What is Circuit Breaker?

23th Jun 2021

Often on rainy days, lighting causes harm to us. Whether it is direct striking on the antenna or the mainboard. In both cases, serious hampering of the electrical machines may happen. Having such a high loss is not expected.

The step that was taken some years ago was to close the main circuit board and cut the supply. So it wouldn't hamper any electrical machines as the connection was detached. But in your absence who will protect your home? That's why they need for an automated device was required. A circuit breaker is the perfect example of it. Let's see what it is and how it works.

Definition of Circuit Breaker

The mechanism of the circuit breaker is designed in a manner that for a sudden electrical load or for a faulty current, it will break the connection with the main circuit board. It simply prevents the electric machines from high voltages. It controls the opening and closing of the connection to the mainboard.

How Many Types of Circuit Breakers are There?

Circuit breakers are of two categories mainly. Those are high-rated circuit breakers and low-rated circuit breakers.

High-rated circuit breakers are those which can tolerate more than 1000 voltages. Like lighting. Lightings carry millions of voltages.

Low-rated circuit breakers are of less than 1000 voltages. These are generally enough to bear short circuit issues. However, a high-rated circuit breaker can control everything properly.

Apart from these names, there are some types of circuit breakers available. A detailed discussion on those parts is given below.

1. Oil Circuit Breaker

An oil circuit breaker is the best example of arc extinction. Here oil is being used as the dielectric medium. When excessive voltage passes through the electrode, then it goes into the oil. The heat generated due to high voltage will be served into the oil. Thus the heat will be evaporated and your machines will be saved.

Oil has many benefits. Such as it has the power of a high diffusion rate. When the hydrogen is formed it will be taken down instantly. Oil is used because it has high cooling properties along with insulating properties. It is a dielectric medium as well. So the oil is playing its role as the best clearance between earth and conductors.

There are some negative effects too. Like due to the burning of oil, carbon particles will be generated. Carbon is highly effective for human health and that's why it is better to ignore these in households. Sometimes, the oil in the arc gets heated and causes hazardous explosions if air touches it. Making it perfectly air-sealed is important. But after a certain time leakage can be found.

2. Sulphur Hexafluoride Circuit Breaker

Sulfur Hexafluoride can be used as a dielectric medium. It is used because of its high pressure-taking capability which makes it an ideal dielectric. This chemical compound has similar properties to oil but doesn't cause serious harm like oil. No puffer piston, single puffer piston, and double puffer piston circuit breaker are three types of SF6 circuit breaker.

It has many benefits. Like it is a great insulator. It can detach the electrodes instantly when the high voltage is being sensed by it. As it is nonflammable and saturated, that's why you can have an upper hand on this compound. It won't let any explosion like oil.

It is a good dielectric and that's why the electric clearance is decreased. After burning the product, there are no carbon elements generated. So, it is safe from pollution. In the end, it is very cheap in price, easy to install, and needs less maintenance.

There are some limitations to this device. It is true that no high maintenance is required to control it but some small maintenance is needed within time to last it longer. A dry environment will be best for it. Humidity is deadly to this chemical. It can create hollow failures.

3. Vacuum Circuit Breaker

Have you ever wondered what happened to high voltages in space? Has it affected any of the planets? If yes then why isn't earth responding to such situations? The answer is simple. Because the medium is a vacuum. A vacuum or airless place can be used in various ways and creating Circuit Breaker is one way. When high voltage is dropped on it, the fixed and movable electrodes are being opened. Then the rest of the task is done by the vacuum itself. Generally 11Kv to 33 kV is being maintained by Vacuum Circuit Breaker.

As it doesn't run on any chemical or oil, so no refilling pressure is there. It will last for the whole life if no other problems occur. After one shot, it takes very little time to recover. The system of the vacuum circuit breaker is very simple and not problematic. It can be used and installed anywhere with any orientation. It is very cheap and lasts a long time. So, simply it is the most effective circuit breaker.

It needs a part called a suppressor. For the low magnetizing current, it needs a suppressor which is very rare. Nowadays it is easily available but depends on the market where you live. Again very high technology is being used on this circuit. So, not having proper knowledge while repairing it can hamper the whole device. As it is air-sealed, it must be protected from any leakage.


Circuit breakers have helped a lot of lives and a lot of money till now. Firstly it was too costly and used to it only industrial places were applying these. But now the time has changed and lots of easy-to-handle devices have been released.

So, it is recommended to you to use a circuit breaker in your home to keep yourself safe. Apart from these three, there are lots of circuit breakers available in the market. You should select the one according to your priority. Miniature circuit breakers or MCB are being used most of the time in households.


Introduction: Miniature Circuit Breaker, (MCB), How does it work?

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