An arc fault is a high power discharge of electricity between two or more conductors. The arc faults of our concern occur
in major electrical distribution systems. While a low power arc of a few amps may initiate an arc fault, a true arc fault
will rapidly increase in current up to several hundred amps or even thousands of amps. An electrical switchboard seven feet
high, three feet wide, four feet deep, containing several hundred pounds of metal conductors and supports can, in a few
seconds, be reduced to an empty shell. An Arc Fault Detection (AFD) System has been invented to protect switchboards against
catastrophic arcing failures. AFD Systems have been in use since 1990. A newer design furnishes Continuous Thermal Monitoring
(CTM) of switchboards and can prevent 60-80% of all arcing failures.
While my primary interest is in high power arcs and how they related to power distribution systems, I also find other types of arcing events interesting. Use the frame on the left to look at information on glow discharge, lightening, and the new household arc fault interrupter (AFCI) breakers.
While a high powered arcing fault can reduce a six foot high switchboard to worthless slag in seconds, a person can be seriously injured seriously with smaller arcs and less time. Many of the responses I have had to this web site have been related to those personnel injuries caused by the Arc Flash, therefore new information has been added concerning arc flash.
Six bibliographies containing almost 300 arc fault and arc flash related entries were added to this site. Due to copyright law I can't post the full papers, but the abstracts may be useful. In response to my site I was contacted by Glenn Walls, PE and I am pleased to add his extensive article on "Understanding Arc Flash Requirements."
Contributions to this site are welcomed. Please reply to info@""arcfault.org, but first take the "" out of the address. The "" is there to reduce the effectiveness of the email harvesting programs.
This site is based upon my work with arc faults since 1978 and the creation of over 2000 arcs from a few KW to over 10MW in power.
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