Validated two-dimensional modeling of short carbon arcs: Anode and cathode spots

J. Chen, A. Khrabry, I. D. Kaganovich, A. Khodak, V. Vekselman, H. P. Li

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In order to study the properties of short carbon arcs, a self-consistent model was implemented into a CFD code ANSYS-CFX. The model treats the transport of heat and electric current in the plasma and electrodes in a coupled manner and accounts for gas convection in the chamber. Multiple surface processes at the electrodes are modeled, including the formation of space-charge limited sheaths, ablation and deposition of carbon, and emission and absorption of radiation and electrons. The simulations show that the arc is constricted near the cathode and anode front surfaces, leading to the formation of electrode spots. The cathode spot is a well-known phenomenon, and mechanisms of its formation were reported elsewhere. However, the anode spot formation mechanism discovered in this work was not previously reported. We conclude that the spot formation is not related to plasma instability, as commonly believed in the case of constricted discharge columns, but rather occurs due to the highly nonlinear nature of heat balance in the anode. We additionally demonstrate this property with a reduced anode heat transfer model. We also show that the spot size increases with the arc current. This anode spot behavior was also confirmed in our experiments. Due to the anode spot formation, a large gradient of carbon gas density occurs near the anode, which drives a portion of the ablated carbon back to the anode at its periphery. This can consequently reduce the total ablation rate. Simulation results also show that the arc can reach the local chemical equilibrium state in the column region, while the local thermal equilibrium state is not typically achieved for experimental conditions. It shows that it is important to account for different electron and gas temperatures in the modeling of short carbon arcs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number083511
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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