Date of Award

Spring 1981

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Matthys, Donald

Second Advisor

Karioris, Frank. G.

Third Advisor

Burrage, Lawerence, M.


A vacuum arc with hollow cylindrical anode can generate an arc voltage in excess of 10,000 volts with currents in excess of 1000 amperes. A model has been developed that describes this high arc voltage as being caused by the conduction of the current through an electron space-charge region near the anode. The detection of x-rays emitted from the anode at the time of the high arc voltage has confirmed the model of this vacuum arc. An x-ray pinhole camera gave spatial resolution and showed that the x-rays were emitted from the anode. A PIN diode x-ray detector gave temporal resolution and showed that the x-rays were emitted during the high arc voltage mode. A lithium fluoride crystal spectrometer gave energy resolution and showed that the emitted x-rays were characteristic of the copper anode . This experiment confirmed that the major energy dissipation mechanism for this arc during the high voltage mode was the bombardment of the anode by electrons.