29 July 2004 Smart circuit breakers for high-power applications
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A root cause of this inability of USS Cole incident to recover usable portions of its electrical power systems in a timely fashion was due to manual reset requirements of its electrical switching gear. Much of the damage was caused by the arcing or gapping of switch-gear components initiating ship-wide equipment outages and losses. QorTek has developed an entirely new generation 0.5-msec reset or interrupt high power switches that completely eliminate gapping and arcing based upon smart composite materials. Originally developed by Dupont, these composite materials have the ability to change their conductance by 8-10 orders of magnitude as function of applied pressure. Dependent upon materials selection, particulate density, geometry, compliance, such materials can be tailored to vary resistance from 0.1Ω to 10MΩ. QorTek fabricates such smart composite switches with 6.75KVA continuous and 70KVA peak power handling capabilities that require 125psi switching and 50psi hold. Until now, a major challenge has been how to enable such variably applied loads. The main part of this presentation will focus on the new concept of super magnetic (e.g. NdFeB) induced percolation crossing of this family of variably conductive "smart" composite materials. The use of super magnets to load the metallic loaded composites has a further advantage of fully enabling ultrafast remote switching, automatic shut-off in presence of high current rate onset, and remote interrogation of system state. These will be available in compact packaging suitable for integration in future Navy and Aircraft systems.
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Gareth J. Knowles, Gareth J. Knowles, Michael Starsinic, Michael Starsinic, } "Smart circuit breakers for high-power applications", Proc. SPIE 5388, Smart Structures and Materials 2004: Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies, (29 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.546335; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.546335

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