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Cathode Spot Development on a Bulk Cathode in a Vacuum Arc

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1 Author(s)
Beilis, I.I. ; Electrical Discharge and Plasma Laboratory, School of Electrical Engineering, Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

A transient model of spot on a bulk cathode is developed, considering the initial adjacent plasma generated during arc triggering. A self-consistent approach is described and a closed mathematical solution is presented to understand the transient cathode phenomena and the time-dependent cathode potential drop (CPD), considering the kinetics and gas dynamics of the cathode plasma flow. The time-dependent spot development is calculated by considering different existing lifetimes \tau of an initial plasma adjacent to the cathode for Cu, Cr, and W and 10-A spot current. The lifetime \tau is in the range of 2–100 ns. The solution shows that for Cu, the cathode temperature increased from 3500 to 4300 K with spot time. The CPD decreased with spot time from initial values 100–45 V (depending on \tau ) to 14–15 V at steady state. The solution for a refractory W cathode is obtained using a previously developed virtual cathode model. Calculation shows that a spot current density of {\sim}{\rm 10}^{7}~{\rm A}/{\rm cm}^{2} can support the spot initiation in a time of 2 ns considering W cathode vaporization with plasma generation by atom ionization. When \tau increased from 2 ns to the 2 \mu{\rm s} range, the W cathode temperature decreased from {\sim}{\rm 10000}~{\rm K} to a relatively low level of 7500 K.

Published in:

Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 8 )