Influence of Varying Gaps Between TMF Contacts on Constricted High Current Vacuum Arcs


  • B. Kühn Technische Universität Braunschweig Institut für Hochspannungstechnik und Elektrische Energieanlagen – elenia Schleinitzstraße 23 | 38106 Braunschweig | Germany
  • B. Weber
  • D. Gentsch
  • M. Kurrat



vacuum circuit breaker, VCB, TMF, constricted arcs, automatized evaluation


The behavior of high current arcs in vacuum circuit breaker (VCB) is interesting for research and industrial development purpose which lead to further products. To improve the interruption capability of VCB, two approaches to control the arc have been proven successful. Applying transversal magnetic fields (TMF) on the arc is use for industrial VCB in medium voltage ranges. For greater gap distances the behavior of the arc is less thoroughly investigated.
In this paper, the appearance of metal vapor arcs drawn by common TMF contacts in a vacuum-test-interrupter is investigated. An adapted drive mechanism enables to interrupt a fixed current with varying gaps from 5 to 25 mm and a constant opening time. Breaking operations with a 50 Hz current are observed with a high speed camera. With increasing gap distance a changed arc appearance can be observed. The goals of this work are to be understood as a feasibility study for optical evaluation methods for vacuum arcs under TMF.


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