Breaking arc in dielectric liquids

Kazuo Bekki, Taro Yamamoto, Koichiro Sawa

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to report the effect of dielectric liquids on breaking arc phenomena in detail. The experiments were carried out for Cu vs. Cu electrodes in several kinds of dielectric liquids such as distilled water, methanol, n-hexane, and gasoline. The following can be obtained as findings in the switching tests with an inductive circuit (L=20mH, load current=0.5-1.2A). It was found that the dielectric constant of liquids affected the arc discharge types. In distilled water and methanol (which have high dielectric constant) showering arc was observed under the test conditions. On the other hand, in n-hexane and gasoline (which have low dielectric constant) steady arc occurred like in air. The relation between dielectric constant and arc discharge types is discussed with a simplified model. Also, surface morphology was dependent on liquids. The contact surfaces in n-hexane and gasoline were smoother than those in distilled water and methanol, and much smoother than those in air with the same breaking current. It is considered to be due to the carbon (or carbonaceous material) covering the contact surfaces observed by the EPMA analyses. Furthermore, contact resistance in n-hexane and gasoline stay low during the test, 105 of operation number.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-261
Number of pages10
JournalElectrical Contacts, Proceedings of the Annual Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1996 42nd IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts Joint with the 18th International Conference on Electrical Contacts - Chicago, IL, USA
Duration: 1996 Sep 161996 Sep 20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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