Optimization of an FCG-based high-power microwave system using nonexplosive pulsed power

Cole B. Davis, Andreas A. Neuber, Andrew Young, John Walter, James C. Dickens, Magne Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper presents a nonexplosive pulsed-power system that replicates the output current waveform of a flux compression generator (FCG). The primary purpose of this system is to efficiently test the power conditioning components of an explosively driven HPM system, while drastically reducing the time between tests which are inherent with explosive experiments. The power conditioning system (PCS) of the HPM system includes an energy-storage inductor, an electroexplosive opening switch (fuse), and a peaking gap and serves to match the FCG output characteristics with the HPM diode load requirements. A secondary purpose of the nonexplosive test bed is to provide data points which could be directly compared with those from explosively driven experiments. For this reason, a reflex-triode virtual cathode oscillator (vircator) was connected to the output of the nonexplosive system, and the results of which were compared with similar testing done with an FCG and a compact Marx generator. Since the behavior of the fuse is known to play a critical role in the performance of the PCS, a study was performed on the effect of different fuse designs on the overall performance of the PCS. Specifically, the quality of the electrical connection between the fuse wire array and the rest of the system was tested. Fuse design experiments were conducted with the nonexplosive test bed firing into a water resistor dummy load, which showed a 13% increase in peak load voltage and more than an 11% increase in energy transfer for fuses with improved wire-electrode connection strength. Some basic rules about fuse design, as well as conclusions on the performance of the PCS when driving an HPM load, are given.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5313897
Pages (from-to)2321-2327
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Electrode wire connection
  • Electroexplosive devices
  • Electromagnetic radiation
  • Exploding wire


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