Experimental and Simulation Studies on the Voltage Drop of Arc in Low-Voltage Circuit Breaker Splitters

J. Lu, G. Déplaude, P. Freton, J-J. Gonzalez, P. Joyeux


In low voltage circuit breaker (LVCB) apparatus, a current limitation is performed by increasing the arc voltage. This increase is mainly realized in the splitters plates of the arc chamber by additional drop voltages due to anode and cathode sheaths regions. The consideration of the voltage drops near-electrodes regions is so one of the most important mechanism to improve the description of the arc behavior in LVCB. In this paper, the arc voltage evolution has been studied by experimental and simulation by considering a simple geometry constituted by two rails runner with one or two splitters plates. One magneto hydrodynamic model in three dimensions (3D) was developed to simulate the arc motion and the arc splitting process. In order to compare with the model results, experimental tests have been carried out.


low-voltage circuit breaker; voltage drop; splitters; experiment; simulation


J. Quéméneur, J. Lu, J.-J. Gonzalez, and P. Freton. Arc motion in low voltage circuit breaker (LVCB) experimental and theoretical approaches. Science andTechnology, 8(2):35–45, 2018. doi:10.5923/j.scit.20180802.02.

M. Lindmayer, E. Marzahn, A. Mutzke, T. Ruther, and M. Springstubbe. The process of arc splitting between metal plates in low voltage arc chutes. IEEE Trans. CPMT, 29(2), 2006. doi:10.1109/HOLM.2004.1353090.

A. Mutzke, T. Ruther, M. Kurrat, M. Lindmayer, and E.-D. Wilkening. Modeling the arc splitting process in low-voltage arc chutes. In 53rd IEEE Holm Conf. on Electrical Contacts, Pittsburgh, 2007. doi:10.1109/HOLM.2007.4318213.

A. Mutzke, T. Ruther, M. Lindmayer, and M. Kurrat. Arc behavior in low-voltage arc chambers. European Physical Journal-applied Physics, 49, 2010. doi:10.1051/epjap/2010001.

M. S. Benilov and A. Marotta. A model of the cathode region of atmospheric pressure arc. J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 28(9), 1995. doi:10.1088/0022-3727/28/9/015.

F. Yang, M. Rong, and Y. Wu. Numerical analysis of arc characteristics of splitting process considering ferromagnetic plate in low-voltage arc chamber. IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., 38(11), 2010. doi:10.1109/TPS.2010.2070084.

Z. Sun, M. Rong, and F. Yang. Numerical modeling of arc splitting process with ferromagnetic plate. IEEE Trans. on Plasma Sci., 36(4):1072–1073, 2008. doi:10.1109/TPS.2004.924559.

M. Rong, F. Yang, Y. Wu, et al. Simulation of arc characteristics in miniature circuit breaker. IEEETrans. on Plasma Sci., 38(9):2306–2311, 2010. doi:10.1109/TPS.2010.2050703.

F. Yang, M. Rong, Y. Wu, et al. Numerical simulation of the eddy current effects on the arc splitting process. Plasma Science and Technology, 14(11), 2012. doi:10.1088/1009-0630/14/11/05.

F. Yang, M. Rong, Y. Wu, et al. Numerical analysis of the influence of splitter-plate erosion on an air arc in the quenching chamber of a low-voltage circuit breaker. J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 43(43), 2010. doi:10.1088/0022-3727/43/43/434011.

J.-J. Lowke and M. Tanaka. Lte-diffusion approximation for arc calculations. J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 39(16), 2006. doi:10.1088/0022-3727/39/16/017.

J. W. McBride and P. M. Weaver. Review of arcing phenomena in low voltage current limiting circuit breakers. IEE Proc. Sci. Meas. and Tech., 1(23), 2001. doi:10.1049/ip-smt:20010185.

J. W. McBride and D. Shin. A study of the motion of high current arcs in splitter plates using an arc imaging system. In International Conference on Electrical Contacts, Edinburg, 2016.

J. W. McBride, A. Balestrero, L. Ghezzi, G. Tribulato, and K. J. Cross. Optical fiber imaging for high speed plasma motion diagnostics: Applied to low voltage circuit breakers. Rev. Sci. Instrum, 81(5), 2010. doi:10.1063/1.3428737.

D. Shin, I. O. Golosnoy, and J. W. McBride. A study of arc modelling in low-voltage switching devices. In International Conference on the Computation of Electromagnetics Fields, 2017.

D. Shin, J. W. McBride, and I. O. Golosnoy. Arc modeling to predict arc extinction in low-voltage switching devices. In IEEE Holm Conf. on Elec. Cont., 2018. doi:10.1109/HOLM.2018.8611712.

A. Iturregi, B. Barbu, E. Torres, F. Berger, and I. Zamora. Electric arc in low-voltage circuit breakers: Experiments and simulation. IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., 45(1):113–120, 2017. doi:10.1109/TPS.2016.2633400.


  • There are currently no refbacks.