Lee, Thomas H. Formerly, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Current interruption
- Oil and gas-blast circuits
- Vacuum breakers
- Solid-state breakers
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A device to open or close an electric power circuit either during normal power system operation or during abnormal conditions. A circuit breaker serves in the course of normal system operation to energize or deenergize loads. During abnormal conditions, when excessive current develops, a circuit breaker opens (trips) to protect equipment and surroundings from possible damage due to excess current. These currents are usually the result of short circuits created by lightning, accidents, deterioration of equipment, or sustained overloads. See also: Circuit (electricity); Lightning and surge protection
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