Memristive Fingerprints of Electric Arcs

Memristive Fingerprints of Electric Arcs

Wieslaw Marszalek
DeVry University, 630 US Highway 1
North Brunswick, NJ 08902, USA

We discuss the memristive fingerprints of the hybrid Cassie-Mayr model of electric arcs. In particular, it is shown that (i) the voltage-current characteristic of the model has the pinched hysteresis nature, (ii) the voltage and current zero crossings occur at the same instants, and (iii) when the frequency of the power supply increases, the voltage-current pinched hysteresis characteristic tends closer to a single-valued one, meaning that the voltage-current graph becomes that of a resistor (with an increased linearity for ). The conductance of the Cassie-Mayr model decreases when the frequency increases. The hybrid Cassie-Mayr model describes therefore an interesting case of a memristive phenomenon.

1 Introduction

Consider the Cassie-Mayr hybrid model of electric arcs [1]-[12]


driven by a power circuit with the voltage source , resistor and inductor , described by


where and are the arc voltage and current, respectively, is the conductance of the arc with and , , , , , , , , are real positive constants, , with , and being constants such that . When the current is small, one can consider , while for large current [3]. Another frequent simplification (however not assumed in this paper) is to have , which means that no energy dissipation occurs due to plasma radiation.

Also, the positive constant plays the role of a minimum value of , as many authors assume that when the current is small. The is a very small conductance between two electrodes when the arc is absent. In general, the value of depends on the distance between the electrodes, their geometry, type of gas used and temperature. Detailed physical assumptions about the above model can be found, for example, in [3]-[7].

The literature on electric arcs in welding, foundry, gas discharge lamps, lighting as well as voltaic, iron, cobalt, nickel, titunium and mercury arcs is particularly immense over the last 150 years. For example, many papers on electric arcs were published in the Journal of the Franklin Institute over a period of more than hundred years - since 1850s to 1950s - see [8]-[12] for a few examples of such papers. A list of papers on the topic of electric arcs available in the literature can really be made impressive and long.

Impressive are also the very recent discoveries in the area of nanotechnology related to memristors and memristive circuits and their properties. The announcement by a group of Hewlett Packard researchers [13] about a succesful construction of ’the missing memristor’ renewed interest in the earlier theoretical work of L. O. Chua and others on memristors [14],[15]. That research has been significantly expanded in the last few years, see [16]-[23] and references therein.

The two seemingly distant areas of electric arcs and memristors are, in fact, close to each other and this paper addresses that issue through the analysis of the properties of the models of electric arcs and the models of memristors.

In particular, it is shown in this paper that the model (1),(2) has the three fingerprints of memristors (see [16],[18],[19]), as follows:

  • The and characteristic is of the pinched hysteresis type.

  • The and zero crossings occur at the same instants.

  • As , then the - pinched hysteresis characteristic becomes that of a resistor, meaning that the - graph is a single-valued one with no memory effect.

The above fingerprints are illustrated in Fig.1(a)-1(c) for a selected set of constant parameters in (1) and (2).

(a) Pinched hysteresis for Hz.
(b) Normalized and for Hz.
(c) Pinched hystereses for kHz.
(d) Conductance versus voltage for Hz.
Figure 1: Solution of (1),(2) with . (a)-(c): the three fingerprints of the Cassie-Mayr model; (d) conductance versus voltage . Parameters , , , , , , , , . The ode45 solver from Matlab with abserr=relerr= was used.

2 Memristors

Memristors, as passive elements, complement the widely used other passive elements: resistors, capacitors and inductors. Each of the four passive two-port elements uses a pair of the current, voltage, charge or flux variables as their inputs and outputs. Memristors are nonlinear elements whose present state at any instant depends on the past (i.e. memory). For example, the current-controlled voltage memristor is described by a relationship between the flux and charge , as follows: with some function . This gives the Ohm’s law for such a memristor in the form: , with , the memristance, while and denote the voltage and current, respectively. The memory effect is due to the dependence of memristance on . Other types of mem-elements are also possible (see [17] and references therein). The recent papers [16],[18]-[20] show interesting electrical, mechanical and biological devices and phenomena, all having the features (the so-called fingerprints) of memristors. This paper goes in the same direction and proves mathematically that the hybrid Cassie-Mayr model of an electric arc [3] has the three fingerprints of memristors (in the time- and frequency domains).

First, it is worth pointing out that the fundamental idea behind the model (1),(2) is to have the conductance as a combination of the conductances and , as follows [4],[24]


where and are the conductances obtained from the Cassie and Mayr models, respectively, and the weighting function is monotonically increasing when increases. Also, typically . The most common choice is to have in (1), with being the transition current. When is much smaller than , the Mayr model is dominant in (1), while for large, the Cassie model dominates in (1). This feature of the hybrid Cassie-Mayr model is similar to that of the Hewlett Packard (HP) memristor’s model in which the total memristance is obtained as a weighted sum of and resistances [13]


where and denote the resistances of the region with a high concentration of dopants (having low resistance ), and the region with a low dopant concentration (having much higher resistance ), respectively. Thus, and . As a consequence, we have a one-to-one correspondence between (3) and (4). Namely, gives resulting in a small memristor’s current. A small , that is in an electric arc, gives . On the other hand, close to yields and a large memristor’s current. A large , that is in an arc, results in .

The used in (3) is not the only possible function used in hybrid arc models. Other monotonical functions used in modeling of electric arcs are , or for constants , and [24].

The above one-to-one correspondence between an electric arc and a memristor is further obvious by analyzing the three fingerprints of memristive phenomena, mentioned above and analyzed in detail in the next section.

3 The three memristive fingerprints of electric arcs

Fingerprint 1: The - characteristic of (1),(2) is of the pinched hysteresis type.

Remark 1: The pinched property occurs at the origin, so and . By using and the fact that the pinched property occurs at , it is possible to show that in (1),(2) has one positive value as and , but has two different values (positive and negative) at the origin. The two opposite values of occur half a period apart (see Fig.2(a)). This indicates that there are two different trajectories of the - characteristic at the origin, one that is concave up (with ) and another that is concave down (with ). See Fig.2(b) showing clearly two tangential trajectories with different concavity around the origin.

Proof of fingerprint 1: Notice that the pinched hysteresis occurs as . Thus, the Mayr model is in effect. Let and (see the second fingerprint below). We have . Also, since , therefore we have when . This yields . At we have , and since , therefore . Thus, the pinched hysteresis has slope at .

Now, we shall show that is a two-valued quantity at , that is and are of opposite signs. Using the fact that yields , we obtain . Note that the derivative is positive at and also from (2) we have , since and . Thus, the Mayr model predicts that when the periodic, zero-average current crosses the zero value at , it is of a cosine type, with opposite signs of slope at and . If , then, half a period later we have . This yields and . On the other hand, if , then, half a period later we have . This yields and . This proves that the concavity of the trajectory (pinched hysteresis) is opposite at than at . The trajectory moving in time along the - characteristic is of different type of concavity when passing through , every half of the period , as illustrated in Figs.2(a) and 2(b). This completes the proof of the first memristive fingerprint of the hybrid Cassie-Mayr model.

The facts that the slope has the same positive value at and at and opposite values of at and yield the pinched hysteresis of type II, as discussed in [25]-[27].

(a) Pinched hystereses for different values.
(b) Motion around for .
Figure 2: Various pinched hystereses.

Fingerprint 2: The and zero crossings occur at the same instants.

Remark 2: Since , then, if for some , then when . Therefore, to avoid the symbol , it suffices to show that the model (1),(2) yields the conductance . See Fig.1(d) for an illustration.

Proof of fingerprint 2: If for some , then, obviously, and the hybrid arc model follows that of Mayr. Thus, from (3) we have and the results from the Mayr model . When , then we have . Since the must be greater or equal for small (see a remark in section 1), therefore we must have that . This yields .

Fingerprint 3: As , then the - pinched hysteresis characteristic becomes that of a memoryless resistor, meaning that the - graph is a single-valued one.

Remark 3: The third fingerprint can be proved, by analyzing the area enclosed by the hysteresis - as . Notice that is the frequency of in (2). We shall show that the enclosed area shrinks to zero as . This gives a single-valued relationship between and .

Proof of fingerprint 3: Since in (2) and the fact that and are periodic, we can assume that


for some real numbers , , and , .

The area, say , enclosed by the pinched hysteresis loop - over half period , , equals


Using (5) and from (2) we obtain


Notice that the right-hand side of (7) contains integrals of various products of the cosine and sine terms. The integrals are computed over half of the period , that is for . Such integrals can be computed according to the well-known formulas


In addition, the same right-hand side holds true if we replace both sine terms by cosine terms in (8).

Notice that by using the above integrals and the fact that is present in the non-zero right-hand sides in (8) and (9), we obtain the right-hand side of (7) in the form of an infinite series with each term proportional to , reciprocal of frequency. Thus, if , then the area of the pinched hysteresis decays to zero. This means that the - characteristic becomes a single-valued one and the proof of the third fingerprint is complete.

(a) The - loops for kHz.
(b) Enlargements of the - loops for kHz in Fig.3(a).
Figure 3: The - loops for various values of in and , . Other parameters as given in Fig.1.

Fig.1(c) indicates that when the frequency increases, then the - characteristic not only becomes closer to a single-valued one, but it becomes a linear with decreasing values of and (assuming fixed value of ). The is practically constant in Fig.1(c) for a particular large value of . Note that since for large values, therefore the Mayr model dominates in (1). One can estimate the constant value of for large , by using the well-known frequency formula for the Mayr model [30]. Namely, the sinusoidal current in the Mayr model yields with . Thus . Fig.3 and and the associated Table 1 illustrate the use of the above limit in a simple numerical example.

[kHz] [A] [S]
3 3.821             0.3650
5 2.264             0.1281
7 1.568             0.0615
9 1.152             0.0332
11 0.790             0.0156
Table 1: The values for various frequencies.

Comparing Fig.3(b) and Table 1 it is easy to notice that, with the increased frequency , the are indeed very good estimates of the almost constant values. The last four values in the third column in Table 1 are marked on the vertical axis in Fig.3(b).

4 Variation of hystereses with parameters

Figs. 1(b) and 2(a) show various shapes of the hysteresis loops of (1),(2) when the frequency and current change, respectively. Other parameters in the Cassie-Mayr model impact the hystereses, too. Fig. 4(a), 4(b) and 4(c) illustrate such an impact when the parameters , and vary, respectively. The constant parameters in all three figures were: , , , , , and . In addition, , and in Fig.4(a). Also, , and in Fig.4(b). Finally, , and in Fig.4(c). The hysteresis loops are shown in the first quadrant only (positive voltage and current values). Symmetric graphs exist in the third quadrant with negative voltage and current values.

(a) Hysteresis loops for various values of .
(b) Hysteresis loops for various values of .
(c) Hysteresis loops for various values of .
Figure 4: Impact of parameters , and on the pinched hysteresis loops of the Cassie-Mayr model (1),(2). The ode45 solver from Matlab with abserr=relerr= was used.

5 Conclussion

The seemingly distant and disjoint areas of electric arcs from welding, electric furnaces and circuit breakers on one side and memristors from nanometer electronics on the other side have been linked together through their identical mathematical properties (fingerprints). It was shown through mathematical analysis that the hybrid Cassie-Mayr model of electric arcs has all the fingerprints of memristors, passive nonlinear nanoelements with memory. By linking the electric arcs with memristors one can now apply various techniques and methods from the nanoscale electronics (i.e. to analyze energy and power [17],[28],[29]) to the nonlinear plasma phenomena in electric arc furnaces, circuit breakers and welding processes [4]-[7].

6 Acknowledgement

The author would like to thank Prof. Z. Trzaska from Warsaw (Poland) for his discussion on the topic of electric arcs.


  • [1] A. M. Cassie, Arc rupture and circuit serverity: a new theory, Paris, CIGRE Rep. 102 (1939)
  • [2] O. Mayr, Beitrage zur theorie des statischen und des dynamischen lichbogens, Archiv für Elektrotechnik 37 (12) (1943) 588–608.
  • [3] K.-J. Tseng, Y. Wang, D. M. Vilathgamuwa , An experimentally verified hybrid Cassie-Mayr electric arc model for power electronics simulations, IEEE Trans. Power Electronics 12 (3) (1997) 429–436.
  • [4] M. Moghadasian, E. Al-Nasser, Modelling and control of electrode system for an electric arc furnace, 2nd Int. Conf. Research in Science, Engineering and Technology (ICRSET), pp. 129–133, March 21-22, 2014 Dubai (UAE) doi: 10.15242/IIE.E0314558.
  • [5] S. Nitu, C. Nitu, C. Mihalache, P. Anghelita, D. Pavelescu, Comparison between model and experiment in studying the electric arc, J. Optoelectronics and Advanced Materials 10 (5) (2008) 1192–1196.
  • [6] D. C. Bhonsle, R. B. Kelkar, New time domain electric arc furnace model for power quality study, J. Electr. Eng. 14 (3) (2014) 240-246.
  • [7] A. Sawicki, L. Switon, R. Sosinski, Process simulation in the AC welding arc circuit using a Cassie-Mayr hybrid model, Supplement to the Welding Journal 90 (2011) 41s–44s.
  • [8] M.L. Foucault, Experiments with the light of the voltaic arc, Journal of the Franklin Institute, 48 (1) 1849, 50-52.
  • [9] E. Thomson, E, J. Houston, The electric arc – its resistance and illuminating power, Journal of the Franklin Institute, 108 (1) (1879) 48–51.
  • [10] E. Karrer, The luminous efficiency of the radiation from the electric arc, Journal of the Franklin Institute, 183 (1) (1917) 61–72.
  • [11] J. Slepian, The electric arc in circuit interrupters, Journal of the Franklin Institute, 214 (4) (1932) 413–442.
  • [12] K.B. McEachron, Lightning protection since Franklin’s day, Journal of the Franklin Institute, 253 (5) (1952) 441-470.
  • [13] D. S. Strukov, G. S. Snider, D. R. Stewart, R. S. Williams, The missing memristor found, Nature 453 (2008) 80–83.
  • [14] L. O. Chua, Memristor - the missing circuit element, IEEE Trans. Circuit Theory 18 (1971) 507–519.
  • [15] L. O. Chua, K. Sung Mo, memristive devices and systems, Proc. IEEE 64 (1976) 209–223.
  • [16] S. P. Adhikari, M. P. Sah, H. Kim, L. O. Chua, Three fingerprints of memristor, IEEE Trans. Ciruits and Systems-IL Regular Papers 80 (11) (2013) 3008–021.
  • [17] W. Marszalek, T. Amdeberhan, Least action principle for mem-elements, J. Circ., Syst. Comp. 24 (10) (2015) 1550148.
  • [18] M. P. Sah, H. Kim, L. O. Chua, Brains are made of memristors, IEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine 14 (1) (2014) 12–36.
  • [19] D. Lin, S. Y. Ron Hui, L. O. Chua, Gas discharge lamps are volatile memristors, IEEE Trans. Circuits and Systems-I: Regular Papers 61 (7) (2014) 2066–2073.
  • [20] S. Asapu, Y. V. Pershin, Electromechanical emulator of memristive systems and devices, IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 62 (11) (2015) 3678–3684.
  • [21] W. Marszalek and Z. W. Trzaska, Memristive circuits with steady-state mixed-mode oscillations, Electr. Lett. 50 (2014) 1275–1277.
  • [22] W. Marszalek and Z. W. Trzaska, Properties of memristive circuits with mixed-mode oscillations, Electr. Lett. 51 (2015) 140–141.
  • [23] W. Marszalek, Bifurcations and Newtonian properties of Chua’s circuits with memristors, DeVry Univ. J. of Scholarly Research 2 (2) (2015) 13–21.
  • [24] A. Sawicki, Assessement of power parameters of asymmetric arcs by means of the Cassie and Mayr models, Electrical Review 87 (2) (2011) 131–134.
  • [25] D. Biolek, Z. Biolek, V. Biolkova, Pinched hysteretic loops of ideal memristors, memcapacitors and meminductors must be ‘self-crossing,’ Electr. Lett. 47 (25) (2011) 1385–1387.
  • [26] Z. Biolek, D. Biolek, V. Biolkova, Analytical computation of the area of pinched hysteresis loops of ideal mem-elements, Radioengineering 22 (1) (2013) 32–35.
  • [27] W. Marszalek, T. Amdeberhan, Memristive jounce (Newtonian) circuits, Appl. Math. Modelling (2015), doi: 10.1016/j.apm.2015.10.012.
  • [28] W. Marszalek, On the action parameter and one-period loops of oscillatory memristive circuits, Nonlinear Dynamics 82 (1) (2015) 619–628.
  • [29] H. Podhaisky and W. Marszalek, Bifurcations and synchronization of singularly perturbed oscillators: an application case study, Nonlinear Dynamics 69 (3) (2012) 949–959.
  • [30] V. M. Myakishev, M. S. Zhevaev, E. M. Shishkov, A method for determining the time constant of a welding arc, Russian Electrical Engineering, 80 (2) (2009) 78–80.
Comments 0
Request Comment
You are adding the first comment!
How to quickly get a good reply:
  • Give credit where it’s due by listing out the positive aspects of a paper before getting into which changes should be made.
  • Be specific in your critique, and provide supporting evidence with appropriate references to substantiate general statements.
  • Your comment should inspire ideas to flow and help the author improves the paper.

The better we are at sharing our knowledge with each other, the faster we move forward.
The feedback must be of minimum 40 characters and the title a minimum of 5 characters
Add comment
Loading ...
This is a comment super asjknd jkasnjk adsnkj
The feedback must be of minumum 40 characters
The feedback must be of minumum 40 characters

You are asking your first question!
How to quickly get a good answer:
  • Keep your question short and to the point
  • Check for grammar or spelling errors.
  • Phrase it like a question
Test description