Types of Circuit Breakers and Their Importance


With the electric currents that work to Supply Power to the many appliances that we rely on daily, there are always electrical issues that may arise. From short circuits to other forms of current overloads, damage to the appliance, circuit, or even the building may be caused. With the use of a circuit breaker, building, appliance, and circuit protection can be achieved through shutting off the current through contact separation during an overload. Depending on the rating or size of the system that is present, different types of Circuit Breakers may be utilized. In this article, we will give a short overview of some of the main types of breakers.

Arc Chute Circuit Breaker: Also known as an air magnetic breaker, this type contains metallic or insulated plates that are placed between the circuit contacts. These components are highly useful as when the arc is created through the separation of the contacts, it is forced to contact those plates and is then divided, helping dampen the voltage through its diffusion.

Air Blast Circuit Breaker: Through the use of a blast of compressed air, the circuit contacts are opened and the circuit is interrupted, the air blast then cooling the resulting arc as well. Depending on the type of air blast circuit breaker, the air may move in a direction that is cross, radial, or axial in relation to the arc. These types of Circuit Breakers are useful for outdoor switch yards.

Oil Circuit Breaker: These types of breakers utilize an insulating oil that dissipates and cools the arc when the contacts are opened. Oil circuits have the benefit of acting as an insulator between the wire and the earth as well, making them beneficial. Oil circuit breakers are a cheap, reliable solution due to the fact that they do not utilize any special devices.

Sulfur Hexafluoride Circuit Breakers: Also referred to as SF6 circuit breakers, this type utilizes sulfur hexafluoride gas to extinguish the resulting arc. The gas works to attract free electrons, and as it is released into the arc, it attracts the conducting electrons. Through this, it completely extinguishes and cools the arc. These breakers boast low maintenance, are highly effective, and have no emission of gases, making them very useful for electrical grids and hazardous areas.

Vacuum Circuit Breaker: When the contacts are opened during a fault, this type of breaker forced the arc into a vacuumed space devoid of any solid, liquid, or gas. Within the chamber, arcs are unable to form and electricity cannot move through the vacuum space. Vacuum breakers are useful through their high efficiency and great insulation strength.


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