Electric arc, what is it? How is it formed?

Do you know the origin of the electric arc? Perhaps many people don’t even know what an arc is. In this article we will talk about what an electric arc is, how it is formed and show what the NR 10 standard says about this subject. Also understand how the arc can be extremely dangerous for your life, come on guys!

Electric arc: What is it and how is it formed?

The electrical arc occurs when there is a dielectric break in which it produces an electrical discharge. The term electric arc is the most common, but it can also be called an arc or short circuit as it is popularly called. This phenomenon is so strong that it is able to break the insulation made by air, conducting electrons from one electrode to another through a current flow.

For the electric arc to happen we need to analyze two primary factors. The first is the type of gas and the second is pressure in place. When the experts observed this, they noticed that it is totally relevant to the characteristics of the electric arc. Therefore, the type of gas and the pressure in the place influence the brightness and temperature of that formed electric arc!

How is an electric arc formed?

Electric arc: What are its applications?

The glow generated by the electric arc is used for lighting in practically all houses, that is, they are present in the operation of various types of lamps. The electric arc is also important for several functions, check below a list with several examples of the application of the electric arc:

  • Arc lamps
  • Plasma cutting
  • Mercury and sodium vapor lamps
  • Welding
  • Fluorescent lamps
  • Plasma monitors
  • Oven
  • Film Projectors
  • Flash camera lamps
  • Neon signs
  • Spotlights

In case you don’t know the lamps work as follows! In a container that is usually made of glass, a vacuum is created that contains a gas, these factors favor the formation of electrical arcs. Another key factor is the pressure that in most lamps is unique at all times. With that, just insert a pressure controller to determine the result of the electric arc and obtain the different brightness intensities.

Some industries use an arc furnace which is equipment that has the function of employing an extremely high temperature, being able to melt metals quickly using less energy when compared to a conventional oven. This type of arc furnace is widely used in companies that work with scrap metal recovery.

And as has been said, another very common application of the electric arc is in the welding process. These welding equipment use a power source to electrify the metal rods that have an electrode, when we touch the electrode against another metal, the melting of both occur immediately because the heat generated by the electric arc is very high.

And when is the electric arc unwanted? Well, in these cases the electric arc can cause damage to the electrical energy transmission system and impair the functioning of electrical and electronic equipment. Electrical accidents are also considered to be unwanted electrical arcs, and in most cases, the victim ends up dying or having very serious consequences.

Electric arc: NR 10 recommendations

As we can see, the electric arc is an extremely dangerous phenomenon and due to its enormous power, several precautions must be taken. According to the NR 10 standard, carelessness and negligence when handling or designing the electric arc can cause serious accidents.

In item 10.2.9.2 of NR 10, all necessary care is described, especially regarding the appropriate clothing that must meet all applications, such as flammability, conductivity and even electromagnetic influences.

Professionals in the electrical world need to know all the risks and especially the ways of prevention! Therefore, all types of reading and updating on precautionary measures are valid and can be fundamental to offer more safety and save lives.

In this video below the Mundo da Elétrica channel you can see the formation of the electric arc at the exact moment when the dielectric strength is broken. If you want to know a little more about the topic, watch this video because it is very worth it!