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Investigation of the characteristics of a pulsed mercury arc Campbell, Hugh Daniel

Abstract

An investigation of a pulsed Hg arc has been undertaken to test the relation V α I°⁴ between the voltage and current of an arc discharge. Although the experimental V-I characteristic exhibited this tendency, further considerations strongly indicated that the agreement between theory and experiment was probably a coincidence. The Paschen breakdown curve was determined, and together with simultaneous measurements of the current and voltage, it was possible to measure the average column field strength as a function of current. As a result of an unexpected feature of the apparatus, namely an inherent motion of the electrodes, the voltage waveform could be used to obtain an approximate measurement of the combined thickness of the anode and cathode falls df, and also the average field strength in these regions Ef. The measurements df = 3x10⁻⁶ cm, and Ef = 2.4x10⁶ volt/om appear to be in agreement with the field emission theory.

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