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Optimization of the spark gap parameters for high powered ultrasound applications

Wilson, M.P. and Balmer, L. and Given, M.J. and MacGregor, S.J. and Timoshkin, I. (2007) Optimization of the spark gap parameters for high powered ultrasound applications. In: Proceedings of the 27th international power modulator symposium and 2006 high voltage workshops. IEEE, New York, pp. 306-309. ISBN 9781424400188

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There is considerable interest in the industrial and commercial applications of high power ultrasound (HPU) generated using pulsed power techniques. These applications include metal peening, the treatment of ores and minerals before extraction, drilling technologies and the comminution and recovery of waste materials. In all of these applications, it is important to optimise the parameters of the discharge causing the shock wave in the working medium to maximise the efficiency of the treatment. In a research project at the University of Strathclyde, some applications of HPU to the treatment of waste to assist in recycling have been investigated. Two systems have been considered, slag from the manufacture of stainless steel and bottle glass. With the slag material, it is intended to separate stainless steel from the silicate matrix to permit its recovery. With the bottle glass, the intention is comminution of the material to allow it to be recycled in a more valuable form. Measurements of the efficiency of these processes have been made in terms of the mass of material processed versus the energy input as the parameters of the discharge gap have been varied. In parallel with this work, measurements have been made using pinducer sensors to determine the energy in HPU pulses generated by discharges under identical conditions. Correlations are made between the efficiency of material treatment and the intensity of the HPU pulse measured in the far field. It is hoped that this approach will allow the optimal gap parameters to be determined using pinducer measurements rather than time consuming trials based around materials processing.