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Contact temperature and erosion in high-current diffuse vacuum arcs on axial magnetic field contacts

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2 Author(s)
Schellekens, H. ; Schneider Electr. Medium Voltage, Grenoble, France ; Schulman, M.B.

We have investigated the surface heating effects of drawn vacuum arcs for several industrial designs of axial magnetic field (AMF) contacts, using near infrared (IR) photography of the Cu-Cr arcing surfaces with an image-intensified charge-coupled device (CCD) camera and an IR pyrometer. This enables detailed contact temperature mapping immediately after a half-cycle of arc current. The very homogeneous temperature distribution observed at current zero stands in contrast to the visually nonhomogeneous high-current diffuse arc, which was studied in separately reported experiments using high-speed digital photography and arc voltage measurements. The peak temperature at current zero increased relatively linearly with the peak current IP, and reached well beyond the melting range. We combine the temperature maps with a heating model to determine the thermal sheath thickness after arcing and its dependence on IP. The results suggest that near the interruption limit of AMF contacts, the interaction of the stable high-current arc with the anode and cathode is dominated by processes induced by flowing liquid metal, which redistributes the heat input from the axially concentrated arc over most of the contact surface. Furthermore, the flow of liquid metal off the cathode and anode faces contributes to the overall contact erosion

Published in:

Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

Jun 2001

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