J. Phys. IV France 07 (1997) C4-283-C4-294
A Unified Theory of Arcs and their ElectrodesJ.J. Lowke
CSIRO Telecommunications and Industrial Physics, Box 218, Lindfield, Sydney, NSW 2070, Australia
For arcs at atmospheric pressure which have cathodes that are thermionic emitters, it is possible to calculate the major properties of the arc and the electrodes as a function of current, by accounting for electrode shape and the heat transfer processes occurring at the surface of the electrodes. Such processes occur due to electron and ion emission and absorption and also from radiation emission and absorption. Electrical resistance of the plasma near the electrodes is calculated either by taking account of ambipolar diffusion or simply using the local plasma value, with mesh sizes sufficiently large to account for ambipolar diffusion. Derived temperature profiles are in fair agreement with experiment. Results of electrode temperatures and arc melting effects, including such phenomena as the transition from globular to spray modes in arc welding, are also in good agreement with experiment. Prediction of properties for non-thermionic cathodes still constitute a major problem. Approximate calculations indicate that electrons at the surface of the non-thermionic cathodes may be produced by photo ionisation of neutral atoms rather than by field emission.
© EDP Sciences 1997