Understanding Arc Flash

An arc flash is a short circuit that flashes from one exposed live conductor to another, or to the ground resulting in electrical discharge that uses the air as a conductor. This process causes air to be ionized which results in the air being almost as conductive as metal.


Arc flashes are usually confined to electrical systems more than 480 volts, components like Low Voltage Switch Gear, switches, conductor termination, fuses, circuit breakers, relay contacts, phase bus bars and the likes which can become faulty when contaminated by moisture, dust, corrosion or accidental contact when tools are dropped.


The rapid release of energy causes an outward exploding fireball, the heat can cause incurable burns, the light is blinding, the shock or pressure wave itself can be deadly much like being hit in the chest with a hammer. Furthermore the sound wave is damaging to the ears, and with the sudden spray of molten metal drops and hot shrapnel flying in all directions more injuries can be incurred.



It is important to know the risk involved when entering certain areas or doing certain work where arc flash can occur. It is important to be protected against arc flash so as to decrease the risk of getting injured

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