Design and Experimental Tests of a Superconducting Hybrid DC Circuit Breaker

Xiaoze Pei, Oliver Cwikowski, Alexander C. Smith, Mike Barnes

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50 Citations (SciVal)
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Direct current (DC) circuit breakers are a key enabling technology for fault management in multiterminal high-voltage DC (HVDC) systems. DC fault isolation is challenging due to the high rate of rise of the fault current and the lack of natural current zero-crossings found in ac systems. In this paper, we present a novel superconducting hybrid dc circuit breaker that utilizes the intrinsic characteristics of the superconductor material. The automatic quench of the superconductor coil as a result of a high fault current transfers the current from the mechanical switch to the semiconductor switch. The isolating mechanical switch is able therefore to open at low current and recover its dielectric capability rapidly. A low voltage DC circuit breaker prototype has been built using a multistrand magnesium diboride (MgB 2) coil, a vacuum interrupter, and an insulated-gate bipolar transistor module. This prototype successfully demonstrated interruption of 500 A DC within 4.4 ms. This paper presents the design of the superconducting hybrid breaker prototype and a detailed analysis of the experimental results. This superconducting hybrid dc circuit breaker has significant potential for scaling up the high-voltage and high-current applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8258996
JournalIEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • DC circuit breaker
  • hybrid circuit breaker
  • magnesium diboride
  • mechanical switch
  • MgB2
  • semiconductor switch
  • superconducting coil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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