Propeller arc: design and basic characteristics

Xuekai Pei, Dogan Gidon, David B. Graves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A new atmospheric pressure non-equilibrium plasma source named the 'Propeller Arc' (PA) is developed using the concept of rotating electrodes. The PA device consists of a rotating cathode, driven by a motor, with one or more fixed anodes. Plasma is ignited at or near the narrowest gap as the rotating cathode passes by the anode and then it is extended up to a length of ∼66 mm or longer depending on the supplied power. This allows for efficient ignition, followed by a quick increase in plasma volume. The PA is similar to the widely used gliding arc (GA); however, unlike the GA, PA does not require imposed gas flow, and the PA discharge frequency can be easily controlled by the motor angular velocity. In this paper, the basic characteristics of PA are investigated using two different operation modes: pulse modulation and DC power. Discharge properties including electrical characteristics, time-resolved optical emission images, plasma electrical properties such as resistance and average electric field (discharge voltage divided by gap distance) and plasma power consumption are reported. Use of multiple anodes to increase the plasma volume is also demonstrated. As the PA has a compact design and is relatively easy to stabilize and control without the need for applied gas flow, it has potential to be adapted for many different applications such as nitrogen fixation, fuel and carbon dioxide conversion, waste, odor and hydrogen sulfide treatment, etc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125007
JournalPlasma Sources Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 28 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • gliding arc
  • non-equilibrium plasma source
  • propeller arc
  • rotating electrodes discharge


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