What Is an Air Breaker and How Do They Work?


Just as molded case circuit breakers, MCCB, air circuit breakers, ACB, is device that is in place to provide protection from an electrical surge or short-circuit.  The main difference is the amps they protect; ACB can withstand higher short circuit currents and mechanical stress because of the arc extinguisher element then MCCB can.  There are a variety of air circuit breakers and switching gears available to purchase.  Air circuit breakers have replaced oil circuit breakers because of their resiliency, performance, ease of installation, and low maintenance level. 

Three Types of Air Break Circuit Breaker

The three main types of air break circuit breakers include: plain break, magnetic blowout, and air chute.  Their main application is for use in maintaining indoor voltage and switch gears.

Plain Break

The simplest of all air circuit breakers is the plain brake.  Two horns shape the main point of contact.  This creates an arc that extends from the tip of one to the other. 

Magnetic Blowout

In higher voltage capacity’s, up to 11KV, magnetic blowout air circuit breakers are used.  The arc extension gets by the magnetic field that is made from the current in blowout coils.

Air Chute

Air chute air break circuit breakers have main contacts of copper and conduit which are in the closed position.  They are most often silver plated and have a low contact resistance.  The arching contacts are created from copper alloy and are resistant to heat and are solid. 

Air circuit breakers are most often used for controlling the power station auxiliaries and industrial plants.  They provide protection to electrical machinery such as transformers, capacitors, and generators.  Where ever there is a possibility of fire or explosion, air circuit breakers are most often installed.   They offer a higher resistance to power that allows an increase in the resistance of the arc by splitting, cooling, and lengthening.  The main drawback in air circuit breakers is that the arc chute principle is less efficient under low currents where electromagnetic fields are weak. 

J & P Electrical Company is a full-service electrical company that supplies contractors, end users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bud ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers.  More information can be found at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com



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