Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:
Whitman, A.M, Portonovo S. Ayyaswamy and Ira M. Cohen. (1976). On the stability of electric arc discharges. Journal of Applied Physics. Vol 47(11).

Copyright (1976) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.

The following article appeared in Journal of Applied Physics and may be found at


The stability of electric arc discharges has been explored through the use of an energy balance coupled with charge conservation. In order to facilitate this analysis, a new model for the electrical conductivity function has been proposed. Asymptotic solutions for the arc governing equations have been obtained. Stability criteria have been developed from both the linear theory (infinitesimal size disturbance) and from a minimizing solution point of view for finite size disturbances. The results delineate an open region in the stability diagram where arc instabilities may be possible.



Date Posted: 17 August 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.