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MAGNETIC IGNITION OF PULSED GAS DISCHARGES IN AIR OF LOW PRESSURE IN A COAXIAL PLASMA GUN
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON D C
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The effect of an axial magnetic field on the breakdown voltage of a coaxial system of electrodes was investigated. For low values of gas pressure times electrode spacing, the breakdown voltage is decreased by the application of the magnetic field. The electron cyclotron radius now assumes the role held by the mean free path in nonmagnetic discharges and the breakdown voltage becomes a function of the magnetic flux density. The dependence of the formative time lag as a function of the magnetic flux density is established and the feasibility of using a magnetic field for igniting high-voltage, high-current discharges is shown through theory and experiment. With a 36 microfarad capacitor bank charged to 48,000 volts, a peak current of 1.3 x 10 to the 6th power amperes in a coaxial type of plasma gun was achieved with a current rise time of only 2 microseconds. Author
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE