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Aim:To study Inverse Current Characteristics of a Fuse

Theory:A fuse is a short piece of metal inserted in a circuit which melts when an excessive amount of
current flows through it and thus break the circuit. The time required to blow off the fuse
depends upon the magnitude of the excessive current. Greater the current, smaller is the time
taken by the fuse to blow off. In other words, the fuse has an inverse time characteristics
permits fuses for over-current protection.
Important Terms:Current Rating of Fuse Element:It is the current which fuse element can normally carry without overheating. It
depends upon temperature rise between contacts of the fuse.
Fusing Current:It is the minimum current at which the fuse element melts and thus disconnects the
circuits protected by it.
The fusing current depends upon various factors such as:
1. Material of fuse element
2. Length smaller or greater than required
3. Diameter
4. Size and Location
5. Previous History
6. Type of Enclosure

Fusing Factor:It is the ratio of minimum fusing current to current rating of fuse element.

Minimum fusing current

Fusing Factor

Current-rating of Fuse

Its value is always more than 1. The smaller the Fusing Factor, greater is difficulty in
avoiding determination due to overheating and oxidation at rated carrying current. (Generally
its value is 2).

Fig. 1: Circuit diagram for inverse time current characteristic of fuse.

Prospective Current:
It is the RMS value of current obtained if the fuse is repeated by an ordinary
conductor of negligible resistance.
Cut-off Current:
It is the maximum value of fault current I reached before the fuse. The cut off value
depends upon
Current Rating of fuse
Value of prospective current
Asymmetry of short circuit current
Pre arcing Time:
It is the time between commencement of fault of instant are cut off occurs. The Time
of start of fault to the time when are initiated. Its value is small about 0.001s.
Arcing Time:
It is the time between the ends of pre-arcing time of instant when arc is extinguished.

Fig. 2: Timing diagram for inverse time current characteristic

Total Operating Time:

It is the sum of pre-arcing time of arcing time. The operating time of fuse is generally
quite low say 0.002s.This is an added advantage of the fuse over circuit breakers.

Fuse Characteristics:Fuses are characterized by thermal' and 'interrupting' characteristics. Thermal characteristic
are quite intuitive and relate to the following
1. Current rating.
2. Melting characteristics.
3. Interrupting characteristics refer to the following:
4. Voltage rating.
5. Interrupting rating.

As the magnitude of the current increases, melting time reduces. It should be obvious that
larger magnitude currents will lead to higher power dissipation (I2R) in the fuse and hence
faster rise in temperature of the element. This would imply that melting time of the fuse
should be inversely proportional to magnitude of square of current. The relationship between
the magnitude of the current that causes melting and the time needed for it to melt is given by
the fuse's melting time current characteristics (TCC). To cover a wide range of currents and
operating time, TCC is plotted on a log-log paper.

Figure 3: melting curve

Figure 4: Total clearing Curves

Interrupting Characteristics:It is important to realize that power apparatus and systems contain inductive elements. Hence,
melting of a fusing element is not sufficient to interrupt the current. Consequently, there is
always some period of arcing before the current is interrupted. During this period, fuse must
withstand any immediate transient voltage condition and subsequent steady state recovery
voltage. Addition of melting time and this arcing overhead gives the total clearing time.
Total clearing TCC curve (fig 4) describes this information. For lower currents, melting time
can be large and arcing time small because of lower stored energy
in induction circuit.
In contrast, for large currents, melting time is small but the arcing time is large. Hence, TCC










Both of these characteristics are required to coordinate back up fuse or overcurrent relay or
any other protective devices. Back up device should provide sufficient 'opportunity window'
(time) to primary fuse to clear the fault. This ensures selectivity. Recall that selectivity
minimizes loss of service.

Current Limiting Fuse:Suppose that an overcurrent protective element could insert a large resistance in series during
fault current. This would then improve the power factor in the fault circuit which otherwise is
more or less inductive. Thus, the zero crossing of the current and voltage would be in phase.

This implies that when the arc is extinguished temporarily at current zero, the applied voltage
across it will also be zero. This should be contrasted with expulsion type or current awaiting
type fuse where typically, I(t) = 0, V = Vm. (
phase lag in an inductive circuit). If at
current zero, V(t) = Vm, then the presence of a large electric field does not help in quick deionization. In contrast, when the current zero and voltage zero are in phase, then when the
temporary arc is extinguished, the dielectric medium will be quickly de-ionized. (This also
reduces TRV. Inclusion of higher resistance also reduces peak value of current.)

Figure 5: typical current limiting fuse

It can be seen that fuse has an inverse time current characteristics that is as current
increases time decreases and vice versa.