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Circuit Breaker

INTRODUCTION

A circuit breakers function and intended use are established in ANSI-C37.100-1992

Definitions for Power Switchgear, which defines a circuit breaker as:


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

The application process is simple: each of the duty requirements is specified or calculated and is
then compared to the corresponding capability of the circuit breaker.

The fundamental rule for selection of the proper circuit breaker is that the ratings or related
capabilities of the circuit breaker must equal or exceed each of the calculated or specified duty
requirements of the circuit in which it is applied.

Circuit characteristics which must be defined and compared to the circuit breakers capabilities
(given in the various Tables in this Section) are:

Circuit voltage
System frequency
Continuous current
Short-circuit current
Closing and latching current

In addition, certain special application conditions can influence circuit breaker selection. Special
applications include the following:

Repetitive switching duty (except arc furnaces)


Arc furnace switching
Reactor switching
Capacitor switching
Fast bus transfer
Unusual service conditions

Requirements:
Should be a perfect conductor in the closed position.
Should be a perfect insulator in the open position
Should be a fact when closing(slow closures can damage the contact)
Should be a fast when opening
Breaker selection is based on its ability to perform the following functions:
Carry the required full-load current without overheating
Switch and isolate or disconnect the load from the source at the system
voltage.
Interrupt any possible abnormally high operating current or short-circuit
current likely to be encountered during operation.
(These must all be performed over an acceptable period of time and under
actual operating/environmental conditions.

Circuit Breaker Ratings:

Voltage Rating: Specifies the maximum voltage level of the line that the breaker
can be used on

Current Rating:
Ensuring the breaker can carry the systems full load current
Ensure the breakers rated current is capable of breaking the maximum
amount of faulted current
Ensure the breaker is capable of carrying the faulted current for a period of
one second.
Operating Time:
The time the breaker takes to open a short circuit current after it is activated
Time between operations.
Without sufficient cooling time, damage may result in the event
of several faults in a short period of time.

Temperature:
Under extreme cold conditions, some materials may tend towards
brittleness
Under extreme heat physical and electrical strength of materials may be
reduced to marginal levels.
Altitude:
Transfer properties of higher altitude, less dense air require circuit breakers
to be de-rated for voltage withstand and current carrying capacity.
Current de-rating can be compensated if the temperature is lower at a higher
altitude.
Voltage withstand capability is unaffected by lower temperature at higher
altitudes.
Insulation level:
2 electrical conditions require the insulation to operate:
Electrically exposed, Non-Exposed
Rated lightning impulse withstand voltage = approx.. 1500KV
For 500 KV SYSTEM: Rated switching impulse voltage = approx..1200KV
One-minute power frequency withstand voltage = approx.. 600KV