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Engr. Syed Muhammad Munavvar Hussain
A circuit breaker is defined as a piece of equipment which can do any one of the following tasks: y Makes or breaks a circuit either manually or by remote control under normal conditions y Breaks a circuit automatically under fault conditions y Makes a circuit either manually or by remote control under fault conditions
Circuit Breaker with Internal Structure
y Thus a circuit breaker is used for incorporating
manual as well as automatic control for the switching function. y The automatic control of the circuit breaker is incorporated with the help of relays. y The automatic control is only done in case of fault conditions
y The main advantage associated with the use of circuit breaker is that a circuit breaker can be reset (either manually or automatically) to resume normal operation. .Advantage over Fuse y A fuse operates once and then has to be replaced.
Circuit Breaker Contacts There are two types of contacts: y Primary contact y Arcing contact .
. which has a much lower conductivity than those used for primary contacts. y The arcing contact is made of arc resistance material such as tungsten or molybdenum.Circuit Breaker Contacts y The primary contact is always made of a high conductive material such as copper (Cu).
Normal Condition y Under the normal operating conditions. . these contacts remain closed and are not open automatically until and unless the system becomes faulty.
the trip coils of the circuit breaker get energized and the moving contacts are pulled apart by some mechanism. .Faulty Condition y When a fault occurs on any part of the system. thus opening the circuit.
The current is thus able to continue until the discharge ceases. an arc is struck between them. .Arc Phenomenon y When the contacts of a circuit break are separated under fault conditions.
Categories of Arcs Arcs in the circuit breakers are categorized as: y High-pressure arcs: (with ambient pressures of 1 atm and above) y Vacuum arcs: (with ambient pressures below 10-4 torr) .
It prevents current chopping and associated abnormal switching over-voltages in the system.Arc is Useful? y The arc is useful in a way as it provides a low resistance path for the current after contact separation. transition from the current-carrying to the currentbreaking states of the contacts. but quick. . y The arc provides a gradual.
Arc Extinction The arc depends upon the following factors: y Degree of Ionization y Length of the Arc y Cross-section of the Arc .
Based on Voltage Low Medium High/Extra High Ultra High 2. Based on Interrupting Media Air Blast Oil SF6 Vacuum . Based on External Design Dead Tank Live Tank 4.Classification of Circuit Breakers Circuit Breakers 1. Based on Location Indoor Outdoor 3.
the circuit breakers are classified as: Category Low voltage Medium voltage High/Extra High voltage Ultra High voltage Range of Voltage Less than 1 kV 1 kV to 52 kV 66 kV to 765 kV Above 765 kV .1. Based on Voltage On the basis of the voltage levels for which they are used.
2. Based on Location Circuit breakers are. based upon where they are located. classified as: y Indoor type y Outdoor type .
Based on External Design From the point of view of their physical structural design. outdoor circuit breakers can be identified as either: y dead tank type y live tank type .3.
Based on Interrupting Media The circuit breakers may be classified into following categories: y Oil Circuit Breakers y Air Circuit Breakers y Air-blast Circuit Breakers y Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) Circuit Breakers y Vacuum Circuit Breakers .4.
transformer oil) is used as an arc quenching medium.e..1. Oil Circuit Breakers y The circuit breakers in which some insulating oil (i. .
Arc Extinction in OCBs y The arc extinction is facilitated mainly by two processes: .
. the hydrogen gas has high heat conductivity and cools the arc. thus aiding the de-ionization of the medium between the contacts.Cont« Arc Extinction in OCBs y Firstly.
Cont« Arc Extinction in OCBs y Secondly. the gas sets up turbulence in the oil and forces it into the space between contacts. This results in extinguishing the arc and as a result the circuit current is interrupted. thus eliminating the arcing products from the arc path. .
y The oil close to the arc region provides cooling surface.Advantages y The oil provides insulation for the live exposed contacts . . y The hydrogen produced during arcing has excellent cooling properties and helps extinguish the arc.
it requires periodic maintenance and replacement. y The hydrogen. y During arcing. may form an explosive mixture. which reduces its dielectric strength.Disadvantages y Oil is inflammable and may cause fire hazards. oil becomes polluted by carbon particles. Hence. when combined with air. .
y Bulk Oil Circuit Breakers y Minimum Oil Circuit Breakers .Types of Oil Circuit Breakers They can be classified with the reference to the quantity of oil used.
.Bulk Oil Circuit Breakers y These circuit breakers use a large quantity of oil.
Cont« Bulk Oil Circuit Breakers The oil has to serve two purposes: y It extinguishes the arc during opening of contacts. . y It insulates the current conducting parts from one another and from the earthed tank.
y In such circuit breakers. the current conducting parts insulated by air or porcelain or organic insulating material. .Minimum Oil Circuit Breakers y These circuit breakers use a small quantity of oil. oil is used only for arc extinction.
2. arc quenching medium. AirAir-Blast Circuit Breakers y These circuit breakers employ a high pressure air-blast as an y The contacts are opened in a flow of airblast established by the opening of the blast valve. .
the arc is extinguished and flow of current is interrupted. Consequently. .Arc Extiction y The air-blast cools the arc and sweeps away the arcing products of the atmosphere.
AirAir-Blast Circuit Breaker .
especially where faster breaker operation was required. .Uses of ABCBs y This type of circuit breaker has been used earlier for open terminal HV applications. and 400 kV up to 765 kV. for voltages of 245 kV.
It causes less burning of oil.Advantages y The risk of fire is eliminated. y The arcing products are completely removed by the blast. . so the y y y y expenditure of oil replacement is avoided. the arcing time is also very small. The size of these breakers is reduced. Due to the rapid growth of the dielectric strength. The arc extinction is facilitate by the high pressure air. The arc energy is also very small fraction of that in oil circuit breakers. and is independent of the fault current to be interrupted.
.Disadvantages y These circuit breakers are very sensitive to the variation s in the rate of rise of restriking voltage. y The air-blast is supplied by the compressor plant that needs considerable maintenance.
Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) Circuit Breakers y In these circuit breakers. y This loss of conducting electrons in the arc quickly builds up enough insulation strength to extinguish the arc. y The SF6 is an electronegative gas and has a strong tendency to absorb free electrons. Sulpher hexafluoride gas (SF6) is used as the arc quenching medium.3. .
Uses of SF6 CBs y These circuit breakers are available for complete range of medium voltage and high voltage application up to 800 kV and above. y This medium is most suitable for metal-clad and hybrid HV sub-stations. .
Advantages y Due to the low energy the contact erosion is small. such circuit breakers have very short arcing time. so there is no risk of fire and explosion in SF6 breakers. Furthermore. y Due to the superior arc quenching property of the SF6 gas. y These breakers give noiseless operation due to its closed gas circuit and no exhaust to atmosphere unlike the air-blast circuit breaker. they can interrupt much larger current. y The SF6 gas is not inflammable. y The gaseous medium SF6 possesses excellent dielectric and arc quenching properties. .
y Since SF6 gas has to be reconditioned after every operation of the breaker. additional equipment is required for this purpose.Disadvantages y These circuit breakers are expensive due to the high cost of SF6 gas. so can be harmful for population in its area of operation. . y The SF6 gas has been identified as a greenhouse gas.
y The degree of vacuum in these circuit breakers is in the range from 10-7 to 10-5 torr. the vacuum is used as the arc quenching medium.4. . Vacuum Circuit Breakers y In these circuit breakers.
Vacuum Circuit Breaker .
Because of the very low voltage across the metal vapor arc. .Advantages y The vacuum circuit breakers are compact in size and have y y y y longer lives. They can successfully withstand lightning surges. There is no generation of gases during and after the circuit breaker operation. The outstanding feature of these breakers is that it can break any heavy fault current perfectly just before the contacts reach a definite open position. energy is very low.
Air Circuit Breakers y Air circuit breaker is defined as a circuit breaker. in which the contacts open and close in air at atmospheric pressure.5. .
y This can be achieved in three ways: 1. Lengthening the arc path to increase the arc voltage 3.Arc Interruption y The principles of arc interruption used in an air circuit breaker are rather different from those in any other type of circuit breaker. so that the voltage gradient is very high 2. Splitting up the arc into a number of series arcs . Intense cooling of the arc plasma.
Circuit Breakers Ratings There are three ratings for breakers as: y Breaking Capacity y Making Capacity y Short-time Rating .
power factor. current that a circuit breaker is capable of breaking at given recovery voltage and under specified conditions (i.m.s.Breaking Capacity y Breaking capacity is defined as the r. rate of rise of restriking voltage). .e.
Cont« Cont« Breaking Capacity y It is a common practice to express the breaking capacity in MVA by taking into account the rated the rated breaking current and rated service voltage. the breaking capacity for three-phase circuit is: Breaking Capacity = sqrt 3 x V x I x 10-6 MVA . y Thus if I is the rated breaking current in Amperes and the rated service voltage is V in volts.
Making Capacity y It is the peak value of current (including d. y Mathematically stated.c. making capacity is given as: Making Capacity = 2. component) during the first cycle of current wave after the closure of circuit breaker.55 x symmetrical breaking capacity .
ShortShort-time Rating y The period for which the circuit breaker is able to carry fault current while remaining closed is known as short-time rating. The temperature rise . The electromagnetic force effects 2. y The short-time rating of a circuit breaker depends upon its ability to withstand: 1.
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