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ARC FLASH HAZARDS ANALYSIS
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Annually more than 2000 workers are admitted to hospital burn centers for extensive injuries caused by arc flash accidents. Arc flash incidents occur when unintended electric current flows through air, superheating the air and causes an explosion. Recognizing the significant threat posed by arc flash hazards, IEEE and NFPA have joined forces on an initiative to support research and additional testing to increase the understanding of the arc flash phenomena. Accurately represent all the real applications for arc flash events are very difficult, not only because of their random complex nature, but also because a large number of uncertain variables involved. Several areas of the arc flash phenomena need further research and testing validation. In order to have a precise arc flash hazards assessment, approximately 2000 arc flash experiments had been conducted, which are crossed extensive range of system voltage, bolted fault current, electrodes gap width, arc initiative configuration and enclosure dimensions. This dissertation has reviewed the testing methodology, test equipment design and modeling process for arc flash hazards analysis. The research and testing focused on, but will not be limited to (a) the development of physics and engineering-based modeling for arc flash thermal hazards, and (b) design and testing for non-thermal hazards, such as light, pressure and sound. Based on the works of the dissertation, sets of assessment equations and approaches have been proposed for arc flash thermal and non-thermal hazard analysis. The results of this dissertation will provide information to help more accurately predict the hazards associated with high energy arcing faults, thereby improving electrical safety standards and providing practical safeguards for employees in the work place.