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Cylindrical Air-Gap Electrode Spark Discharge Characterization and Quenching

Darren C. Tinker, Marsalis P. Pullen, Robin J. Osborne, Robert W. Pitz

Abstract: Spark discharges were parametrically examined for a cylindrical air-gap electrode configuration. The aim of this study was to elucidate spark discharge characteristics, arc penetration, and exhaust plume development to guide designers of relevant ignition devices. Spark gaps ranged from 0.5 to 2.3 mm, nominal pressures ranged from 150 to 2200 kPa, and two exciter types (bipolar and unipolar) were tested. Positive correlations were observed between the pressure–distance product and multiple dependent variables: breakdown voltage, energy discharged, and percentage of sparks quenched. Positive correlations were observed between the pressure–distance quotient and various other dependent variables: spark duration, channel resistance, and plume velocity. This study also discusses the effects of quenching on electrical measurements, how these effects are nontrivial, and the subtle irregularities in electrical results that are indicative of quenching.
Keywords: discharged / quenching / Gap / cylindrical / electrical / distance / Spark Discharge / Air / plume

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