Arc Discharge at Electrical Contacts

Koichiro SAWA  Zhuan-Ke CHEN  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E79-B   No.4   pp.439-446
Publication Date: 1996/04/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: INVITED PAPER (Special Issue on Discharge and Electromagnetic Interference)
arc discharge,  electrical contact,  radio noise,  EMI,  spectroscopic measurement,  

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Arc discharge at switching contacts is one of the key phenomena, because it strongly affects material wear/transfer, contact resistance and electromagnetic interference (EMI). The arc discharge is classified into various types from the viewpoint of its sustaining mechanism and voltage waveform. They are mainly steady arc, showering arc and initial arc. Furthermore, a steady arc consists of two stages named metallic phase arc and gaseous phase arc. In the metallic, phase arc, metal ious from the electrodes mainly sustain the arc. On the other hand, gas ions from the surrounding atmosphere play an important role in the gaseous phase. Each phase arc has different influence on contact performance and EMI. The purpose of this paper is to review the arc discharges at light duty electrical contacts, and to survey the effects of arc discharges on material transfer and EMI.