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Electrical Arcs | White Paper

Those of us who have worked with, or around, electrical equipment have witnessed electrical arcs. At the very least, we’ve seen the sparks produced when a relay or contactor switches off. This is easily observed by watching a motor starter with open contacts. When the motor turns on, the contacts close in a fairly uneventful fashion. However, when the contacts open, there is a bright, momentary arc produced which is visible to the naked eye. Similarly, most of us also know that repetitive arcing can be very damaging to contacts over the long term, requiring periodic replacement of relays or their contacts.

White Paper - Electrical ArcsAutomationDirect announces the release of a new White Paper, “Electrical Arcs”, that explains how arcing develops, the dangers of electrical arcs and various means of arc suppression. Common causes of electrical arcs include misapplication of components and dirt buildup. Over time, dirt builds up on electrical components, causing standoff voltages to decrease until an arc initiates. Then, either the arc energy blows the built-up dirt away and the component returns to normal operation, or the dirt burns, creating a carbon path on the insulating surfaces of the component(s), thereby permanently reducing the stand-off voltage. This reduction in stand-off voltage promotes more arcing, which causes more damage rapidly forming a run-away situation.

Electrical arcs not only present a hazard to equipment, but to personnel. This White Paper provides detailed information on how arcing happens and the various steps you can take for providing arc suppression.

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About AutomationDirect:

In business since 1994, AutomationDirect is a distributor offering thousands of industrial automation products for electrical control systems, including PLCs, operator interfaces, AC drives, motors, stepper systems, sensors, motor control, enclosures and more. Their prices are typically well below the list price of more traditional automation companies because of their model and focus on efficiency and the majority of their products are stocked for same-day shipping. Plus, get free two-day delivery on orders over $49; some limitations apply. For more information, contact them at 800-633-0405 or visit

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