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The cathode spot of a high-current vacuum arc as a multiecton phenomenon

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2 Author(s)
Mesyats, G.A. ; Inst. of Electrophys., Acad. of Sci., Ekaterinburg, Russia ; Barengolts, S.A.

The operation of the cathode spot of a high-current vacuum arc is treated in terms of the ecton model. It has been demonstrated that, in this case, the cathode spot cells are grouped to adjoin one another. The existence of such,a collective spot is due to the cumulative effect of a number of microexplosions, resulting in that the current density in the spot increases by-almost an order of magnitude. Moreover, in such a spot, conditions are realized which are energetically profitable for the repetition of ecton processes, namely, an elevated temperature of the surface and an increased density of the near-cathode plasma. The parameters of a collective cathode spot, such as the crater diameter, the current density, and the lifetime, have been related to the arc current. The predicted relationships are in good agreement with experimental results. It has been shown that as the arc current increases, the current density in the cathode spot drops, resulting in division of the spot. An estimate of the limiting arc current per unit spot has been obtained

Published in:

Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Oct 2001

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