Comparisons of Two Models for the Simulation of a DC Arc Plasma Torch

Huang, Renzhong; Fukanuma, Hirotaka; Uesugi, Yoshihiko; Tanaka, Yasunori
March 2013
Journal of Thermal Spray Technology;Mar2013, Vol. 22 Issue 2/3, p183
Academic Journal
The hypothesis of local thermal equilibrium (LTE) in thermal plasma has been widely accepted. Most of the simulation models for the arc plasma torch are based on the hypothesis of LTE and its results indicate good validity to mimic the pattern of plasma flow inside a plasma torch. However, according to the LTE hypothesis, electrical conductivity near electrodes is significantly lower because of the low gas temperature. Consequently, it is difficult for electrical current flows to pass between the anode and cathode. Therefore, the key subject for a model concentrating on the LTE assumption is to deal with the low electrical conductivity near the electrodes. In this study, two models determining the electrical conductivity at the vicinity of the electrodes with two different assumptions were used to calculate the flow patterns inside a non-transferred DC arc plasma torch. Gas temperature, velocity, voltage drop, and heat energy of the plasma arc were compared between the two models. The results indicated that the plasma arc inside the plasma torch fluctuates, as simulated by both models. It seems that the model can obtain comparable accuracy with the experimental results if the plasma gas electrical conductivity is determined by nominal electron temperature.


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