Post-Arc Characteristics of High-Current Arcs in Vacuum Circuit-Breakers


  • N. Wenzel Siemens AG, Corporate Technology, Research In Energy and Electronics
  • W. Haas Retired employee of Siemens AG



vacuum arc, vacuum circuit-breaker, transient recovery voltage, post-arc current, boundary sheath, transverse magnetic field contact


The post-arc (PA) characteristics of vacuum arcs in transverse magnetic field contacts are studied for short-circuit currents of up to 123 kA peak and transient recovery voltages below 875 V. The measured PA currents are interpreted in terms of an Electric Resistance Model and the models of Andrews-Varey, Langmuir-Child, and Slepian-Schmelzle. Whereas in the late PA period, the calculations do not agree well with the measurements, the PA behavior is well described in the early period after current-zero. It is concluded that the PA discharge is amplified by ionization of metal vapor particles in the boundary sheath due to electron impact.


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