The basic thermal properties that govern the generation of "high energy density plasma beams" are investigated. The arc state, which is important in the utilization of plasma beams as a high energy density heat source, is studied by separately considering the two regions of the arc: the arc column and an electrode (anode or cathode) region. The mechanism of the "thermal pinch" phenomenon is clarified in the arc column and the role of various parameters which enhance the functioning of the "thermal pinch" phenomenon is examined ; including the effect of the column configuration and the roles played by both thermal conductivity and the temperature gradient. The conditions necessary to obtain a plasma column with a high temperature and high energy density are described and actual examples are given. It is also shown that a "point arc" of high energy density can be generated in the region near the electrodes by the supply of a special vortex gas flow. The "arc ball" that appears in the anode region of the "point arc" is found to have an energy density as high as 10^6W/cm^2, and can be stably sustained in a fixed position.
Transactions of JWRI 14 (2), 223-228, 1985-12