Arc Flash Research Project

A collaborative effort between IEEE and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

INDUSTRY SUPPORT

The research program is estimated to cost several million dollars. Please consider carefully your organization's contribution, as you evaluate the impact that this research and testing program will have on your organization, and on the safety of electrical workers throughout the world.

How the Money Will be Used
This research and testing initiative will develop deeper insight into arc flash phenomena and the hazards they pose for those working on or near electrical equipment. The data and information generated by this project will strengthen electrical safety standards.

It will be used to expand IEEE 1584 - IEEE Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations as well as to enhance work practice requirements in NFPA 70E - Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

The proposed research and testing plan will focus on:

  • Engineering-Based Model. Presents a list of suggested tests with the goal of developing an engineering-based model of arc flash energy for three-phases of arcs in enclosures.
  • Thermal Effects. Plans for using upgraded calorimeters or isolating calorimeters as an alternative. The calorimeters will be placed in a spherical pattern and closer to the arc than in previous testing. The research and test plan also recommends an investigation of low-current, long-duration arcs.
  • Heat Transfer and Injury Statistics. A research plan to determine convective, conductive, and radiative components as a percentage of total thermal energy transfer.
  • Hazards Other Than Thermal and Electromagnetic. Describes the known characteristics for blast, pressure, shrapnel, sound, and toxicity hazards (based on a review of existing literature) and discloses significant conditions within each category that are not completely understood.
  • Electromagnetic Hazards. Presents a test plan to determine the intensity of established bandwidths (including ultraviolet, infrared, and x-ray) and other potentially injurious energy bands in the electromagnetic spectrum released during an electrical fault.
  • Impact of Enclosures. Presents a research and test plan that will improve understanding of the effect of enclosure doors and components, such as contactors, that typically are mounted within the enclosure.