Control of Diffuse Vacuum Arc Using Axial Magnetic Fields in Commercial High Voltage Switchgear


  • S. Giere Siemens AG
  • T. Heinz Siemens AG
  • A. Lawall Siemens AG
  • C. Stiehler Siemens AG
  • E. D. Taylor Siemens AG
  • S. Wethekam Siemens AG



high voltage, vacuum interrupter, vacuum arcs


During the development of a commercial vacuum interrupter for application in HV (high voltage) switchgear at a rated voltage of 145kV, we investigated the behavior of vacuum arcs controlled by axial magnetic fields (AMF). AMF arc control is already extensively used in medium voltage (1-52kV) applications, the key difference is the 2-3 times larger contact gap and the corresponding reduction of the AMF strength for HV applications. We conducted several stress tests with short circuit currents up to 40kA, thus not only testing the interrupting capability, but also the electrical endurance of such a contact system. We also investigated the dielectric behavior of the vacuum interrupter by testing the capacitive switching duty. Overall, the contacts were used in about 40 operations at high currents. Despite this large number of operations, they showed a minimal amount of contact erosion and damage and demonstrated behavior very similar to the extensive experience with MV vacuum interrupters. In line with simulation results, we conclude that even at high contact gaps and currents, a diffuse vacuum arc was maintained which distributed the arc energy evenly over the contacts.

Author Biography

A. Lawall, Siemens AG

With best regards,Andreas Lawall Siemens AG Energy Management Division Medium Voltage & Systems OC 3 Vacuum Interrupter EM MS R&D OC 3 Rohrdamm 88 13629 Berlin, Germany Tel.: +49 30 386-27236 Fax: +49 30 386-27455 Mobile: +49 172 9715557 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft: Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Jim Hagemann Snabe; Managing Board: Joe Kaeser, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; Roland Busch, Lisa Davis, Klaus Helmrich, Janina Kugel, Cedrik Neike, Michael Sen, Ralf P. Thomas; Registered offices: Berlin and Munich, Germany; Commercial registries: Berlin Charlottenburg, HRB 12300, Munich, HRB 6684; WEEE-Reg.-No. DE 23691322


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