The total ion current in the radially expanded plasma of a hot refractory anode vacuum arc (HRAVA) was found to be larger than that measured in the conventional cathodic vacuum arc. The total ion current fraction fi increased during the transition from the initial cathode spot stage to the HRAVA stage. While the fi is independent of arc current in the range of 150350A and other arcing conditions in conventional arcs, the fraction increased with arc current in this current range in the HRAVA. The ion current fraction was found to be 50% larger for a 350A HRAVA than the maximal value obtained previously in conventional cathodic arcs.

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