Investigation of spark gap electrode failure

M. Wofford, M. Baker, M. Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Many facets of spark gap electrode erosion have been studied. In this case, abrupt electrode failure is being investigated. In certain high power spark gaps, a slight change in the operation of the switch has catastrophic results. The electrodes have noticeable pieces of material blown off. It has been suggested that the damage is a result of the material limitation related to the dddt that the spark gap handles [l]. A test circuit has been created to investigate this phenomenon. A Marx bank provides a pulse with a maximum of 120 kV and 12 kA, with a relatively fast rise time. First, any damage to the electrodes will be correlated with the voltage, current, and dddt of the system. Next, a passive magnetic delay technique will be applied to the current pulse to reduce or eliminate the electrode damage. Magnetic delay techniques have been used successfully in a number of situations with high power switches to reduce erosion or to allow a conduction channel to establish before the !Xl circuit current flows [2,3]. In this case, it will be used to reduce the damage to the switch at high dddt. The paper will provide test circuit simulation and operation, along with diagnostic results (with and without magnetic delay) Further in-depth diagnostic evidence will be provided if available.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
StatePublished - 1994
Event21st International Power Modulator Symposium, MODSYM 1994 - Costa Mesa, United States
Duration: Jun 27 1994Jun 30 1994


Conference21st International Power Modulator Symposium, MODSYM 1994
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCosta Mesa


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