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Some investigations into spark gap recovery in air and hydrogen Burnett, Neal Harvey

Abstract

Studies were conducted into several aspects of the recovery of a spark gap consisting of 6 mm. diameter, flat tungsten electrodes, after an initial discharge of 32 kamp. maximum, and duration 11 sec. The controlling effect of electrode heat transport on the intermediate recovery of the spark gap was demonstrated using air at 760 mm. Hg as a discharge medium, and gap lengths of 3, 4, and 5 mm. In the intermediate stages of recovery, the increase in breakdown strength of the gap was found to be proportional to t½, and to be nearly independent of gap length. These results are explained on the basis of uniaxular heat flow, through the electrodes. A previously observed long-time or delayed recovery in a hydrogen spark gap between clean tungsten electrodes was investigated to establish the possible role of hydrogen-tungsten adsorption in this effect. The temperatures of the electrodes were varied by means of small heating coils, and the recovery characteristics for heated electrodes measured. By comparing these results to the normal recovery characteristic, the phenomana of delayed recovery was shown to be at least partially attributable to the adsorption of hydrogen onto the electrode surfaces.

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