Geometrical and electromagnetic effects on arc propagation in a railplug ignitor


JOURNAL OF PHYSICS D-APPLIED PHYSICS, vol.40, no.24, pp.7707-7715, 2007 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Three-dimensional simulation of arc motion is presented for conditions representative of those for a railplug ignitor. A railplug ignitor is a miniature rail-gun used to deliver an arc ignition source for internal combustion engine applications. Computations explored the influence of the railplug geometry, effects of an external magnetic field, and impact of the circuit current on arc velocity. One underlying question about arc motion in railplug systems has been the influence of the expansion velocity associated with energy deposition on arc motion. A single open end muzzle would result in higher velocities if the expansion effects are dominant. This was tested by simulating two types of geometries, single open end and double open end muzzles. The double open end configuration was shown to have faster arc propagation velocities. A discussion of the mechanisms is presented. A simple scaling analysis was found to explain the increased arc propagation velocity associated with application of an external magnetic field. Increasing the circuit current was found to increase the final arc propagation velocity, although the early time velocities were slower for larger currents.