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Arc motion and gas flow in current limiting circuit breakers operating with a low contact switching velocity

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3 Author(s)
J. W. McBride ; Electro-Mech. Res. Group, Univ. of Southampton, UK ; K. Pechrach ; P. M. Weaver

Arc motion in low voltage (240 VAC) high current (103-104A.) current limiting-circuit breakers is dominated by arc root mobility. The mobility is influenced by the gas flow and gas composition in the contact region, but there is little experimental data on these effects. New pressure and spectral data measurement during arc movement are presented using a flexible test apparatus and an arc imaging system. These measurements are used to investigate gas flow characteristics in the arc chamber. The chemical and physical phenomena occurring during the arc motion are discussed. The combination of optical and spectral data provides new insight into the arc motion. The influences of arc chamber material, contact material, and contact opening speed, are investigated to improve arc control for a low contact opening velocity.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Components and Packaging Technologies  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 3 )