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ijsret.org ISSN 2278 - 0882
HOW TO MAINTAIN SF6 CIRCUIT BREAKER
Snigdha Sharma, 2Hemant bharadwaj, 1 Faculty of EE Department, SIT, Meerut, India 2 Faculty of EE Department, SIT, Meerut, India
India’s growing economy needs an efficient power transmission system to meet the increasing demand for reliable and affordable power. Circuit breakers play an important role in protection system of electrical power transmission networks. A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch which detects a fault condition and interrupt immediately to discontinue electrical flow. So its maintenance deserves special considerations in order to prevent the equipments and transmission system from damage. This paper deals with high voltage SF6 circuit breaker. This paper shows construction and operation of SF6 circuit breaker, properties of SF6 circuit breaker, importance of its maintenance, rating and testing and gas handling. The aim of this paper is to make a review of maintenance of SF6 circuit breaker. Keywords: Arc extinguishes, compressed SF6 gas, Electric arc. circuit breaker,
SF6 is a gaseous dielectric used in high voltage electrical equipment as an insulator or arc quenching medium. The separation of the CB contacts which are carrying current give rise to an arc. During arcing the circuit breaker maintains a relatively low pressure inside the chamber and there will be no danger of explosion and spilling of gas around. Any leakage from the chamber will not create a problem since SF6 can undergo considerable decomposition in which toxic products may stay inside the chamber in the form of white dust. Normally at least once a year or after every 500 operations, the circuit breaker must be maintained. Maintenance of circuit breakers at appropriate time is important as these are used to protect power network from short circuits and other problems environmental problems. However, it has its limitations while maintaining. This paper will contribute in studying that why is it necessary to maintain circuit breaker.
II. Construction and Operation of SF6 circuit breaker
It consists of two parts mainly:
A circuit breaker is a switching device which can open or close a circuit allowing interrupting the circulation of current. Previously oil and air circuit breakers were used commonly but SF6 circuit breaker is most widely used CB now a days for high voltage applications worldwide. Some of the outstanding properties of SF6 making it desirable to use in power applications such as high dielectric strength, unique arc-quenching ability, excellent thermal stability and good thermal conductivity. The only industrial process currently in use is the synthesis of sulfur hexafluoride by allowing fluorine obtained by electrolysis to react with sulfur according to the exothermic reaction: S + 3F2 →SF6 + 262 kcal
II.1 The interrupter unit: It consists of fixed contacts which comprise a set of current carrying fingers and an arcing probe. When the breaker is in close position, the fingers make contact round the circumference of the moving contact which has the arcing probe enclosed within its hollow end. The contacts are surrounded by interrupting nozzles and a blast shield which controls are displacement and the movement of hot gases. The moving contact is in the form of hollow nozzle sliding in the second set of spring loaded fingers. Side vents in the moving contact allow the high pressure gas into the main tank. As soon as the moving contact is withdrawn from the fixed finger contact an arc is drawn between the moving nozzle and the arcing probe. As the contacts move further apart, the
IJSRET @ 2012
system breaks up and equipment destruction can occur if a circuit breaker fails to operate due to lack of preventive IV. lot of care is to be taken to prevent gas leakage at joints by providing perfect scaling. The heat transfer coefficient of SF6 is greater than air and its cooling characteristics by convection are about 1.0882 arc is extended and attenuated.International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering &Technology (IJSRET) Volume 1 Issue1 pp 030-035 March 2012 www. Importance of adequate maintenance strength is roughly equivalent to transformer oil. IV. The gas is stored in the high pressure chamber at 16 atmospheres whereas the gas pressure on low pressure side is 3 atmospheres. II. lowering the dielectric strength. The low and high pressure systems are fitted with low pressure alarms and set of lock out switches which give a warning the moment the gas pressure drops below a certain value.139 kg/m3. Electric transmission pressure drops.The dissociation process absorbs a considerable duced from 21 percent to less than 13 percent.4 Thermal conductivity: maintenance. tasteless. because otherwise there will be reduction in the dielectric strength and arc quenching ability of the breaker is endangered. It can. facilitating a rapid exchange of heat between the hot and cooler regions. The peak of the thermal IV. the protection of other equipments. can occur without warning. Properties of SF6 gas which allows it to be used for extinguishing arcs by thermal transport. a heater is fitted in the high pressure chamber.2 The gas system: Since the gas pressure is very high. in order to prevent liquefaction of a gas in the high pressure chamber at low temperature.6 times air. the thermal conductivity curve of SF6 reveals one of the exceptional qualities of the gas. It is finally extinguished by the gas flow from the high pressure to the low pressure systems. Its density at 20 degree centigrade is 6. exclude oxygen and cause temperature of the SF6 molecule at 2100 to 2500 K. suffocation. The dielectric strength increases with increasing pressure.org ISSN 2278 . If the danger limit is reached the safety devices immobilize the breaker. SF6 shows little change in vapor pressure over a wide temperature range and is a soft gas in that it is more compressible dynamically than air. and at three atmospheres. The The maintenance of circuit breaker is necessary because heaters for SF6 in circuit breakers are required to keep of their importance for routine switching and for the gas from liquefying because. The over riding safety devices see to it that a fault in the control circuit does not permit the compressor to build up excessive pressure in the high pressure reservoir or continue to pump gas into the atmosphere in the event of major leak. temperatures. IV. colorless. suffocation amount of heat which is released when the molecules reform at the periphery of the arc. If the normal oxygen content of air is re. in particular succession to verify proper operation and remove any when convection is taken into account is excellent accumulation of dust or foreign material on moving parts being similar to that of gases such as hydrogen and helium and higher than that of air. as the gas liquefies. IJSRET @ 2012 .1 Toxicity: SF6 is odorless. The temperature is 20◦C. A thermostat is set to the switch on when the ambient temperature falls below 16◦C. IV.3 Dielectric strength: SF6 has a dielectric strength about three times that of air at one atmosphere pressure for a given electrode spacing. however. At high and contacts. ijsret. Breakers that remain idle for 6 months or The thermal conductivity of SF6 is below that of air more should be made to open and close several times in but its overall heat transfer capability.2 Physical properties: SF6 is one of the heaviest known gases with a density about five times the density of air under similar conditions. the dielectric III. and nontoxic in its conductivity corresponds to the dissociation pure state.
V. in any phase during the first cycle of current when the circuit breaker is closed. .6 Rated braking current: The braking current depends upon the instant on the current wave when the contacts begin to open. SF6 can be heated without decomposition to 500°C in the absence of catalytic metals. V.2 rated voltage: The voltage levels at various points in a system vary depending upon the system conditions and as a result the breaker has to operate under such variable voltage conditions. It has a pronounced tendency to capture free electrons forming heavy ions with low mobility making the development of electron avalanches very difficult. corona and arcing in SF6 does not occur until way past the voltage level of onset of corona and arcing in air. Dt is dead time in terms of cycle. V.3 rated current: It is the maximum value of current in RMS amperes which it shall carry continuously without exceeding the temperature limits of various parts of breaker. SF6 also has a high thermal heat capacity that can absorb the energy of the arc without much of a temperature rise. Because of the arcquenching ability of SF6. Rating of circuit breakers A circuit breaker has to work circumstances. SF6 will slowly decompose when exposed to continuous corona. ijsret.77 Å. The decomposition products are metal fluorides and form a white or tan powder.8 Toxicity of arc products: Toxic decomposition products are formed when SF6 gas is subjected to an electric arc. IV. V. SF6 is insoluble in water and is not attacked by acids. SF6 is non-flammable and hydrogen. B-Dt-MB M is making operation. The six bonds are covalent which accounts for the exceptional stability of this compound. The making capacity is specified by the product of making current it can make and carry instantaneously at the rated service voltage. V. IV.4 rated frequency: It is the frequency for which it is designed to operate. V. Toxic gases are also formed which have the characteristic odor of rotten eggs. The effective collision diameter of the SF6 molecule is 4.0882 faulted SF6 gas from the circuit breaker and flush with fresh air before working on the circuit breaker. it must be capable of following short circuit operating duty. IV. The capacity of breaker to make currents depends upon its ability to withstand and to close successfully against the effect of electromagnetic forces. Do not breathe the vapors remaining in a circuit breaker where arcing or corona discharges have occurred in the gas. IV. Its molecular structure is octahedral with a fluorine molecule at each apex. B-3-MB-3MB where B is braking operation.org ISSN 2278 . The braking capacity of a breaker is the product of breaking current and recovery voltage. chlorine and oxygen have no action on it. It is rated in terms of under different V. Evacuate the IJSRET @ 2012 . V.7 operating duty: In case the circuit breaker is not used for auto reclosing.5 Arc quenching: SF6 is approximately 100 times more effective than air in quenching spurious arcing. 3 is the duration in minutes. including dc component. The breaker is expected to operate at a maximum voltage which normally is higher than rated nominal voltage.6 Electrical properties: The excellent dielectric properties of SF6 are due to electronegative character of its molecules.7 Chemical properties: SF6 fully satisfied the valence requirements of the sulfur molecule.International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering &Technology (IJSRET) Volume 1 Issue1 pp 030-035 March 2012 www.1 Number of poles: the number of poles per phase of a breaker is a function of operating voltage.5 Rated making capacities: The making current is the peak value of maximum current loop.
S.1 Short circuit tests: These tests are carried out in short circuiting testing stations to prove the ratings of circuit breakers. The normal rating is 30 MVA but their short circuit capacity is 475 MVA. VII.116:1952 requires 500 such operations without failure and with no adjustment of the mechanism. Test can be repeated.3 Thermal test: These tests are made to check the thermal behavior of breakers. (2) Laboratory type In this case the power required for testing is provided by specially designed generators.4 Transformer: The leakage reactance of the transformer is low so as to withstand repeated short circuits.0882 VI.2 Resistors and reactors: These are used to control the power factor of current and the rate of decay of dc component of current. the test overvoltage is then maintained for 30 seconds during which no flashover should occur. The temperature rise above ambient must not exceed 40◦C when the rated normal current is less than 800 A and 50◦C if it is above 800 A. The breaker to be tested is connected to the system. they will be subjected to over voltages caused by lightening. These tests are normally made on indoor switchgear. Whereas this method of testing is economical for high voltage CBs. An additional requirement is the measurement of the contact resistances between isolating contacts between moving and fixed contacts. Testing of circuit breakers VI. ijsret. There are number of coils per phase and by combination of series and parallel connection. usually banks of single phase transformers are employed. VII.3 Capacitors: These are used for braking line charging currents and for controlling the rate of re striking voltage. This method has following advantage: Several indirect methods can be used. IJSRET @ 2012 . Since the outdoor switchgear is electrically exposed. B.1 Generator: The power is supplied by short circuit generator driven by induction motors.4 Mechanical tests: A circuit breaker must open or close at the correct speed and perform such operations without mechanical failure. Test conditions like the desired recovery voltage cannot be achieved conveniently. In this the external insulation is sprayed for two minutes while the rated service voltage is applied. VI. The capacity of these generators may be of the order of 2000MVAand very rigid bracing of conductors and coil ends is necessary in the view of high electromagnetic forces possible. With this the breaker must not flashover or punctures. VII. it suffers from the following drawbacks: The test cannot be repeatedly carried out for research and development as it disturbs the whole network. (2) Phases and earth with circuit breaker open. VI. the test voltage is applied for a period of one minute between (1) Phases with a breaker closed. For voltage higher than generated voltages. they do not pose any cooling problem. (3) Across the terminal with breaker open. In this test the rated current through all three phases of switchgear is passed VII. In short circuit station at Bhopal there is three single phase units each of 11KV/76KV. desired value of resistance and reactance can be obtained. The magnitude of the voltage is varied by adjusting excitation of generator or the transformer ratio. VI.org ISSN 2278 . Test plant The essential components of a test plant are: VII. Temperature readings are obtained by means of thermocouples whose hot junctions are placed in appropriate positions. Since they are in use intermittently. There are two types of testing stations continuously for a period long enough to achieve steady state conditions. Test conditions can be controlled accurately. The power available depends upon the location of testing stations. (1) Field type In case of field type stations the power required for testing is directly taken from a large power system.2 Dielectric tests: In this. These points are generally main points of excessive heat generation. Therefore this class of switchgear is subjected to wet dielectric test.International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering &Technology (IJSRET) Volume 1 Issue1 pp 030-035 March 2012 www.
The removed gas is to be reconditioned and reused whenever possible.4 Power equipment salvaging.org ISSN 2278 . This vents SF6 gas to the atmosphere. and eventually impedes further removal of the SF6 gas from the equipment. The procedure is to slowly open a sampling valve on top of the tank for 1 to 3 minutes venting the gas mixture to atmosphere. IX. The measuring circuits are connected and oscillograph loops are calibrated. current. IX. the SF6 gas is liquefied in the gas cart’s storage tank.5 Master circuit breaker: These breakers are provided as back up to interrupt the short circuit current if the test breaker should fail. • Never purge SF6 gas through interconnecting hoses as a way of cleaning the hoses. ijsret. power factor etc. and has a small vacuum pump which is permanently mounted to it. Any air left in the equipment will contaminate the SF6 gas on filling. This cart pulls a vacuum on all hoses prior to filling the power equipment directly from the SF6 gas cylinders. VII. During the test several operations are performed in a sequence in a short time of 0. and control valves. • Faulted SF6 gas in power equipment must not be dumped to the atmosphere. These carts are equipped with external scrubber filter units to reclaim the SF6 gas before it enters the storage tank on the cart. • Power equipment such as SF6 filled instrument transformers which are removed from service but are scheduled either for return to the warehouse or to be re energized may not require all the SF6 gas to be removed prior to movement or transportation. Whether the SF6 gas is removed or gas pressure reduced. removal & reclamation of SF6 gas: There are presently two of these carts in the system. This eliminates contamination of the SF6 gas with air. IJSRET @ 2012 . SF6 gas handling to minimize losses It is used to prevent faulted gas release into the atmosphere IX. Test procedure Before the test is performed all the components are adjusted to suitable values so as to obtain desired values of voltage. depends upon the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations. • When filling equipment with SF6 gas.5 Air removal from SF6 gas: When the contaminated SF6 gas is removed from equipment. The filling cart also has a SF6 gas pressure vacuum/gauge. will end up in the atmosphere. This drum when rotated closes and opens several control circuits according to certain sequence. The filling cart is built on a hand truck which can carry one to two SF6 gas cylinders.6 Make switch: The make switch is closed after other switches are closed. Faulted SF6 gas may be toxic and must be passed through an external scrubber filter unit to remove impurities before pumping the gas into the cart for storage. IX. IX. pull a long hard vacuum to remove the maximum amount of SF6 gas.1 Atmospheric safeguards: • Do not release the gas into atmosphere except the minor amount while measuring the gas for moisture content. • SF6 gas must be removed from equipment and stored in SF6 gas carts prior to internal maintenance or equipment salvaging.2 sec.0882 VII. first pull a hard vacuum to remove as much air and moisture as possible. but the air is not liquefied. rate of rising of re striking voltage. The atmosphere on top of the tank is a mixture of the air contaminants and SF6 gas. Liquid SF6 gas is in the bottom of the tank. IX. any gas left in the equipment. This is done with the help of a drum switch with several pair of contacts which is rotated with a motor.2 SF6 gas handling procedures: Proper gas handling procedure must be followed to eliminate gas release to the atmosphere • Pull a vacuum on interconnecting hoses prior to passing SF6 gas through the hoses.International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering &Technology (IJSRET) Volume 1 Issue1 pp 030-035 March 2012 www.3 SF6 gas filing carts: A special SF6 gas filling cart was designed and fabricated. and also may contaminate the SF6 gas with air remaining in the hoses. The valve is then closed for VIII. • When removing SF6 gas from power equipment. The closing speed is high so that the contacts are fully closed before the short circuit current reaches its peak value.
12.B. One alternative is to purchase a SF6/nitrogen separation and filtration plant. Inc. Ryan and G.IEEE Standard General Requirements for Liquid-Immersed Distribution.L. MN  Watlow Electric Manufacturing. Conclusion Harnessing the utilities of a SF6 gas in power system and power system equipments makes it more reliable and safe for use. 1989  IEEE C57.00-1993 .0882 half an hour. The ionization at current zero depends upon the voltage appearing between the contacts this voltage is known as restriking voltage.B. Louis. The heat generated varies from time to time depending upon the separation of contacts. the restriking voltage is zero and.org ISSN 2278 . Initially when the contacts are about to open. Now. if the heat so generated could be removed by cooling. the resistance between the Voltage race theory: In this stage ionization is at minimum and if the ions could be removed either by recombining them into neutral molecule or by sweeping them away by inserting insulation at a rate faster then rate of ionization.IEEE Application Guide for AC High-Voltage Circuit Breakers Rated on a Symmetrical Current Basis  SF6 Switchgear.S. John wiley & Peregrinus Press. to trip and isolate the healthy section of the system from the faulted without causing any harm to the system. Between these two limits the heat generation reaches a maximum.1991 IJSRET @ 2012 . Electrical power systems. splitting the arc at a rate faster then the generation the arc is extinguished • X. Arc. This property of ac circuit is exploited for interruption purpose and the current is not allowed to rise again after a zero occurs. therefore. the arc will be interrupted. X. St. Because of the resistive nature of the arc discharge. some SF6 gas is vented to the atmosphere. XI.010-1979 . Wadhwa. REFERENCES  ANSI/IEEE C37. There are two methods by which an Arc interruption is done: X. This phenomenon of arc extinction is explained by two theories: • Energy band theory: This theory is based on the fact that if the rate at which the heat generated between the contacts is dissipated the arc will be extinguished. The arc resistance may be increased due to any or all of the de ionizing methods i. contacts is almost infinite and hence the heat generated is zero. Hermantown.2 Low resistance or current zero interruption: This method is used only in ac circuit interruption because there is natural zero of current present in such systems. the heat generated is zero. The countless advantages of this SF6 gas will take us to new heights in the power system. during the process. Power and Regulating Transformers  U.International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering &Technology (IJSRET) Volume 1 Issue1 pp 030-035 March 2012 www. R. ijsret. MO  N I Supply. otherwise it will restrike. Again when the contacts are fully open. Duluth.The rate at which resistance is increased or the current is decrease is not abnormal so as to cause harmful induced voltage in the system. Jones C. H. M. This procedure is effective however. but the cost of this alternative is prohibitive. MN sons. The procedure is then repeated until the pressure on top of the tank is proper for the tank’s temperature. cooling. allowing the SF6 gas within the tank to reliquefy. Also it is neither necessary nor desirable to cut off the current at any other point on the ac wave because this will induce high voltage in the system. lengthen and splitting of the arc.Interruption theories for sf6 circuit breaker When a short circuit occurs on the system the relay signal’s to C. most of the energy in the system is received by C. In case of 50 Hz supply there are 100 zeros per second. Weather Service.1 High resistance method: In this method arc resistance is increased in to such a high value that it force the current to reaches to zero without possibility of arc being restruck .e.
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