ARC FLASH DETECTION THROUGH VOLTAGE/CURRENT SIGNATURES
Arc Flash events occur due to faults in electrical equipment combined with a significant release of energy across an electrical arc. Due to the large energy release, plasma is generated, pressures increase, and the plasma expands. Under these conditions the plasma becomes excited enough to liquefy metal causing physical damage to equipment and any humans in the vicinity. This thesis investigates the state of art for detection of arc flash events and investigates a method of improving detection reliability, and speed by monitoring the high frequency voltage / current patterns utilizing methods similar to arc flash circuit interrupters (AFCI). A second alternative detection approach is determined through analysis of the physics of plasma development. The current state of art is based upon light detection. However this thesis experimentally investigates what happens before the arc event emits visible light. The results show that current flows to ground during an arc event slightly prior to the production of light. Further it shows through analysis of the physics of plasma that a high speed plasma detector has the potential to identify an arc event before the presence of visible light. Through the design and construction of experimental test setups, and physics analysis, this thesis provides new paths for detecting arc events that present opportunities to improve detection time.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentElectrical and Computer Engineering
CommitteeBolton, Ron J.; Simonson, Carey J.; Dodds, David E.
Copyright DateAugust 2012
Plasma Signature Detection
Direct Plasma Detection