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Fluid Modeling and Analysis of the Constriction of the DC Positive Column in Argon

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3 Author(s)
Gnybida, M. ; Leibniz Inst. for Plasma Sci. & Technol., Greifswald ; Loffhagen, D. ; Uhrlandt, D.

The glow-to-arc transition of the positive column of a dc discharge in argon in the course of constriction has been investigated on the basis of a self-consistent 1-D axisymmetric fluid model. The model adopts the nonlocal moment method, i.e., the system of balance equations resulting from the moments of the radially dependent Boltzmann equation is solved. The electron transport and rate coefficients are applied in dependence on the mean energy of the electrons, the gas temperature, and the ionization degree. Investigations have been performed for currents from 0.6 to 70 mA and pressures from 100 to 500 torr. The model predictions are compared with experimental and other available modeling results, and they show good agreement with these data in general. The pronounced nonlocal features of the mean electron energy balance are found, and their influence on the constricted argon positive column is analyzed. Different assumptions concerning the electron velocity distribution function have been considered in the present model. In particular, the impact of using a Maxwellian distribution instead of solutions of the steady-state spatially homogeneous electron Boltzmann equation is discussed where the assumption of a Maxwellian distribution for the electrons was found to be inappropriate for describing the constriction effect.

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 7 )