J. Norem, Z Insepov, A. Hassanein
Almost 120 years after the isolation of vacuum arcs as a phenomenon, the field continues to be somewhat unsettled. We outline a simple and general model of the vacuum arc that can incorporate all active mechanisms and aims to explain all relevant data. Our four stage model considers the trigger, plasma formation, plasma evolution and surface damage phases of the arc. This model provides a framework in which to evaluate all arcing phenomena, and should be a useful guide for future studies. We consider modeling problems such as the conditioning process and extension of modeling efforts to high power systems like tokamaks, HV transmission lines, as well as more detailed modeling of the arcs themselves. This work applies directly to the designs of future high energy colliders, as well as projects like the ITER tokamak.
Comments: 11 pages, 8 figures