Electrode erosion in arc discharges at atmospheric pressureAn experimental investigation was performed in an effort to measure and increase lifetime of electrodes in an arcjet thruster. The electrode erosion of various anode and cathode materials was measured after tests in an atmospheric pressure nitrogen arc discharge at powers less than 1 kW. A free-burning arc configuration and a constricted arc configuration were used to test the materials. Lanthanum hexboride and thoriated tungsten had low cathode erosion rates while thoriated tungsten and pure tungsten had the lowest anode erosion rates of the materials tested. Anode cooling, reverse gas flow, an external magnetic fields were all found to reduce electrode mass loss.
Hardy, T. L. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)