Thermal fatigue of electrical fuses
MERSEN France SB SAS, 15 rue Jacques de Vaucanson, 69720 Saint-Bonnet de Mure, France
Electric Fuses have to respect different national or international standards such as IEC (International Electro-technical Commission) 269. These standards define the characteristics of the fuses and describe the tests to be run in order to check fuse's ability to take up their main functions, i.e. current-conduction and operation under overloads and short-circuits. But fuses never carry current neither operate under standardized conditions. For example, rated current is evaluated under specified ambient temperature, without cooling air-flow, and with 1 meter-long connection-cables on both sides. In the field, temperature can reach up 80∘C, with or without air-flow and connection-parts are much more shorter. An issue is that current is never constant, often being cyclingly applied; equipments are frequently in use during the day and stopped in the night. ON-time and OFF-time generate alternative heating, then alternative stresses leading to thermal fatigue. MERSEN run many tests along the years, allowing to develop a method for choosing right fuses for each application. As a result, fuses don't melt unexpectedly in the field, but the method is supposed to be conservative and does not permit to get a better understanding of the phenomena neither an improvement of the products. The paper presents some specific ageing-tests run on conductive elements and tries to establish a correspondence between these tests and others carried out on complete fuses. Tests have been run on silver and copper, but their principle could be interesting for any structural material, especially because it underlines crack-opening.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
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