# Principles of Circuit Breakers

By D M. Karkare

3/27/2010

BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Current Zero Interruption Theories
The recovery rate theory ( Slepian’s theory)  The energy balance theory( Cassie’s theory)

3/27/2010

BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Recovery Rate Theory
The rate at which the gap recovers its dielectric strength, is compared with the rate at which restriking voltage across the contacts rises. If the re-striking voltage rises more rapidly than the dielectric strength, the space breaks down and the arc persists.
3/27/2010 BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Energy Balance Theory
 Immediately after the current zero, the contact space contains ionized gas and therefore has a finite post-zero resistance.  The rising restriking voltage causes a current to flow between the contacts so that power is dissipated in the contact space.  Initially when the restriking voltage is zero, the power is zero and it is again zero when the space has become fully de-ionized and the resistance is infinitely high; between these two limits the power dissipated rises to maximum.
BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

3/27/2010

Contd….
 If the heat so generated exceeds the rate at which heat can be dissipated from the contact space; ionization will persist and breakdown will occur, giving an arc for another half cycle.

3/27/2010

BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Contd….
 A rapid increase of dielectric strength or post-zero resistance is necessary for successful interruption and this can be achieved by: Lengthening of the arc Cooling Blast Effect.
Dielectric strength or post-zero resistance is proportional to the length of the gap so that lengthening by rapid opening of the contacts is obvious procedure. Natural combination of ions and electrons takes place more rapidly if they are allowed to cool. Cool non-ionized gas or liquid can be forced into the contact space thereby cooling the ions and electrons and sweeping them away. These methods are applied in oil and air-blast breakers.

3/27/2010

BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Recovery Voltage
 The normal frequency r.m.s voltage that appears across the breaker poles after final arc extinction has occurred, is termed as the recovery voltage.  The instantaneous value of the recovery voltage at the instant of arc extinction is called is called the active recovery voltage.

3/27/2010

BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Contd….
The active recovery voltage depends on the following factors:  The power factor  The armature reaction  The circuit conditions.

3/27/2010

BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Effect of Power Factor on recovery voltage
 With low p.f, i.e when the ratio of reactance to resistance of the circuit is high, the active recovery voltage will be high.  With High p.f, i.e when the resistance is high as compared to the reactance, the active recovery voltage would be considerably lower. In general the active recovery voltage equals the maximum value of the system voltage multiplied by sin , where  is power factor angle.
3/27/2010 BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Effect of armature reaction on recovery voltage
 The recovery voltage is less than the normal system voltage because of demagnetizing effect of armature reaction.  The fault currents flowing in the generator windings are of lagging power factor.  They have demagnetizing armature reaction. Hence they reduce the terminal voltage
3/27/2010 BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Effect of circuit conditions on recovery voltage Three phase faults that are insulated from earth, either at neutral or at fault, produce recovery voltages in the first phase to clear which are normally more severe than those produced by single-phase or three phase faults on systems with earthed neutrals,
3/27/2010 BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

Restriking Voltage
• The transient voltage that appears across the contacts at the instant of arc extinction is called the re-striking voltage.

3/27/2010

BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore

3/27/2010

BMS Evening College of Engineering, Bangalore