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Spark Gap Dynamics
SPARK GAP DYNAMICS
1. Spark gaps have been used as high voltage, high power switches for
2. Switch loss, defined as the amount of energy deposited in the
switch during the switching process, is mainly a result of gas heating
due to the finite resistance of the arc channel.
3. There are two distinct phases which characterize the formation of
a. Phase 1: current begins to flow while the arc resistance is
relatively high. Resistance decreases to a finite value as the arc
develops and expands.
b. Phase 2: known as the conduction phase, the arc resistance
stabilizes at a low but finite value
4. Resistive losses occur during both phases, but these losses can be
especially significant during the formative phase. (resistance of an
arc ranges from tenths of ohms to several ohms)
5. The I-V characteristics obtained during spark gap studies indicate
that the peak spark gap current is not a function of the gas mixture in
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