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Switch contact device for interrupting high current, high voltage, AC and DC circuits

United States Patent

January 4, 2005
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
A high voltage switch contact structure capable of interrupting high voltage, high current AC and DC circuits. The contact structure confines the arc created when contacts open to the thin area between two insulating surfaces in intimate contact. This forces the arc into the shape of a thin sheet which loses heat energy far more rapidly than an arc column having a circular cross-section. These high heat losses require a dramatic increase in the voltage required to maintain the arc, thus extinguishing it when the required voltage exceeds the available voltage. The arc extinguishing process with this invention is not dependent on the occurrence of a current zero crossing and, consequently, is capable of rapidly interrupting both AC and DC circuits. The contact structure achieves its high performance without the use of sulfur hexafluoride.
Via; Lester C. (Springfield, VA), Witherspoon; F. Douglas (Fairfax Station, VA), Ryan; John M. (Fairfax, VA)
Utron Inc. (Manassas, VA)
10/ 420,717
April 23, 2003
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE FG02-99ER52915 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.