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# IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE, VOL. 25, NO.

5, OCTOBER 1997

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## Mathematical Modeling of SF Puffer Circuit Breakers II: Current Zero Region

K. Y. Park, X. J. Guo, R. E. Blundell, Michael T. C. Fang, and Y. J. Shin
Abstract A mathematical model of arc behavior in an SF6 puffer gas-blast circuit breaker in the high current phase was reported in a previous paper [1]. This model is extended to the current zero region by solving the full partial differential arc conservation equations taking account of both turbulent and radiation effects. The critical RRRV for the breaker can therefore be calculated based on the whole arcing history. The predicted values are compared with the experimental results of Noeske et al. [2], and good agreement is found providing that the free parameter in the turbulence model is set appropriately. Results for temperature, electric eld, and velocity are also presented and analyzed. Index Terms Arc model, current zero region, puffer circuit breaker.

I. INTRODUCTION F the thermal interruption capability of an SF puffer circuit breaker can be predicted with an acceptable range of accuracy in an engineering sense, it would be of great use to circuit breaker designers. Much effort has been made to develop an arc model which can predict the thermal interruption capability of puffer-type circuit breakers. However, success has been limited. At the simplest level, black box models based on ad hoc assumptions and with many free parameters [3] have been widely used. These models have been applied with some success to air breakers where, with the aid of extensive short circuit test results, limited prediction of arc properties and network interaction are possible. However, they fail to predict the performance of the SF breakers now used almost exclusively in extra-high-voltage power transmission systems. Numerical solutions of the full partial differential conservation equations governing arc behavior, hereafter referred to as the differential method, have been obtained [4][8]. The interruption of an arc burning in a supersonic nozzle depends mainly on the current-zero period of arcing, and in many instances a quasi-steady state may be assumed at the beginning of the current-zero period for the arc in order to obtain an initial condition for the differential calculation. However, for puffer-type circuit breakers, the ow at current zero depends on the whole arcing history. The pressure in the compression chamber not only depends upon the mechanical driving system but also on the arcing history. Thus, arc modeling for pufferManuscript received December 13, 1996; revised March 10, 1997. K. Y. Park and Y. J. Shin are with the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute, Changwon 641-600, Republic of Korea (e-mail: kypark@keri.re.kr). X. J. Guo, R. E. Blundell, and M. T. C. Fang are with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, U.K. Publisher Item Identier S 0093-3813(97)07715-1.

type circuit breakers must consider the whole arcing period. The task of solving the arc conservation equations in full differential form for the whole arcing period is extremely difcult and is probably not practical in computational terms. Moreover, some phenomena which often occur inside the interrupter, such as nozzle ablation and electrode melting, are very complicated and are not easily dened mathematically within the frame of the differential method. The integral method, blending formal analysis and empiricism, has been developed to overcome the difculties associated with the black-box approach and the full differential approach. An integral method which takes into account the effects of nozzle inner wall ablation and the piston movement has been successfully developed for currents above 1 kA [1]. During the current zero period, the shapes of radial proles of temperature and axial velocity are critically dependent on the discharge conditions. In general, they cannot be determined by one parameter (e.g., the dynamic power loss). Pressure, current and the properties of arc quenching gas signicantly affect the shapes of radial proles of temperature and axial velocity. The shape of radial temperature prole becomes more important during current zero period since the temperature is relatively low and the electrical conductivity is then very sensitive to temperature. In order to establish a satisfactory integral arc model which is applicable to a wide range of discharge conditions, the information represented in the shape factors is vital. However, it is extremely difcult to obtain a single shape factor correlation parameter which reects precisely the complicated and rapidly changing arc behavior during current zero period. Thus, it is believed that the differential method is more suited for the prediction of arc current zero behavior. In this paper, a so-called hybrid method, which combines the advantages of the integral and differential method, is introduced. Principally, the integral method is adopted for the high current period, and the differential method for the current zero period. Computation using an integral method is conducted up to a certain current (1 kA) before current zero, then switched over to the differential method. The external ow conditions required by the differential method are obtained from the integral method at this instant and assumed to remain xed. Results from the integral method show that this is a good approximation for the short current-zero period. The current at which the changeover to the differential method takes place (in this case 1000 A) is chosen so that any further increase of this current does not signicantly affect the results. If the changeover current becomes smaller, the validity of the calculated results from the integral method will be lowered due

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## TABLE I CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN SYMBOLS

AND

PHYSICAL QUANTITIES

r = radial coordinate u = radial velocity z = axial coordinate ho = total enthalpy w = axial velocity  = density p = pressure t = time coordinate  = electrical conductivity E = electric eld  = viscosity I = current cp = specic heat at constant pressure k = thermal conductivity T = turbulent viscosity kT = turbulent thermal conductivity q = net radiation loss per unit volume and time

to the inherent drawback of integral method in the current zero period which was explained in detail above. At the instant of switching to the differential method, temperature and velocity elds are required as initial conditions. The integral method cannot provide these initial conditions. Although the ow conditions at current zero depend on the peak current, the pressure distribution within the interrupter hardly changes in the last 50 s before current zero. During this period, the arc responds sufciently quickly to the imposed ow that the initial temperature and velocity elds required for the calculation may be taken as those of a dc 1000-A arc with the same pressure distribution. II. THE GOVERNING EQUATIONS AND THE NUMERICAL METHODS The integral method used in this paper has been described in detail in [1]. For the differential method, the time averaged conservation equations for an axisymmetric turbulent arc [8] assuming LTE have been adopted. They are (1a)

Fig. 1. A schematic diagram showing how the net radiation absorption per unit volume and time is calculated when q < 0. The constants a and b used to determine r1 and r2 are taken to be 0.83 and 0.5, respectively, and r0 = (r1 + r2 )=2. The calculation of qmin is described in the text.

(1b)

(1c)

(1d) The symbols used above correspond to physical quantities as shown in Table I. The Prandtl mixing length model has been found to be satisfactory in predicting turbulent arc behavior [8] and has therefore been adopted. The turbulent contribution to viscosity is given by (2) where is a length scale for turbulent momentum transport dened by where is a constant. is a characteristic length scale of the arc taken as the thermal radius of the arc dened by where the thermal area is dened by where the subscript denotes the

region outside the arc thermal inuence region. The turbulent thermal conductivity is related to the turbulent viscosity by the turbulent Prandtl number, which for simplicity is taken to be unity. Numerical studies of circuit breaker arcs show that this simple turbulence model reproduces the available is adjusted to t experimental results when the value of a single experimental test result [8]. Energy transport by radiation within the arc is highly complex [9] although its effects are negligible when the axis temperature is below 12 000 K. Continuum emission and line emission dominated by a few hundred lines which are neither optically thick nor thin are signicant from infrared to vacuum ultraviolet frequencies. The effects of self-absorption are important throughout the arc, but especially near the edge of the arc where temperature decreases rapidly. Despite these complexities, agreement between theory and experiment has been achieved using a semiempirical radiation transport model [4], [8]. A complete treatment of radiation transport is therefore not necessary. For this study, the radiation model of Zhang et al. [4] has been adopted (see Fig. 1). In the arc core, dened by where is the axis temperature and is an empirically determined constant, the net radiation loss per unit volume and time is taken to be a function and where is the 4000 K isotherm. of gives good agreement between The choice of measured and calculated temperature proles [4], [8]. Detailed radiation transport calculations have been used to determine this function for SF [9] arcs. (see Fig. 1), In the reabsorption region where is negative, approximately 80% of the radiation ux from the core edge, dened as the radiation position at which

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## Fig. 2. The geometries of G-005 nozzle and a gas-blasted arc.

Fig. 3. Axial distribution of the pressure at I = 1000 A calculated using the integral method for a peakcurrent of 25 kArms.

Fig. 4. Axial temperature distributions before current zero. Stagnation pressure = 27:9 bar, di=dt = 20 A/s, peak current = 25 kArms. The instantaneous currents associated with each curve from top to bottom are 1000 A, 513 A, 189 A, 97 A, 18 A, and 0.06 A.

, is reabsorbed; the remainder escapes from the is calculated in this region. arc [4]. Fig. 1 shows how is usually taken to be about 1/2. is The constant determined by integrating over the core region to determine the radiation ux from the core edge and requiring 80% to be reabsorbed. An implicit, nite volume numerical scheme has been used for the solution of the governing equations. A nonuniform radial grid system has been adopted to deal with the large variation of radial temperature gradients. The discretization in the axial direction and in time is chosen to ensure ac-

curate results while keeping the computational requirement reasonable. The thermodynamic and transport properties are functions of temperature and pressure and are taken from Frost and Liebermann [10]. The radial boundary conditions for the governing equations are (3) (4)

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## IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE, VOL. 25, NO. 5, OCTOBER 1997

Fig. 5. Axial temperature distributions before current zero. Stagnation pressure = 21:5 bar, di=dt = 20 A/s, peak current = 20:5 kArms. The instantaneous currents associated with each curve from top to bottom are 1000 A, 513 A, 189 A, 97 A, 18 A, and 0.06 A.

Fig. 6. Electric eld distributions before current zero. Stagnation pressure = 27:9 bar, di=dt = 20 A/s, peak current = 25 kArms. The instantaneous currents associated with each curve from top to bottom are 1000 A (diamonds), 513 A (pluses), 189 A (squares), 97 A (crosses), 18 A (triangles), and 0.06 A (crossed-squares).

and in the axial direction are (5) where subscript denotes the quantity at the nozzle entrance. For the axial boundary conditions, it is assumed that a ow stagnation point exists near the nozzle entrance. The ow stagnation point occurs at the upstream electrode tip. The pressure distribution in this region ensures a section of the arc which is axially uniform (i.e., self-similar arc [4]). The equations describing a transient self-similar arc are solved to provide the required axial boundary conditions. It is known that the inuence of the upstream boundary conditions is restricted to a small region near the upstream electrode [4]. The axial distributions of enthalpy, velocity, and pressure are obtained from the integral method at the instant when current reaches 1000 A. III. RESULTS
AND

related to the integral method can be found in [1]. Thus, in this paper, attention will be paid to the results from the differential method. The discussion of the arc behavior in the current zero period can be conveniently divided into two phases: before and after current zero. The governing equations are solved for a linear current ramp of 20 A/ s before current zero and a linear voltage ramp after current zero. The turbulence parameter has been adjusted to obtain good agreement of the critical RRRV between the calculated and the experimental results. It was found that the RRRV was very sensitive to the value of . For the nozzle geometry of this investigation, the value has been used. A. Arc Behavior Before Current Zero The axial distributions of axis temperature, electric eld and arc radius at different currents before current zero are shown in Figs. 48. The arc radius corresponds to the 4000 K isotherm at which electrical conductivity becomes virtually zero. The axial distributions of axis temperature, arc thermal radius and arc radius decrease monotonically with time. The axis temperature distribution close to current zero (e.g., 0.06 A) shows a rapid decrease due to the strong effect of axial convection from around 0.01 m where the parallel section of the nozzle throat starts. The minimum point of the axis temperature occurs around 0.03 m where the parallel section of the nozzle throat ends. The relatively lower axis temperature of downstream region compared with that of upstream region

DISCUSSION

The computation has been carried out for a half-cycle of a sinusoidal current waveform with a peak currents of 25 kArms and 20.5 kArms for the G-005 nozzle of the G.E. model puffer breaker [2] (refer to Fig. 2 for the geometries of G-005 nozzle and a gas-blasted arc). Synthetic testing was used to give a current ramp of A/ s at current zero. A for the 25 The axial distribution of pressure at kArms case is shown in Fig. 3, where the stagnation pressure is 27.9 bar at the nozzle entrance. The results and discussions

## PARK et al.: MATHEMATICAL MODELING OF SF6 PUFFER CIRCUIT BREAKERS

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Fig. 7. Electric eld distributions before current zero. Stagnation pressure = 21:5 bar, di=dt = 20 A/s, peak current = 20:5 kArms. The correspondence between the symbols and the current is the same as that in Fig. 6.

Fig. 8. Arc radius distributions dened by the 4000 K isotherm before current zero. Stagnation pressure = 27:9 bar, di=dt = 20 A/s, peak current = 25 kArms. The instantaneous currents associated with each curve from top to bottom are 1000 A, 513 A, 189 A, 97 A, 18 A, and 0.06 A.

is due to the strong effects of turbulence. The maximum electric eld strength occurs in the nozzle throat region near downstream close to current zero but is further upstream at earlier times. The electric eld is determined by (1d). For a given value of current, it is a function of the total conductance which can be obtained by integrating the arc conductance from the axis to the arc radius. Thus it is signicantly inuenced by the radial temperature prole, especially by the axis temperature and the arc radius. The double peaks in the electric eld curves in Figs. 6 and 7 are reecting the nozzle shape which in this case has relatively long nozzle throat area. The peaks move to the downstream region as current approaches zero. It is due to the enhanced turbulent effect in that region in case of smaller current. The computed radial temperature prole at current zero at cm is shown in Fig. 9. Unfortunately, there are no available experimental measurements of temperature proles for this case for comparison. However, the general features in Fig. 9 agree well with other computed or measured temperature proles for SF arc [8], [11], [12]. B. Arc Behavior After Current Zero With the turbulent parameter set at 0.049, a critical RRRV of 3.7 kV/ s was obtained for the peak current of 25 kArms (refer to Fig. 10) and a value of 3.5 kV/ s for 20.5 kArms. This agrees within experimental errors with the measurements of Noeske et al. [2]. Their results for the critical RRRV were 3.7 kV/ s at a peak current of 27 kArms and kV/ s

at a peak current of 17 kArms. Since before current zero and the arcing duration are the same for both cases, the difference in the critical RRRV is entirely due to the effects of the peak current. For the 20.5-kArms case, the pressure at the nozzle inlet at current zero is 21.5 bar, which is 6.4 bar lower than that of the 25 kArms case. Arc clogging and the severity and direction in which reverse ow is generated due to ablation are critically dependent on the peak current. This explains why for a given before current zero, the critical RRRV is higher for the higher peak current. The critical RRRV mainly depends on the pressure rise in the puffer cylinder which again depends on the peak current, the quantity of ablated material, and the nozzle geometryespecially nozzle diameter (usually the nozzle diameter increases due to the ablation caused by severe arc if the number of tests increases). The quantity of ablated material and the increase of nozzle diameter are inuenced by the nozzle material. Thus, the nozzle material has a signicant effect on the critical RRRV. A plot of the postarc current against time for the 25-kArms peak current for RRRVs of 3.6 kV/ s and 3.8 kV/ s is shown in Fig. 10. Temperature proles in the postarc period are shown in Figs. 11 and 12, corresponding to RRRVs of 3.6 and 3.8 kV/ s. In both cases, the conducting core of the arc is extremely narrow and is surrounded by a wide thermal region. For the lower RRRV, the arc is extinguished and the temperature falls monotonically with time. For the higher RRRV, the arc reignites. The axis temperatures increase as shown by the proles in Fig. 12, but only well after the

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## IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE, VOL. 25, NO. 5, OCTOBER 1997

Fig. 9. Arc radial temperature distributions before current zero at z = 2:6 cm. Stagnation pressure = 27:9 bar, di=dt = 20 A/s. The instantaneous currents associated with each curve from top to bottom are 1000 A, 513 A, 189 A, 97 A, 18 A, and 0.06 A.

Fig. 11. Radial distribution of temperature in the postarc period at z = 2:6 cm with a RRRV of 3.6 kV/s. The curves are I = 0:12 A (diamonds), I = 0:22 A (pluses), and I = 0:32 A (squares) for both increasing (upper curves) and decreasing currents (lower curves). The axis temperature decreases monotonically with time.

Fig. 10. Postarc current as a function of time for RRRVs of 3.6 kV/s (diamonds) and 3.8 kV/s (pluses).

Fig. 12. Radial distribution of temperature in the postarc period at z = 2:6 cm with a RRRV of 3.8 kV/s. The curves are I = 0:3 A (diamonds), I = 0:4 A (pluses), I = 0:5 A (squares), I = 1:0 A (crosses), I = 2:0 A (triangles), and I = 3:0 A (stars) for increasing current after the minimum.

## PARK et al.: MATHEMATICAL MODELING OF SF6 PUFFER CIRCUIT BREAKERS

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minimum in the current has been reached. Due to the small changes in the temperature prole, the thermal radius of the arc also changes only slightly after current zero. IV. CONCLUSION Arc behavior in the model puffer breaker of Noeske et al. [2] has been investigated with the hybrid method which combines the integral method and the differential method. The axial distributions of the axis temperature, electric eld, arc thermal radius and arc radius before current zero, and the radial temperature proles before and after current zero have been obtained and analyzed. The calculated critical RRRV for peak currents of 20.5 and 25 kArms agree within experimental error with the measured values [2]. Although experimental results over a wider range of peak currents exist, those at a lower peak current involve a shock in the ow which the present theory is unable to account for. The ow resulting from a shock is fundamentally two dimensional in character so it cannot be treated by an integral theory. The arc behavior at current zero and the thermal interruption capability are critically dependent on the magnitude of peak current in the case of SF puffer circuit breakers. It is believed that the hybrid arc model is very promising as, in contrast with the integral or differential approaches alone, the whole arcing period is taken into account at an affordable computational cost. REFERENCES
[1] K. Y. Park and M. T. C. Fang, Mathe matical modeling of SF6 puffer circuit breakers I: High current region, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. 24, pp. 490502, 1996. [2] H. O. Noeske, D. M. Benenson, G. Frind, K. Hirasawa, R. E. Kinisinger, H. T. Nagamatsu, R. E. Sheer, and Y. Yoshioka, Application of arcinterruption fundamentals to nozzles for puffer interrupters, Electric Power Res. Inst., CA, Rep. EL-3293, 1983. [3] CIGRE WG 1301, Applications of black box modeling to circuit breakers, 1992. [4] J. F. Zhang, M. T. C. Fang, and D. B. Newland, Theoretical investigation of a 2 kA DC nitrogen arc in a supersonic nozzle, J. Phys. D, vol. 20, no. 3, p. 368, 1987. [5] J. F. Zhang and M. T. C. Fang, Dynamic behavior of high-pressure arcs near the ow stag nation point, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. 17, p. 524, 1989. [6] A. Gleizes, M. Mitiche, and P. Vandoan, Study of a circuit-breaker arc with self-generated ow, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. 19, p. 12, 1991. [7] M. T. C. Fang and Q. Zhuang, Current-zero behavior of an SF6 gas-blast arc. 1. Laminar ow, J. Phys. D, vol. 25, p. 1197, 1992. [8] M. T. C. Fang, Q. Zhuang, and X. J. Guo, Current-zero behavior of an SF6 gas-blast arc. 2. Turbulent ow, J. Phys. D, vol. 27, p. 74, 1994. [9] R. W. Libermann and J. J. Lowke, Radiation emission coefcients for sulfur hexauoride, JQSRT, vol. 16, pp. 253264, 1975.

[10] L. S. Frost and R. W. Liebermann, Properties of SF6 and their use in a simplied enthalpy ow model, Proc. IEEE, vol. 59, pp. 474485, 1971. [11] D. R. Airey, P. H. Richards, and J. Swift, Time-resolved radial temperature proles for 10 kA SF6 arc, J. Appl. Phys., vol. 46, pp. 33613367, 1975. [12] D. Leseberg and G. Pietsch, Optical investigation on a SF6 switching arc inside a glass nozzle, in Proc. Int. Conf. Gas Discharges Appl., London, 1982.

K. Y. Park received the B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Seoul National University, Korea, in 1979, the M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from UMIST, U.K., in 1989, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Liverpool, U.K., in 1993. Since 1981, he has been engaged in the experiment and research of power circuit breakers in KERI (Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute). He is currently interested in the interruption phenomena and arc modeling of gas circuit breakers.

X. J. Guo received the B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Electronic Science and Technology, China in 1983 and 1988, respectively. From 1988 to 1991, she was a Research Engineer at Beijing Institute of Electronics System Engineering, China. Between 1991 and 1994, she was engaged in the research of arc modeling as a Research Fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, the University of Liverpool, U.K. Her research interests include computational uid dynamics, electromagnetic eld calculation, and parallel computing.

## R. E. Blundell, for a photograph and biography, see this issue, p. 859.

Michael T. C. Fang, for a photograph and biography, see this issue, p. 808.

Y. J. Shin received the B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Seoul National University, Korea, in 1979, the M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Union College, Schenectady, NY, in 1982, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, in 1991. Since 1979, he has been engaged in the experiment and research of power circuit breakers at KERI (Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute). He is currently interested in the research on the current interruption phenomena and the development of interrupters for gas circuit breakers.