation and widen the current channels.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 6 )