Nanosecond electrical explosion of thin aluminum wires in a vacuum: Experimental and computational investigations

  • Sarkisov G
  • Rosenthal S
  • Cochrane K
 et al. 
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Abstract

Experimental and computational investigations of nanosecond electrical explosion of a thin Al wire in vacuum are presented. We have demonstrated that increasing the current rate leads to increased energy deposited before voltage collapse. The experimental evidence for synchronization of the wire expansion and light emission with voltage collapse is presented. Hydrocarbons are indicated in optical spectra and their influence on breakdown physics is discussed. The radial velocity of low-density plasma reaches a value of approximately 100 km/s. The possibility of an over-critical phase transition due to high pressure is discussed. A one-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation shows good agreement with experimental data. The MHD simulation demonstrates separation of the exploding wire into a high-density cold core and a low-density hot corona as well as fast rejection of the current from the wire core to the corona during voltage collapse. Important features of the dynamics for the wire core and corona follow from the MHD simulation and are discussed.

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Authors

  • G. S. Sarkisov

  • S. E. Rosenthal

  • K. R. Cochrane

  • K. W. Struve

  • C. Deeney

  • D. H. McDaniel

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