Gliding Arc (GlidArc-I)
GlidArc is a cold electric discharge. It can operate at 0.05 - 12 atm pressure range with a high electron temperature but a relatively low gas temperature. Such non-equilibrium plasma enhances chemical processes through highly active catalytic species: radicals, excited atoms, ions and molecules as well as electrons.
The GlidArc-I has at least two diverging electrodes immersed in a fast gas flow. A high voltage and relatively low current discharge is generated across the flow between the electrodes. The discharge forms at the closest point, spreads as it glides along the electrodes, and disappears. Another discharge immediately reforms at the initial spot. The path of the discharge is determined by geometry of the electrodes, flow conditions, and characteristics of the power supply. The discharge performs its own maintenance on the electrodes, preventing chemical corrosion and erosion. The electrodes are not cooled so the energy is directly and totally transferred to the processed gas. The voltage can be as high as 30 kV for currents from 0.1 to 5 A per discharge. Multi-discharge systems can be installed easily in large gas lines.
Any gas or vapor can be directly processed. Droplets, mists, and powders can be present. Feeds of any initial temperature are accepted. The pressure drop in the reactor is negligible. In terms of capital and operating costs, the GlidArc-based processes are inexpensive.
Several application tests were performed in laboratory or pilot scale GlidArc-I reactors for gases, vapors, flames, and/or condensed matter processing. Some of explored applications are:
More than twenty French and foreign patents protect some of GlidArc-I applications to chemistry, pollution control, fuel conversion, and material processing.