CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas

Aubiere, France

CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas

Aubiere, France
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Andre P.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Bussiere W.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Coulbois A.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Gelet J.-L.,MERSEN | Rochette D.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas
Plasma Science and Technology | Year: 2016

During the working of electrical fuses, inside the fuse element the silver ribbon first begins to melt, to vaporize and then a fuse arc appears between the two separated parts of the element. Second, the electrodes are struck and the burn-back phenomenon takes place. Usually, the silver ribbon is enclosed inside a cavity filled with silica sand. During the vaporization of the fuse element, one can consider that the volume is fixed so that the pressure increase appears to reach pressures higher than atmospheric pressure. Thus, in this paper two pressures, 1 atm and 10 atm, are considered. The electrical field inside the plasma can reach high values since the distance between the cathode surface and the anode surface varies with time. That is to say from zero cm to one cm order. So we consider various electrical fields: 102 V/m, 103 V/m, 5×103 V/m, 104 V/m at atmospheric pressure and 105 V/m at a pressure of 10 atm. This study is made in heavy species temperature range from 2,400 K to 10,000 K. To study the plasma created inside the electric fuse, we first need to determine some characteristics in order to justify some hypotheses. That is to say: are the classical approximations of the thermal plasmas physics justified? In other words: plasma frequency, the ideality of the plasma, the Debye-Hückel approximation and the drift velocity versus thermal velocity. These characteristics and assumptions are discussed and commented on in this paper. Then, an evaluation of non-thermal equilibrium versus considered electrical fields is given. Finally, considering the high mobility of electrons, we evaluate the electrical conductivities.


Akbi M.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Akbi M.,University of Boumerdès | Bouchou A.,University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene | Ferhat-Taleb M.,University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene
Vacuum | Year: 2014

Theoretical models of arc roots need a good knowledge of physical constants characterizing contact material. With pure metals, all the constants are well known, whereas for the new industrial materials made with silver alloys some of these parameters are still not known. The purpose of this paper is to get a better understanding of emission of electrons occurring in an alloyed cathode submitted to several vacuum outgassing cycles at room temperature and residual gas pressure of 1.4 × 10-7 mbar. The electron work function (EWF) of silver alloyed contacts, Ag-Ni (70/30), was measured photoelectrically, using Fowler's method of isothermal curves. Experimental results about silver-nickel alloys show a large dependence of obtained results with the preparation of contact surface. The EWF of the contact pastille made with silver alloys Ag-Ni varies with surface cleaning by vacuum outgassing cycles. For an unpolished contact, the EWF varies between 4.34 eV and 4.51 eV (the EWF of Nickel), after 7 cleaning cycles and cleaning time of 9 days. On the other hand, for a polished contact, the EWF varies between the EWF of the two components, namely from 4.26 eV for Ag to 4.51 eV for Ni, at room temperature, after 22 cleaning cycles and a cleaning time of 16 days. The error in determining EWF was ±0.03 eV. A multilayer model, taking into account the strong intergranular and volume segregation gives a good interpretation of the obtained results. In addition, a change of order of 0.1 eV was observed for silver alloys Ag-Ni (60/40) EWF after polishing. Afterwards, the microstructure of the contact surface was analyzed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry (EDS). The analyzes of the cathode surfaces before and after polishing enabled us to have evidence about the decrease of the electron work function for polished samples. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Akbi M.,British Petroleum | Akbi M.,University of Boumerdès | Akbi M.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas
21st Symposium on Physics of Switching Arc 2015, FSO 2015 | Year: 2015

The influence of industrial conditioning (polishing, mechanical shocks and electrical arcs in air) on the electron emission and morphology of contact pastilles made of pure silver [Ag (99.999%)], silver-nickel alloy [Ag-Ni (60/40)], silver-tungsten alloy [Ag-W (50/50)], and silver-tungsten carbide [Ag-WC (50/50)] was investigated. The electronic emission behavior of pure silver Ag and silver-metal alloys (Ag-Me), for both virgin and arced electrical contacts, were studied. Contacts were mounted in a contactor working repeatedly on air (laboratory atmosphere). When submitted to 500 opening electric arcs, the electron work function of an electromechanically conditioned contact Ag-Ni (60/40), measured photoelectrically by using Fowler's method of isothermal curves, is φ = (4.50 ± 003) eV at room temperature, while for virgin Ag contacts, it was (4.30 ± 003) eV. The in-crease in the electron work function (EWF) is due to the progressive inclusion of silver oxide in the Ag contact surface during arcing in air. The conditioned (500 arcs) silver-metal alloys studied in this work exhibit the same electronic emission behavior, namely arcing in air increases their EWF. We demonstrated that the electromechanical conditioning by successive electrical arcs affects the surface characteristics such as microstructure, roughness and photoelectron work function.


Clain S.,University Paul Sabatier | Rochette D.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Touzani R.,University Blaise Pascal | Touzani R.,French National Center for Scientific Research
Journal of Computational Physics | Year: 2010

A finite volume method for the numerical solution of axisymmetric inviscid swirling flows is presented. The governing equations of the flow are the axisymmetric compressible Euler equations including swirl (or tangential) velocity. A first-order scheme is introduced where the convective fluxes at cell interfaces are evaluated by the Rusanov or the HLLC numerical flux while the geometric source terms are discretizated to provide a well-balanced scheme i.e. the steady-state solutions with null velocity are preserved. Extension to the second-order space approximation using a multislope MUSCL method is then derived. To test the numerical scheme, a stationary solution of the fluid flow following the radial direction has been established with a zero and nonzero tangential velocity. Numerical and exact solutions are compared for classical Riemann problems where we employ different limiters and effectiveness of the multislope MUSCL scheme is demonstrated for strongly shocked axially symmetric flows like in spherical bubble compression problem. Two other tests with axisymmetric geometries are performed: the supersonic flow in a tube with a cone and the axisymmetric blunt body with a free stream. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Rochette D.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Clain S.,University Paul Sabatier | Bussiere W.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Andre P.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Besnard C.,Schneider Electric
IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery | Year: 2010

Electrical power distribution equipment, such as medium-voltage (MV) switchgear, must be designed to withstand the pressures and temperatures of gases resulting from an internal arcing fault. An original way to limit the external effects of the arc consists in channeling downward the gas flow across a filter composed of a granular porous medium in order to absorb the abrupt pressure wave and to cool the hot gas flow. In this paper, we propose an optimization of the MV switchgear configuration to enhance the porous filter efficiency where we manage to strongly reduce the external manifestations of the arc fault. On one hand, we employ the numerical simulation tool lying on a physical model where the major events are taken into account. On the other hand, real experimental tests have been performed according to the IEC standards and pressure and temperature histories obtained by numerical simulation are compared with the experimental measurements. © 2010 IEEE.


Guirlet R.,French Atomic Energy Commission | Guirlet R.,EURATOM | Sirinelli A.,French Atomic Energy Commission | Sirinelli A.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | And 11 more authors.
Nuclear Fusion | Year: 2010

Electron and impurity transport has been studied in sawtoothing plasmas in the Tore-Supra tokamak. High time and space resolution measurements of the electron density reveal the existence of a flat profile region encompassing the q = 1 surface, on which is superimposed a density peak building up between sawtooth relaxations. For the first time in this regime, we have determined the underlying transport of both nickel and electrons independently of the effect of sawteeth in the central part of the plasma. Electron transport is consistent with the neoclassical expectations only in the close vicinity of the magnetic axis. Further out, it exceeds the neoclassical values as calculated with the NCLASS code, although the turbulence level is very low in the whole central region. In contrast, nickel transport is in good agreement with the neoclassical calculations in the same region. The neoclassical effect on trapped particles of a persisting mode due to incomplete reconnection of the magnetic surfaces is consistent with these observations. © 2010 IAEA, Vienna Printed in the UK & the USA.


Akbi M.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Akbi M.,University of Boumerdès | Bouchou A.,University of Boumerdès | Zouache N.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas
Applied Surface Science | Year: 2014

Contact materials used for electrical breakers are often made with silver alloys. Mechanical and thermodynamical properties as well as electron emission of such complicated alloys present a lack of reliable and accurate experimental data. This paper deals mainly with electron work function (EWF) measurements about silver-metal (Ag-Me) electrical contacts (Ag-Ni (60/40) and Ag-W (50/50)), before and after surface heat treatments at 513 K-873 K, under UHV conditions (residual gas pressure of 1.4 × 10-7 mbar). The electron work function (EWF) of silver alloyed contacts was measured photoelectrically, using both Fowler's method of isothermal curves and linearized Fowler plots. An interesting fact brought to light by this investigation is that after vacuum heat treatments, the diffusion and/or evaporation phenomena, affecting the atomic composition of the alloy surface, somehow confine the EWF of the silver-nickel alloy, Φ(Ag-Ni), determined at room temperature in interval]Φ(Ag), Φ(Ni) [=] 4.26 eV, 4.51 eV[. Surface analysis of two specimens before and after heating showed a significant increase of tungsten atomic proportion on the contact surface for Ag-W contacts after VH treatments. A multilayer model, taking into account the strong intergranular and volume segregation gives a good interpretation of the obtained results. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Molecular dynamics simulations are used to study the interaction between incident copper ions, SF6 molecules and a polyethylene surface. Average particle velocities from 15 to 21 km• s-1 are tested in steps of 2km• s-1. The damage to the polyethylene crystal is reviewed in terms of material heating, local molecular disorder and bond breaking accompanied by particle emissions. Two types of emitted particles are distinguished to explain the degradation of the polymer. The first corresponds to free radicals with molecular formula CnH2n+1 and the second takes into account all other possible molecules, especially hydrogen atoms and carbonaceous molecules. The formation of CuF molecules during the interaction is shown and this result is discussed on the basis of other theoretical results concerning the calculations of plasma composition. The self-diffusion coefficients of the emitted atoms are calculated by using two different methods: the alternative Green-Kubo expression, based on the integrated velocity autocorrelation function, and the Einstein expression, based on the mean-square displacement autocorrelation function. © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Akbi M.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Akbi M.,University of Boumerdès
IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology | Year: 2014

The nature of the contact material plays a key role to determine the characteristics of electrical arcs and particularly those related to electronic emission. Mechanical and thermodynamic properties as well as electronic emission of such complicated alloys present a lack of reliable and accurate experimental data. The purpose of this paper is to present the development of a method for measuring photoelectric work functions of contact materials. Also reported in this paper are the results of experimental work whose purpose has been the buildup of a reliable photoelectric system and associated monochromatic ultraviolet radiations source, and the photoelectric measurement of the EWF of contact materials. As a first test of the experimental Ultra High Vacuum setup, the electron work functions (EWF) of silver contacts, namely pure polycrystalline metals that are actually used in relays, were measured photoelectrically, using both Fowler's method of isothermal curves and linearized Fowler plots. Ultrahigh vacuum techniques were employed to obtain residual gas pressure of about (5× 10-9) mbar that allows accurate and reliable photoelectric work function measurements. The EWF measured at room temperature of polycrystalline Ag contact (as commercially available) increased from 3.70 eV before heating, to 4.30 eV, and finally, stabilized at the vicinity of 4.26 eV after several vacuum heat treatments at 533 and 773 K. The EWF value obtained, i.e., 4.26 ± 0.03 eV, is in good agreement with the results found in the literature. This shows that the experimental method is valid and the experimental setup is usable. Furthermore, new photoelectric measurements versus temperature have shown a linear decrease of the EWF of silver contacts with increasing temperature, i.e., the temperature coefficient α =dφ/dt) is constant and negative α =-4.58 . 10-4) eV/K in the experiment temperature range 300-780 K. © 2014 IEEE.


Akbi M.,CNRS Laboratory of Electric Arc and Thermal Plasmas | Akbi M.,University of Boumerdès
Proceedings - European Conference on Heat Treatment and 21st IFHTSE Congress | Year: 2014

Contact materials used for electrical breakers are often made with silver alloys. Mechanical and thermodynamical properties as well as electron emission of such complicated alloys present a lack of reliable and accurate experimental data. At present, new types of contactors with longer duration are marketed, but manufacturers do not understand well why this improvement. This paper deals mainly with electron work function (EWF) measurements in UHV conditions. Also, the photoelectric emission from silver-metal (Ag-Me) electrical contacts (Ag-Ni (60/40), Ag-Ni (70/30) and Ag-W (50/50)) has been investigated in the spectral range of 196-256 nm. The effects of thermal surface treatment on EWF of the abovementioned contacts were studied at room temperature and residual gas pressure of 1.4 × 10-7 mbar. The EWF of the contact pastille made with silver alloys Ag-Ni and Ag-W varies with surface treatments: cleaning by vacuum outgassing and annealing (long heating time in UHV). By heating alloy contact in ultra high vacuum large variations of EWF have been observed, which result from material component vaporization by sheets. In addition, the influence of arcing on EWF of binary alloys has been investigated. Also, EWF varies with the number of applied arcs. Therefore, after 500 arcs in air, the observed EWF increasing is probably due to progressive inclusion of oxide on alloy surface. Microscopic examination is necessary to get better understandings on EWF of silver alloys, for both virgin and eroded electric contacts. So, surface analysis by SEM and EDS have been performed to produce proofs of these various phenomena.

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