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$6.5-million study aims to reduce dangers of electrical equipment

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is working with the National Fire Protection Associati...


The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is working with the National Fire Protection Association in the U.S. to investigate what is known as the “arc-flash phenomenon.” The phenomenon injures an estimated 2,000 people every year who work with electrical equipment.
According to the IEEE, an arc flash occurs when the insulation or isolation between electrified conductors cannot withstand the voltage between them and an electric current arcs from one conductor to the next or from a conductor to ground. The seemingly instantaneous flash can be accompanied by a “thunderous blast,” and “can cause concussion, blindness, deafness, and severe damage to the lungs, skin, and other tissue of anyone near the equipment.”
The project to carry out the research will involve 2,000 tests in laboratories around the world. It will take over three years and will cost an estimated $6.5 million.
The goal is to develop models to predict arc flash characteristics and then to use these results to strengthen industry standards. Current standards are IEEE 1584 (guide for performing arc flash calculations) and NFPA 70E (standard for electrical safety in the workplace).
See www.theinstitute.ieee.org