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Патент USA US2122872

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,-July 5, 1938.
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2,122,872
CURRENT INTERRUPTING MEANS
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Patented July 5, 1938
2,122,872
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE
2,122,872
CURRENT INTERRUPTING MEANS
Edmund 0. Schweitzer, Jr., Northbrook, Ill.
Application February 20, 1936, Serial No. 64,800
5 Claims. (Cl. 200-146)
My invention relates generally to circuit open
ing and closing devices and it has particular
relation to such devices of the non-arcing type.
In the prior art considerable difficulty has been
5 experienced in arcs drawn between the contact
members of circuit opening devices. Because of
such arcing there is a tendency for the contact
members to be burned, thereby causing pitting of
the contact surfaces and consequently poor con
l() tact conditions between the contact members.
In many instances there is the danger that an
inflammable gas may be ignited in the event that
an arc occurs on the opening of Contact mem~
bers. Many devices have been proposed for eX
HOW
15 tinguishing arcs when they are formed.
ever, insofar as I am aware, no one has ever
proposed to prevent the formation of the arc on
the opening of Contact members by changing the
conditions under which the contact members are
20 opened or the final break in the circuit is ef
`
fected.
In circuit opening devices of the metallic con
tact type, arcing is caused by the ionization of a
portion of the surface of one or both of the
25 contact members. The ionization is a function
of the heat generated in the surface of the con
a circuit breaking device in which the main con
tact members are separated in a conducting liquid
and the final break is effected between two por~
tions of the conducting liquid.
Other objects of my invention will in part be 5
obvious and in part appear hereinafter.
Accordingly, my invention is disclosed in the
embodiment hereof shown in the accompanying
drawing and comprises the features of construc
tion, combination of elements and arrangement 10
of parts which will be exemplified in the con
struction hereinafter set forth and the scope of
the application of which will be indicated in the
appended claims.
For more complete understanding of the na- 15
ture and scope of my invention, reference may be
had to the following detail description, taken in
connection with the accompanying drawing, in
which:
Figures l, 2 and 3 are views, partly in side elef- 20
vation and partly in section, showing different
operating positions of my novel circuit breaking
device.
According to my invention I provide for eifect
ing the final break in a circuit opening device 25
between two portions of conducting liquid, pref
tact members by the current flowing therethrough
erably of a non-metallic type, rather than be
at the time that they are separated.
tween two metallic contact surfaces or between
a conducting liquid and a metallic member.
When this manner of opening an electric circuit 30
is employed, I have found that there will be no
ionized arc path set up by ionized particles as
is the case when the circuit is broken between
the metallic contact surfaces. The final break
is effected entirely between two portions of a 35
Since the
specific heat of metal, particularly copper, is
30 relatively low, there is a rapid vaporization Of
the metal in the contact surfaces of the contact
members. The ionized particles form a conduct
ing path between the contact members and it is
this path which causes the arc to be sustained,
35 the path being of relatively low resistance.
The object of my invention, generally stated,
is to provide a circuit opening device which shall
be simple and efhcient in operation and which
may be readily and economically manufactured
40 and installed.
The principal object of my invention is to pro
vide for breaking an electric circuit between
two portions of a non-metallic conducting fluid.
Another important object of my invention is
45 to provide for opening an electric circuit be
tween quantities of non-metallic conducting liq
uid surrounding the contact members of a cir
cuit breaking device.
conducting liquid.
In order to form and sustain an arc there
must be a certain amount of thermionic emis
sion from one of the contact members between
which the arc is formed. When the contact mem- 40
bers are formed of a metal, such as copper, hav
ing a relatively low specific heat, there is a con
siderable amount of thermionic emission, as set
forth hereinbefore, and therefore there. is a
tendency for an arc to form and to be sustained. 45
For the same amount of heat energy involved,
the rise in temperature of a non-metallic con
ducting liquid will be relatively small compared
Another object of my invention is to provide a
50 conducting liquid container around each of the
contact members of a circuit breaking device,
to the temperature rise of the metallic contact
member. There is, therefore, no tendency for 50
together with means for relatively moving the
contact members to open the circuit between the
portions of the liquid in each container.
because of the cooling eiîect of the conducting
liquid, a sufficiently hightemperature necessary
to produce the ionized arc path is not reached.
Referring now particularly to Figure l of the- 55
55 v Another object of my invention is to provide
an arc to form or to be sustained.
In addition,
2
2,122,872
drawing, the reference character I0 indicates a
container having at the bottom thereof a fixed
contact member II secured to the container by
tainer or bucket I6 wholly out oi engagement with
the remaining liquid in the container ID. Due to
means of a bolt I2 forming a terminal connec
metal to liquid break, there will be no ionized
path created between the contact members. The
ñnal break of the circuit will take place entirely
between two portions of the conducting liquid
tion thereto. A movable contact member I3 in
the form of a rod of conducting material is pro
vided, as illustrated, and is disposed to engage
the fixed contact member I I. The contact mem
ber I3 may be moved into and out of engage
10 ment with the contact member I I by any suitable
means, not shown.
It will be observed that a liquid I5 is disposed
within the container I0 and that its level is above
the point where the contact members II and I3
15 are in mutual engagement. The conducting liq
uid I5 may be any of several non-metallic kinds;
for example, dilute solutions of sulphuric acid,
hydrochloric acid, zinc sulphate or copper sul
phate, may be employed. In certain instances
also a common salt solution may be used.
It will
be noted that the circuit is completed not only
between the contact members II and I3, but also
that it is completed through the conducting liquid
I5. However, due to the fact that the resistance
of the circuit including the contact members II
and I3 is relatively small as compared to the re
sistance of the conducting liquid I5, comparative
ly little of the current flows through the liquid.
In order to provide for opening the circuit
..30
through two portions of the conducting liquid I5,
an auxiliary container I6, preferably composed
of insulating material, is provided and rotatably
mounted at I1 on the movable contact member
I3. It will be observed that the bottom of the
à: Ci auxiliary container I6 is recessed at I8 and that a
tipping member I9 is provided, the upper portion
20 of which is arranged to engage the recessed
portion I8. The tipping member I9 is illustrated
as being a continuation of the ñxed contact mem
40 ber I I. However, it will be understood that it
may be mounted as a separate member on the
container I0 or in any suitable manner so as to
effect the tipping of the auxiliary container or
bucket I6 when the contact member I3 is moved
downwardly into the position shown in Figure l.
The sequence of operation is illustrated in Fig
ures l, 2 and 3, in the order named, for opening
of the circuit. As illustrated in Figure 1, the de
vice is in the fully closed position and is adapted
to carry current under operating conditions.
The device is initiated in operation by moving the
contact member I3 in an upward direction by any
suitable means. As illustrate-d in Figure 2, the
contact member I3 moves out of engagement with
Cn Li the fixed contact member II. As a result, the
entire current flow is transferred to the conduct
ing liquid I5. However, since the circuit is not
as yet fully open, there will be no arcing between
the contact members II and I3. It will also be
observed that the auxiliary container or bucket
I6 is turned slightly toward the horizontal posi
tion. When the auxiliary container or bucket I6
is in the full horizontal position it will be ob
served that it entirely surrounds the lower end of
65 the contact member I3. In this position it will
be understood that both of the contact members
II and I3 are individually surrounded by a con-
tainer filled with conducting liquid and that the
circuit is completed from the f_xed contact mem
70 ber through the conducting liquid in the container
I0, thence through the conducting liquid in the
auxiliary container or bucket I5 to the movable
contact member I3.
The continued upward movement of the mov
75 able contact member I3 lifts the auxiliary con
the fact that there is no metal-to-metal break, or
I5.
From tests which I have made on a circuit
breaking device constructed in accordance with
my invention, I have found that I can open an
electric circuit without the formation of arcs
which normally are formed when a like circuit
is opened between metallic contact members.
Since certain further changes may be made
in the foregoing construction and different ern
bodiments of the invention may be made with
out departing from the spirit and scope thereof,
it is intended that all matters shown in the ac
companying drawing or set forth in the fore
going description shall be interpreted as illustra
tive, and not in a limiting sense.
What I claim is:
1. An electrical circuit breaking device com
prising, in combination, a non-metallic conduct
ing iiuid, separable contact means disposed in ~
contact engagement under the surface of said
fluid for carrying the main portion of the current
of the circuit and disposed on separation thereof
to permit the entire flow of current through said
fluid, and means for subsequently interrupting the :
current flow through said fluid between two por
tions thereof.
2. An electrical circuit breaking device com
prising, in combination, a main container, a con
ducting liquid in said container, a fixed contact ‘
member disposed in said container, a movable
contact member disposed to engage said iixed con
tact member underneath the surface of said liq
uid to carry the main portion of the current of
the circuit and on separation to permit the entire et()
flow of current through said liquid, an auxiliary
container composed of insulating material and
rotatably mounted on said movable contact mem
ber and disposed to surround the lower end there
of, and a tipping member mounted on said main
container and disposed to tip said auxiliary con
tainer as said movable contact member ap
proaches said fixed contact member to permit
engagement of said contact members, said aux
iliary container being disposed to rotate on with
drawal of said movable contact member from en
gagement with said contact member to carry
therewith a portion of said conducting liquid
whereby the circuit is opened between the liquid
remaining in said main container and the liquid f
in said auxiliary container.
3. An electrical circuit breaking device com
prising, in combination, an ionizable conducting
liquid, separable contact means in contact en
gagement under the surface of said liquid for UL)
carrying the main portion of the current of the
circuit and on disengagement thereof permitting
the entire flow of current through said liquid, and
means for subsequently interrupting the current
flow through said liquid between two portions
thereof and providing an air gap in the circuit.
»
4. An electrical circuit breaking device com
prising, in combination, a conducting liquid
which comprises water and a material dissolved
therein providing a source of ions, separable con
tact means in contact engagement under the sur
face of said liquid for carrying the main portion
of the current of the circuit and on disengagement
thereof permitting the entire flow of current
through said liquid, and means for subsequently 75
2,122,872
interrupting the current flow through said liquid
between two portions thereof and providing an
air gap in the circuit.
5. An electrical circuit breaking device com
' pricing, in combination, a conducting liquid com
prising water and a solute which renders the
Water conducting, separable contact means in
contact engagement under the surface of said
3
liquid for carrying the main portion of the cur
rent of the circuit and on disengagement there
of permitting the entire ñow of current through
said liquid, and means for subsequently interrupting the current ñow through said liquid be Ul
tween two portions thereof and providing an air
gap in the circuit.
EDMUND O. SCHWEITZER, JR.
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