Date of Award

Fall 1968

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




A unique application of the emission spectrograph is found in the study of the electric discharge between metallic electrodes. The passive observation of the discharge by use of the spectrograph precludes any interaction between them. The electron excitation/de-excitation processes occurring at the electrodes caused by the discharge, produces characteristic radiation which is photographically recorded. Relative intensity measurements of specific radiated wavelengths can be used to calculate the discharge temperature. Application of these techniques to unipolarity surge discharges of 400 to 5500 amperes crest between copper electrodes in vacuum produces an electron temperature of 5l00oKelvin. Local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) is also shown to exist under these conditions. A temperature of 67000Kelvin is derived for an 11,400 ampere discharge. A total of 329 lines have been logged of which 28 are Copper I, 108 are Copper II, 24 are Copper III. A previously unreported Copper I line has been identified at 2444.4A. Of the remaining lines, approximately 150 are unidentified.