Determining the Time Constant of Arcs at Arbitrary Current Levels


  • L. S. J. Bort ETH Zürich
  • T. Schultz
  • C. M. Franck



switching arc, gas circuit breakers, black-box model, arc time constant


For the development and optimization of gas circuit breakers and switchgear, a detailed understanding of the arc related processes is of great importance. Ideally, analytical or numerical models with predicitive capability can be found and used during the design process preceding costly and time-consuming experiments.

In the present contribution, we report on a novel measurement and evaluation technique to determine the thermal arc time constant ("thermal inertia") that is commonly used in simple black-box models to describe the arc's dynamical properties. The method is introduced and applied to example arcs under varying blow gas conditions in air.


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