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Pulsed power is the science and technology of accumulating energy over a relatively long period of time and releasing it very quickly, thus increasing the instantaneous power.
Energy is typically stored within electrostatic fields (capacitors), magnetic fields (inductors), as mechanical energy (using large flywheels connected to special-purpose high-current alternators), or as chemical energy (high-current lead-acid batteries, or explosives). By releasing the stored energy over a very short interval (a process that is called energy compression), a huge amount of peak power can be delivered to a load. For example, if one joule of energy is stored within a capacitor and then evenly released to a load over one second, the average power delivered to the load would only be 1 watt. However, if all of the stored energy were released within one microsecond, the average power over one second would still be one watt, but the instantaneous peak power would be one megawatt, a million times greater. Pulsed power technology is used in radar, particle accelerators, ultrastrong magnetic fields, fusion research, electromagnetic pulses, and high-power pulsed lasers.
Pulsed Power was first developed during World War II for use in radar. Radar requires short high-power pulses. After the war, development continued in other applications, leading to the super pulsed power machines at Sandia National Laboratories.
- Compensated pulsed alternator, "compulsator"
- Dipole magnet "kicker"
- Electromagnetic forming
- Electromagnetic pulse (EMP)
- Explosively pumped flux compression generator
- Linear transformer driver
- Magnetic pulse welding
- Marx generator
- Particle accelerator
- Pinch (plasma physics)
- Power (physics)
- Pulse-forming network
- Triggered spark gap
- Z Pulsed Power Facility, "Z machine"
- ABB Pulsed Power Manufacturer of semiconductor-based replacements for thyratrons