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History of Circuit Breaker Types of Circuit Breaker Arc Phenomena Current Switching RRRV

A mechanical device capable of making, carrying and breaking currents under normal circuit conditions and also making, carrying for a specific time and breaking currents under specified abnormal circuit conditions such as those of short circuit.- ANSI

History of Circuit Breakers

Early CB are known to be Mercury Switches - A set of conducting rods immersed in mercury. The first SF6 circuit breaker rated for application at voltages higher than 230 kV and a current interrupting capability of 25 kA was commercially introduced by Westinghouse in 1959.

Low/ High Voltage CB Indoor/ Outdoor CB Dead Tank/ Live Tank CB Air/ Oil/ SF6 /Vacuum CB Air magnetic CB Air Blast CB Puffer CB Self Blast type CB

Arc Phenomena
Self-sustained discharge which has low voltage drop capable of sustaining large currents. Gases and vapors, which serve as conductors for the arc, originate partly from the electrodes. From interrupting technology point of view, an Arc may be divided into 2 types, -High pressure arc. -Low pressure arc.

Current Switching
The arc resistance depends upon the following factors : -Degree of ionization -Length & cross-section of the Arc Factors for Arc maintenance: 1.p.d. between contacts 2.Ionised particles between the contacts Methods of Arc extinction: 1. High resistance Method- (DC & low power AC) 2. Low resistance/ Current zero method.(preferred)

Increase in dielectric strength achieved by: - forming neutral molecules. - de-ionization of the medium between the contacts, which is achieved by: 1.Lengthening the air gap. 2.Cooling the air gap. 3.High pressure 4.Blast effect.

Interruption of fault current by CB will result in most of the stored energy to be dissipated within the circuit breaker. KV/ s is unit for RRRV C is short circuited, during fault.


1 2 LC

Voltage across C and hence across CB contacts Instantaneous peak value of this transient voltage is 2Em RRRV > rise of dielectric strength RRRV depends upon - Recovery voltage - natural frequency of oscillations Recovery Voltage Worst Case Fault for CB.