Air Circuit Breakers – Why Have They developed Special Features?

Air Circuit Breakers is essential in any industry or work place where there are high electrical loads and dangers. It keeps your high voltage power systems protected from overload and gives the protection against fire. You must have seen many electric shocks and fires caused by overloaded electrical circuits and appliances. Air Circuit Breakers is also termed as Circuit Interrupters. They are very useful in heavy duty electric motors, generators, DC motors, refrigerators, fans, pumps etc.

Air Circuit Breakers is available in two types namely; open circuit breaker and close circuit breaker. In both type they have certain additional features that help them in their work. Open circuit breaker (OCB) is basically a thin strip of metal situated between the hot plate and the load. Air Circuits is mainly used in low voltage applications for protecting high risk electrical loads and appliances like fryers and ovens from overload.


Close circuit breakers (CCB) are also available for use in heavy voltage applications. It consists of a flexible metallic diaphragm attached to the metal grounding strap that restrains the movement of the single-pole overload supply. These are generally available in single or double-sided varieties. The advantage of using CCBs is that it can be mounted on different locations for different purposes. It is used as an outdoor circuit breaker for preventing electricity overload at the doors and windows of homes and commercial buildings.


Air Circuits consists of some essential features that help them in their working. The working principle of air circuit breaker is based on physical laws. Air flows through a particular gap. As the current moves through the gap, the conductors get heated. This increases the voltage across the conductors and makes them work continuously by drawing down the temporary voltage. This temporary voltage is termed as the open wire current.


In some systems, it may also be possible that the open wire current may not match with the required system voltage. This will result in an incomplete circuit breaker operation. A temporary open circuit current occurs between the source of the supply terminal of the circuit breaker. This is known as the open arc chute air break breaker (OAC).


Another reason behind the intermittent operation of the Air Circuit Breakers is the wear and tear pattern of the contacts. The constant opening and closing of the contacts may lead to the excessive erosion of the contacts, which may cause short-circuits and overload. To ensure the fault-free functioning of the circuit breaker, it is important to maintain the contacts properly. Regularly clean the contacts with a soft cloth and replacement of worn out contacts should be done on a timely basis.


To ensure the proper functioning of the Air Circuit breaker, it is very important to check the total ampere rating and the ampere per pound rating of the circuit breakers. These values are provided in the instruction manual that comes along with the product. Circuit breakers having the maximum ampere rating is often used in the aviation sector. It should be noted that with the increase in the aircraft production, the ampere rating of the air blast circuit breaker also goes up.


With the increase in the ampere rating of the circuit breaker, it becomes necessary to increase the air blast gap. The increasing ampere per pound rating is provided for in the instruction manual along with the product. There are also many different types of air brake circuit breaker available in the market. One has to make sure that the right type of air break is purchased to avoid any damage to the electrical equipment.


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