Anode Melting in a Multicathode-Spot Vacuum Arc

S. Goldsmith, S. Goldsmith, S. Shalev, R. L. Boxman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Melting of the anode surface in a multicathode-spot vacuum arc is expected when the incident energy flux is not balanced. The anodic energy influx is proportional to the arc-current collected by the anode and melting of the anode should be observed when peak arc-current exceeds a critical value. In this work, the critical peak arc-current Ipt was measured, and its dependence on anode and cathode materials was determined. The arc was sustained between two parallel cylindrical electrodes, 14 mm in diameter and spaced 4 mm apart. The almost critically damped current pulse lasted for 30 ms with a 6-ms rise time to peak value. Peak currents were in the range of 500-2300 A. In most of the experiments the anode material differed from that of the cathode. In the runs where the cathode-anode materials were Cu-Al or Mo-Cu, respectively, the time dependence of a spectral line intensity radiated by the anode atoms located in the plasma near the anode surface was recorded. We found that Ipt depended on both the anode and cathode materials. Thus for an Al anode and Al and Cu cathodes, Ipt equaled to 1100 and 900 A, respectively. In arcs with a peak current larger or equal to Ipt, a sudden jump of the spectral line intensity was observed. In all experiments, even when strong melting of the anode was observed, the arc-voltage stayed quiescent and in the range 15–35 V, suggesting that no anode spot was formed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1983


Dive into the research topics of 'Anode Melting in a Multicathode-Spot Vacuum Arc'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this