Letter | Published:

Cathode Region of a Vapour Arc

Naturevolume 212pages6465 (1966) | Download Citation



THE total potential across a short arc discharge is normally a few tens of volts, and the cathode and anode falls, the regions of high field close to the electrodes, account for a large proportion of this. The small thickness and high current density in the cathode and anode fall sheaths make measurements of potential in these regions very difficult. In the past, the sum of the electrode potential falls has been found either by extrapolating voltage-length plots to zero length, or by measuring the arc voltage on an oscilloscope just before approaching electrodes contact1, but it has not been possible to determine their individual contributions unambiguously. The thickness of these regions has also remained a matter of conjecture.

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  1. 1

    von Engel, A., Ionised Gases, second ed., 274 (Oxford Univ. Press, 1965).

  2. 2

    von Engel, A., and Robson, A. E., Proc. Roy. Soc., A, 242, 217 (1957).

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    • D. J. DICKSON

    Present address: Research Centre, The Electricity Council, Capenhurst, Chester


  1. Department of Electrical Engineering, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, S.W.7.

    • D. J. DICKSON


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