A Survey of Arc Flash Computation Methods and Mitigation Strategies

  • Carl J. Spezia (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)


A robust, reliable, and safe electric power system is essential to productive industrial operations. Plant personnel must maintain and operate the electric power system without exposure to dangerous electrical hazards. The arc flash that accompanies electrical system faults and operator errors exposes workers to high temperature plasma, pressure shock waves, toxic gases, and blast fragments. Arc flash can be deadly to personnel, cost millions of dollars to repair, and idle industrial facilities. Without arc flash analysis and mitigation strategies, workers must wear cumbersome personal protective equipment that can resist maximum arc energy or work only on de-energized equipment. This paper surveys the computation methods and mitigation technologies used to quantify and control arc flash hazards in industrial power systems. A review of analysis techniques compares algorithms used currently to determine incident energy. A presentation of current mitigation technologies identifies their advantages and disadvantages in the control of incident energy. A final section proposes future directions for research and development on arc flash safety.

Keywords: electricity, energy, safety

How to Cite:

Spezia, C. J., (2010) “A Survey of Arc Flash Computation Methods and Mitigation Strategies”, Journal of Industrial Technology 26(2).

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Published on
04 Jan 2010