Understanding the interaction of thermal plasmas with polymer surfaces
The purpose of this project is to improve the existing knowledge on the fundamental physical, chemical aspects of the vapour generation (also referred to as ablation) of polymers exposed to thermal arc plasmas and their interaction. Even though ablation of polymers with lasers has been broadly investigated in the last two decades, little is known about this process under the broad-band spectral radiation generated by electrical arcs in air. Since ablating polymers have gradually been used to control and/or quench electrical arcs in a number of applications such as electrical fuses, circuit breakers, soft x-rays, pulse plasma thrusters and extreme UV sources, the basic research in this field is an increasing need for the further development of those technologies.
This project has been performed with multidisciplinary cooperation with ABB and with the Leibnitz Institute of Plasmas INP in Greifswald, Germany, aimed to improve the performance of electrical switching devices (e.g. breakers, contactors) in low voltage applications by using polymeric ablating materials.