Switch Development At UT-CEM
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Two reusable (with replacement of a few expendable components), fast (tens of microseconds), megampere switches operated with commercially available explosive charges suitable for indoor laboratories are described. One is a low-inductance, triggerable opening switch and the other, a metal-to-metal self-assisted closing switch. The opening switch is the second stage of a two-stage switch for storage inductor commutation. The first stage is a heavy-duty mechanical switch. The explosive switch itself has a number of stages in series which can be fired simultaneously, for high voltage, or sequentially for millisecond pulses into loads of time-increasing impedance (electric guns). The closing switch is actuated by projection of a metal ring into the tapered gap between coaxial electrodes. The switch is simple, self-contained, readily scaled to larger sizes, and fast enough for crowbarring electric guns. Large ring mass (>100 g) enables heavy-duty uses such as crowbarring homopolar generators.