Experimental Tests of a Resistive SFCL Integrated with a Vacuum Interrupter

X. Pei, A. C. Smith, R. Shuttleworth

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A resistive superconducting fault-current limiter (SFCL) has been developed using round magnesium diboride (MgB2) wire. The SFCL coil was wound using an interleaved coil arrangement to minimize the total coil inductance. The SFCL coil demonstrated reliable and repeatable current-limiting properties during testing. However, the wire temperature of the SFCL coil increases quickly during quench tests, and several minutes are required for temperature recovery after the fault is cleared. The SFCL coil therefore was fully integrated with a vacuum interrupter to quickly remove the SFCL coil from the circuit once a fault occurred. This allowed the SFCL coil to recover quickly while a bypass resistor acted as the current limiting resistance. A fast-acting actuator and its control circuit were designed and built to provide automatic control for the operation of the vacuum interrupter. The SFCL with the prototype vacuum interrupter was successfully tested. The energy dissipated in the SFCL coil was significantly reduced by integrating the vacuum interrupter. The fault tests with different potential fault currents also proved that the operation of the vacuum interrupter is independent of the fault current level. This prototype demonstrated the potential of a cost-effective and compact integrated SFCL and vacuum interrupter for power system applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7422757
JournalIEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Magnesium diboride
  • Superconducting fault current limiter
  • Vacuum interrupter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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