Measurement of the vacuum arc plasma force

Harry S. Marks, Isak I. Beilis, Raymond L. Boxman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The axial force carried by the expanding plasma plume from 50-250-A copper and aluminum vacuum arcs was measured using a pendulum whose axle was equipped with a rotary optical encoder. It was found that the force was a linear function of current. The electrode geometry was varied to find the maximum force. At maximum, the average forces per unit current were 21.4 dyn/A for aluminum cathodes and 36.1 dyn/A for copper cathodes. The Cu ion current fraction was measured to be 8.6%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1337
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number7 PART 2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Encoder
  • Force measurement
  • Pendulum
  • Plasma jet
  • Vacuum arc


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