Three-electrode gas switches with electrodynamical acceleration of a discharge channel

B. M. Kovalchuk, A. A. Kim, A. V. Kharlov, E. V. Kumpyak, N. V. Tsoy, V. V. Vizir, V. B. Zorin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    High voltage, high current, and high Coulomb transfer closing switches are required for many high power pulsed systems. There are a few alternatives for closing switches, for example, ignitrons, vacuum switches, solid-state switches, high pressure gas switches (spark gaps), and some others. The most popular closing switches up to date are spark gaps due to relatively simple design, robustness, easily field maintenance, and repair. Main drawback of spark gaps is limited lifetime, which is related directly or indirectly to erosion of the electrodes. Multichannel switches and switches with moving arc have been proposed to prevent the electrodes erosion. This study investigates switches, where a spark channel is initiated in a three-electrode layout and then the spark accelerates due to electrodynamic force and moves along the extended electrodes. At a given current amplitude, the diameter of the extended electrodes allows to control the spark velocity and hence, the erosion of the electrodes providing the required lifetime. The first switch is designed for 24 kV charging voltage and ∼4 C total charge transfer. This spark gap was tested at 25 kA peak current in 40 000 shots in a single polarity discharge and in 20 000 shots in bipolar discharge. Second spark gap is designed for 24 kV charging voltage and ∼70 C total charge transfer. It was tested in 22 000 shots, at a current of 250 kA with a pulse length of 360 μs. In this paper, we present design of these spark gaps and trigger generator, describe the test bed, and present the results of the tests.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number053504
    JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Instrumentation
    • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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