Abstract

The performance of high voltage gas circuit breakers depends on the temperature distribution of hot gas or plasma from the arc zone mixed with cold gas that is present, for example, in the exhausts and mixing volume. Understanding the details of the mixing process is imperative to estimate the temperature distribution within the entire breaker volume. Design studies rely on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to search for the best way to achieve satisfactory mixing. One key uncertainty in the CFD simulations is the role of turbulence in this process and how to properly account for it. To gain knowledge of the mixing process between hot and cold gases, we have constructed a simplified breaker geometry that is flexible and accessible to diagnostics. Apart from standard measurements of current and arc voltage, we measure pressure in the arc zone and the mixing volume. Further, the mixing volume is specially designed to be transparent, allowing us to make shadowgraphy measurements of the turbulent mixing during and after the arcing phase. We report on experiments performed in air at atmospheric pressure.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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