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Permanent Electrodes for Magnetohydrodynamic Power Generation


THE principles of magnetohydrodynamic generation have been experimentally verified1, and quite large amounts of electrical power have been produced experimentally using plasmas at temperatures around 2,500° C. obtained from the products of combustion of hydrocarbons with oxygen by seeding with potassium. Brogan et al.2 have generated more than 200 kW. for 9 sec., and Way et al.3 have generated 10 kW. for many minutes; but the electrode surfaces were considerably eroded during the course of both these experiments. One of the major problems is, therefore, to find an electrode which is stable and which will emit electrons (to maintain electronic conductivity in the plasma) into a fast-moving partially ionized gas stream containing carbon monoxide, water vapour and impurities such as sulphur which normally poison low-temperature cathodes, at a pressure of about one atmosphere and a temperature in excess of 2,000° C.

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MAYCOCK, J., NOÉ, J. & SWIFT-HOOK, D. Permanent Electrodes for Magnetohydrodynamic Power Generation. Nature 193, 467–468 (1962).

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