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A MINI PROJECT ON

CIRCUIT BREAKERS:
TYPES AND TESTING
UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF
Mr.T.ANIL KUMAR

PREPARED BY :- ANUJ GUPTA


M.ARUN KUMAR
K.NARESH KUMAR
SRUJITH REDDY
VIJAY SANGWAN

INTRODUCTION
CIRCUIT BREAKER :- A circuit breaker is an
automatically operated electrical switch designed to
protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by
overload or short circuit. Its basic function is to detect
a fault condition and interrupt current flow. After it
operates, a circuit breaker can be reset to resume
normal operation.
NEED OF CIRCUIT BREAKER :- The circuit breakers are
required for the protection of the appliances on the
load side and to keep the system healthy. Since, if the
fault current, which has very high value, is delivered
to the load side then it will blow off everything.

MAIN PARTS OF A CIRCUIT BREAKER


The main parts of a circuit breaker are: Fixed and moving contact:- these are the two main contacts of a
circuit breaker which are responsible for making and breaking the
connection.
Spring:- it is used to arrest the speed of the moving contact while
closing.
Bimetal strip:- a bimetallic strip is used to convert an temperature
into a mechanical displacement. In a circuit breaker of low ranges,
this strip bends when heat due to high current passes through it.

Electromagnet:- this is used to attract the moving contact when a


fault occurs and the high current passes through it hence,
energising it.

OPERATION OF CIRCUIT BREAKERS


Generally, all circuit breakers will
have common type of operation.
There is one moving contact and one
fixed contact. When live wire carries
the usual operating current,
electromagnet is not strong enough
to separate the contacts.
If something goes wrong with the appliance and a large
current flows, the electromagnet will pull hard enough
to separate the contacts and break the circuit.
The spring then keeps the contacts apart.
After the fault is repaired, the contacts can be pushed
back together.

WHAT IS AN ARC AND ARC


INTERRUPTION?

During opening of current carrying contacts in a circuit


breaker the medium in between opening contacts become
highly ionized through which the interrupting current gets
low resistive path and continues to flow through this path
even the contacts are physically separated. During the
flowing of current from one contact to other the path
becomes so heated that it glows. This is called arc.
When arc appears across the contacts of a circuit breaker,
then to extinguish it air or SF6 or vacuum or oil is used
because they have high dielectric strength and will take
less time to do so. Based on these mediums they are
classified into different types are designed accordingly for
different voltage levels.

METHODS OF ARC EXTINCTION


There are two methods of Arc Extinction:(i) High Resistance methods
(ii) Low resistance method
High Resistance Method:- in this method, the resistance is
increased to such a value that current is decreased to a very low
value, which is done by: Increasing the length of the arc:- we know that, R l/A , so if the
length of the arc is increased then the resistance will also increase.
By Reducing the area of cross- section:- if the area of cross section is
reduced the resistance increases(R l/A).
Cooling the arc:- cooling agent is provided between the contacts
which reduces the temperature the arc.
Splitting the arc :- the arc is made to split into different sections,
resistance is increased due to effect of cooling and lengthening of arc.

Low Resistance Method:- in A.C. when current


becomes zero twice in a cycle, the arc extinction
becomes easy. Using the property of A.C., the arc can be
extinguished when current becomes zero. For such a
case, the dielectric strength of the medium should be
good or it must be improved. It is possible either by
cooling or sweeping out the ionised particles.
Moreover, if the dielectric strength of the medium
increases rapidly then the potential difference between
the contacts can be interrupted and arc can be
extinguished.

TYPES OF CIRCUIT BREAKERS


Depending upon the arc extinguishing medium CBs
are classified into the following types:(i) Oil Circuit Breaker
(ii) Air Blast Circuit Breaker
(iii) Vacuum Circuit Breaker
(iv) SF6 Circuit Breaker

MINIMUM OIL CIRCUIT BREAKER


In this type of circuit breaker, both the contacts are
immersed in the oil, which is the dielectric medium of the
circuit breaker.
The oil in the circuit breaker provides cooling and acts as a
good dielectric and hence quenches the arc.
It can be used for 11KV-765KV.

ADVANTAGES:(i) It is available for high voltage ranges.


(ii) Arc energy is absorbed in decomposing of oil.
(iii) The gas formed which is mainly hydrogen, has high diffusion
rate and high heat absorption and thus provides good cooling
properties.
(iv) The oil has high dielectric strength and provides insulation
between the contacts after the arc has been finally
extinguished and there has been time for the oil to flow into the
gap between contacts.

DISADVANTAGES:(i) Oil may be flammable and can cause fire hazards, if a


defective oil circuit breaker should fail under pressure
and cause an explosion.
(ii)There is a risk of formation of explosive mixture with the
air.
(iii)Due to the decomposition of the oil in the arc, the oil
becomes polluted by carbon particles, which reduces its
dielectric strength. Hence periodical maintenance and
replacements are required.
(iv) Regular maintenance and changing the oil is costly.

AIR BLAST CIRCUIT BREAKER


An ACB makes use of atmospheric air for extinction of arc
and hence known as Air Blast Circuit Breaker.

The of air blast circuit breaker is used for the system


voltage of 245 KV, 420 KV and even more, especially
where faster breaker operation was required.

Types of Air Blast Circuit Breaker


There are two types of Air Blast Circuit Breaker:(a) Axial blast circuit breaker
(b) Cross blast circuit breaker
Axial Blast Circuit Breaker:- When a fault occurs a
tripping impulse is produced which causes opening of
the air valve. Since the air valve connects the
airreservoirand the arcing chamber, a high pressure air
enters to thearcing chamber.

This air pushes away the moving contactagainstthe


spring pressure. The moving contact is separated and an
arc is struck.
At the same time high pressure air blast flows along the
arc and takes away the ionised gases along with it.
Consequently the arc is extinguished and current flow is
interrupted.
Cross Blast Circuit Breaker:- In this type of breaker,
an air-blast is directed at right angles to the arc. The
cross blast lengthens and forces the arc which helps in
better
extinction
of
the
arc.

In cross blast circuit breaker, cooling


process is faster than axial
blast.
Since, deionisation of air much faster
in this case and hence the arc
extinction.
Also, arc due to small currents is
effectively eliminated which is no that
good in axial blast.

ADVANTAGES:Air blast circuit breaker has some specific advantages


over oil circuit breaker which are listed as follows,
(i) There is no chance of fire hazard caused by oil.
(ii) The breaking speed of circuit breaker is very high.
(iii) Arc quenching is much faster.
(iv) As the duration of arc is smaller, so lesser amount of
heat is produced from arc to current carrying contacts
hence the service life of the contacts becomes longer.
(v) Requires much less maintenance compared to oil circuit
breaker.

DISADVANTAGES :-

(i) In order to have frequent operations, it is necessary


to have sufficiently high capacity air compressor.
(ii)Frequent maintenance of compressor, associated air
pipes and automatic control equipments is also
required.
(iii)Due to high speed current interruption there is
always a chance of high rate of rise of re-striking
voltage and current chopping.
(iv)There also a chance of air pressure leakage from air
pipes junctions.

VACUUM CIRCUIT BREAKER


A Vacuum Circuit Breaker is such kind of circuit
breaker where the arc quenching takes place in vacuum.
The technology is suitable for mainly medium voltage
application. The vacuum pressure inside a vacuum

interrupter is normally maintained at 10 6 bar.


The voltage range for which VCB is commonly used
is from 7.6 KV to 36KV but it can be used upto
145KV.

ADVANTAGES :(i)Service life of vacuum circuit breaker is much longer


than other types of circuit breakers.
(ii) It has compact size hence weighs less and is suitable to
be used anywhere.
(iii)There is no chance of fire hazard as oil circuit breaker.
(iv)It is much environment friendly(pollution free) than SF 6
Circuit breaker.
(v)Replacement of vacuum interrupter is much convenient.
(vi) It is suitable for repeated operating duty.

Disadvantages:(i)Loss of vacuum due to transit damage or failure makes


the entire interruption useless and it cannot be repaired
at site.
(ii)It needs additional surge suppressors in parallel with
each phase for interruption of low magnetizing currents
in certain range.
(iii)Vacuum circuit breakers are uneconomical above 36kV
and SF6 breakers having equivalent properties is
economical. Hence for EHV (voltages above 230kV )
systems SF6 circuit breakers are employed.
(iv)It is uneconomical to manufacture vacuum interrupters
in small quantities.

SULPHUR HEXAFLOURIDE CIRCUIT BREAKER


A circuit breaker in which the current carrying contacts operate in
sulphur hexafluoride or SF6 gas is known as an SF6 circuit breaker.
The SF6 circuit breaker is used for voltage range upto 765KV.
The SF6 is used in circuit breakers because of the following
properties:(a) It is highly electronegative and hence absorbs free electrons
which are produced due to arcing between the contacts of circuit
breakers.
(b) It is colorless , odorless ,non-toxic gas and non-flammable gas.
(c) It is thermally and chemically stable.
(d) It has high dielectric strength( almost 2.35 times that of air).
(e) It has the property of fast recombination after arc is
extinguished
which makes it 100 times more
effective in arc quenching compared to air.

The below diagrams shows how a SF6 circuit breaker


works:-

Advantages:The SF6 circuit breaker has the following advantages:(i) Excellent arc quenching property.
(ii) Its performance is not affected with the variations in
the atmospheric conditions.
(iii) It gives noiseless operation and doesnt make sound
like air blast circuit breaker.
(iv) It requires minimum maintenance say, once in four to
ten years depending upon numbers of times it
operated.
(v) There is no reduction in the dielectric strength property
of SF6 gas since there are no carbon particles formed
during the arcing.
(vi) It is suitable for very high voltage range.
(vii)The physical and chemical properties of SF6 gas is real
advantage of SF6 CB.

Disadvantages:The disadvantages of the SF6 circuit breakers are as follows:(i) Imperfect joints leading to leakage of the SF 6 gas.
Continuous monitoring devices are required.
(ii) SF6 gas is suffocating to some extent. In case of leakage in
the breaker tank SF6 gas being heavier than the air settles
in the surroundings and may lead to suffocation of the
operating personnel. However it is not poisonous.
(iii) Arced SF6 gas is poisonous and should not be inhaled.
(iv)SF6 gas high cost and hence makes the circuit breaker a bit
costly.
(v) SF6 is a green house gas and safety regulations must be
kept under consideration for its usage.

BREAKING CAPACITY OF A CIRCUIT


BREAKER
Breaking capacity or interrupting capacity is the current
that a circuit breaker is able to interrupt without being
destroyed.
Breaking capacity is expressed in MVA by taking into account the
rated breaking current and rated service voltage. Thus if I is
the rated breaking current in amperes and V is rated service
line voltage in volts, then for a three phase circuit
Breaking Capacity = 3 * V * I * 10 6MVA
Breaking Capacity of SF6 circuit breaker ( at the sub station),
= 3*132*40
= 9144.96 MVA
Breaking Capacity of Vacuum circuit breaker( at the sub station),
= 3*33*25
= 1428.9 MVA

MAKING CAPACITY OF A CIRCUIT


BREAKER

Making capacity of a circuit breaker is the maximum current which


the breaker can conduct at the instant of closing. The making
capacity is considered to the peak value of the first cycle of sub
transient current.
Making capacity is expressed in MVA by taking into account the rated
current and rated service voltage. Thus if I is the rated current in
amperes and V is rated service line voltage in volts, then for a
three phase circuit
Making capacity= 2.5* Breaking Capacity
= 4.33 * V * I * 106MVA
Making Capacity of SF6 circuit breaker ( at the sub station),
= 2.5*Breaking capacity =2.5* 3*132*40
= 22862.4 MVA
Making Capacity of Vacuum circuit breaker( at the sub station),
= 2.5*Breaking capacity = 2.5* 3*33*25
=3572.5 MVA

GENERAL TESTS ON CIRCUIT


BREAKER
The following tests are conducted on a circuit
breaker:(i) Sustained low frequency tests
(ii) High Voltage D. C. Test
(iii) Surge Test or Impulse Test
Sustained low frequency test:- this test is usually
conducted on power frequency i.e. 50Hz in India, on
an insulating specimen to determine and ensure the
dielectric strength and dielectric losses of the
material.

High voltage D.C. test:- HighvoltageDC test is


normally applicable to the those equipments which are
used in high voltageDC transmission system. But this test
is also applicable for highvoltageAC equipments, when
highvoltageAC testing is not possible due to unavoidable
condition.For example mainly at site, after installation of
equipments it is quite difficult to arrange for
highvoltagealternating power so DC is employed.

In highvoltagedirectcurrenttest of AC equipment,
directvoltageabout
two
times
of
the
normal
ratedvoltageis applied across the equipment under test
for 15 minutes to 1.5 hours and thats how this test is
done.

Surge test:- Surge test or impulse tests are very high


or extra highvoltagetests, carried out to find out the
influences of surges or lightning on the transmission
equipment. Normally direct lightening strokes on
transmission line is very rare but it must be ready to
withstand with such conditions.
The voltage may even rise to high values in the even of
a fault and it must not get damaged due to over
voltage disturbances.
The wave form shows the variation of voltage with time
when test is carried out.

THANK YOU