To main content

Current interruption performance of ultrahigh-pressure nitrogen arc


In this paper, the influence of gas filling pressure on the current interruption performance of different switch configurations with electric arcs burning in nitrogen has been experimentally investigated. A synthetic circuit generating a current of 130 A at 190 Hz is used and the initial rate of rise of recovery voltage just after current zero is varied from 9.8 V/µs to 84.9 V/µs. To evaluate the effect of forced gas flow on current interruption performance, three different test arrangements are investigated: a simple contact configuration with a free-burning arc, a contact and a cylindrical nozzle setup (tube-constricted arc), and finally a self-blast arrangement where the arc is cooled by a gas flow near current zero. In each arrangement, three different filling pressures are mainly studied: 1, 20, and 40 bar, the latter being in the supercritical region. In all cases, the interelectrode gap is fixed at 50 mm. It is observed that the interruption performance deteriorates with increased filling pressure in the absence of forced gas flow. A higher post-arc current is observed for the arcs burning at high filling pressures (i.e. 20 and 40 bar) compared to at atmospheric pressure in cases with no or little forced cooling. On the other hand, a forced gas flow near the current zero reduces the post-arc current and improves the interruption performance also at high filling pressures. Little effect of the supercritical state on the interruption performance of nitrogen is observed. Under the above-mentioned test conditions, the majority of the failures at high filling pressure are observed to be of thermal re-ignition type. © 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.
Read publication


Academic article


  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 280539





  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Energy Research / Elkraftteknologi



Published in

Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics




IOP Publishing





View this publication at Cristin