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Abstract: We are developing a model of vacuum arcs. This model assumes that arcsdevelop as a result of mechanical failure of the surface due to Coulombexplosions, followed by ionization of fragments by field emission and thedevelopment of a small, dense plasma that interacts with the surface primarilythrough self sputtering and terminates as a unipolar arc capable of producingbreakdown sites with high enhancement factors. We have attempted to produce aself consistent picture of triggering, arc evolution and surface damage. We aremodeling these mechanisms using Molecular Dynamics mechanical failure, Coulombexplosions, self sputtering, Particle-In-Cell PIC codes plasma evolution,mesoscale surface thermodynamics surface evolution, and finite elementelectrostatic modeling field enhancements. We can present a variety ofnumerical results. We identify where our model differs from other descriptionsof this phenomenon.

Author: Z. Insepov, J. Norem, T. Proslier, D. Huang, S. Mahalingam, S. Veitzer


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