Spectrographic temperature measurement of a high power breakdown arc in a high pressure gas switch

Yeckel, Christopher; Curry, Randy
September 2011
Review of Scientific Instruments;Sep2011, Vol. 82 Issue 9, p093112
Academic Journal
A procedure for obtaining an approximate temperature value of conducting plasma generated during self-break closure of a RIMFIRE gas switch is described. The plasma is in the form of a breakdown arc which conducts approximately 12 kJ of energy in 1 μs. A spectrographic analysis of the trigger-section of the 6-MV RIMFIRE laser triggered gas switch used in Sandia National Laboratory's 'Z-Machine' has been made. It is assumed that the breakdown plasma has sufficiently approached local thermodynamic equilibrium allowing a black-body temperature model to be applied. This model allows the plasma temperature and radiated power to be approximated. The gas dielectric used in these tests was pressurized SF6. The electrode gap is set at 4.59 cm for each test. The electrode material is stainless steel and insulator material is poly(methyl methacrylate). A spectrum range from 220 to 550 nanometers has been observed and calibrated using two spectral irradiance lamps and three spectrograph gratings. The approximate plasma temperature is reported.


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