Founders of the school of the Electrohydraulic Effect. Information prepared by Vladimir NikolayevichTsurkin, PhD in Physics and Mathematics
We are followers
We, our staff, are merely the followers who certainly have our advantages and achievements yet we are only the followers. After all, we have the assets of the Chefs d'école (school founders).
Now the sphere of our interests can be contoured by ample opportunities of electrical high-voltage discharges. These interests concern the research, developed and implemented products, i.e. novelties and innovations if to put in the today's terms.
But 50 years ago the founders of the Project and Development Bureau of Electrohydraulics (PDBE) had a purely pragmatic interest - to determine the technological possibilities of the electrical discharge in water in various implementations. They started from the point which is essentially not hard to plumb - to use the electrical discharge for the purpose of destruction or deformation.
There is no use denying that the first operations of the public laboratory and the PDBE which were fulfilled by our first director Alexander Petrovich Sorochinskiy and his colleagues revealed an effect by means of a trial and error method. At least, engineering calculations were carried out.
But the published ideas and results on the physics of explosion, shock, high-voltage technique etc. had occupied the shelves of libraries to wait for their followers etc. In scientific terminology of physics and engineering the variations of the English word "pulse" (impulse) had been used ever more actively. The Russian-speaking sources referred to the high-speed process. The quantity of the methods and tools for the study of such processes was increasing like an avalanche.
The possible use of the electrical discharge to realize the mechanical work was highlighted back in the 18th century. But the profitable use of the electrical discharges whose mechanical action largely increased in the denser, i.e. the condensed, medium started in 1950s. It was the time when the first experiments were realized by Lev Aleksandrovich Yutkin*. Just then he was granted the first copyright certificates of the USSR and the name of the effect at which the electrical energy was transferred to the mechanical work by means of an electrical discharge in a fluid was made legitimate - the electrohydraulic effect (EHE). New knowledge certainly involves new concepts to accurately transform to definitions. Later (also with Lev Aleksandrovich's participation) the hot disputes on the question of physical accuracy of this definition (έΓέ) were held. But for many decades this abbreviation has been inscribed on PDBE's and our Institute's trademark. We suppose you agree that it looks well.
Any new idea can be viewed in two aspects: from the viewpoint of its philosophy (with respect to understanding of a plurality of methodological principles constituting its foundation) and pragmatism. In my opinion, engineer Yutkin was the founding father from the viewpoint of pragmatism. These were his activities which initiated founding the public laboratory on the study of EHE in Nikolayev. But philosophical principles of this phenomenon took off to develop earlier.
The processes initiated during electrical discharges are inextricably connected with wave processes. The concept of a wave is one of the greatest common concepts of physics which was attractive to researchers long before the mid XXth century. Leonardo daVinci yet wrote: "A pulse is much faster than water because of many cases when a wave runs from its origination place while water is motionless like the waves originated on a field by the wind flow; these waves seem running across the field while the fields while the fields do not take off". **
By the time of when the first copyright certificate on EHE was obtained by L.A.Yutkin and the first studies were carried out in the public laboratory, the fundamental papers belonging to R.Kurant, K.Fridrichs, Ja.B.Zeldovich, Ja.P.Riser, I.I.Glass, J.Pierce, and many other venerable physicists and reflecting the analysis of wave processes from the fundamental positions were published. The theory and engineering computational methods of mechanical stresses in bodies during pulse loads (first of all, shock and explosive loads) started to actively occupy the minds of leading mechanical engineers, such as G.Hopkins, B.Hopkinson, D.S.Klark, G.I.Pogodin-Alekseyev, N.A.Kil'chevskiy, L.V.Altshuller, R.M.Davies, N.A.Zlatin, Ja.B.Fridman already from first half of the XXth century. In 1951 it was reported for the first time (probably) by Kaufmann and Roever on the use of a spark method of agitating the mechanical stress pulses in a solid body. ***
But the EHE is first of all related to electricity, and not simply with electricity, but with heavy current and voltage. By the mid XXth century the fundamental theories of electrodynamics and electrophysics had been actively implemented, and also the respective comprehensive reference data had been collected. Therefore, by the moment when the laboratory was opened in Nikolayev the physics of a discharge both in gaseous and in condensed mediums, and also the high-voltage technique had been sufficiently developed to put the problems of deep study of the factors, parameters, and the processes related to EHE in terms of logic. Moreover, the research publications to this topic by K.B.Abramova, V.V.Arsentyev, I.M.Astrakhan, G.A.Bopp, A.S.Zingerman, A.I.Ioffe, K.A.Naugolnykh, N.A.Roj, V.S.Komelkov, J.V.Skvortsov, V.P.Korobejnikov, I.P.Kuzhekina, I.Z.Okun', G.A.Ostroumov, D.V.Razevig, F.Fryungel' and many others had already appeared. Most of the science work of these researchers evolved the science notions based on the fundamental hypothesis considering the complexity (many factors and functions) of the energy balance during the EHE. The essence of the latter can be outlined with a certain accuracy as follows. The discharge channel consumes the energy of the electrical field organically connected with the outer adjustable parameters forming this field, and also the source of agitations generating various physical processes.
In this respect the methods offered by I.Z.Okun' based on the theory of dimensionality and simularity applied to the study of the pulse discharge in water enabled characterizing the discharge process and fluid motion during the expansion of the plasma channel by dimensionless combinations including the discharge circuit parameters and hydrodynamic parameters of a medium. Thus, the whole variety of electrical characteristics of a discharge as exterior factors forming the processes during the EHE can be reduced to the families of dimensionless curves. Ye.V. Krivitskiy's latest work jointly with the students in PDBE improved this approach and formalized the similarity criteria with an accuracy to the coefficients applied both to the electrical discharge and the electrical explosion of conductors. This revealed wide opportunities for modeling and formalizing for solving a huge class of problems, including those whose pragmatism was predominantly directed at making the efficient, safe, and stable technological modules for various technological applications in which the EHE was a tool of treatment.
I have certainly mentioned not all the persons, and maybe I have omitted some information. Let the scrupulous readers forgive me. But, anyway, the whole ideology of the researcher or designer's desktop in our institute directly or indirectly to some extent considers the fundamentals created by our Chefs d'?cole.
To conclude, I will quote the statement of the up-to-date historian Norman Davies: "Events become history after half a century passes". We have already created our history and for a reason. We would like to believe that after 50 years some persons will call themselves the followers. But this will be our followers.