US 3778680 A
A high amperage electrical switching apparatus especially adapted for use in a corrosive atmosphere is provided which comprises a housing, a pair of spaced apart first and second electrical terminals which extend from the housing having fluid cooling means associated therewith, electrical conducting means positioned inside of the housing which communicate electrically with the first and second electrical terminals and are provided with fluid cooling means, and electrical circuit breaking means capable of being in an open or closed position electrically communicating with the electrical conducting means whereby when the circuit breaking means is in the closed position electrical current is capable of flowing between the first and second electrical terminals.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Vaneerden  Inventor: Dick Vaneerden, 131 Curtis Dr.,
Avon Lake, Ohio 44012  Filed: Sept. 26, 1972  Appl. No.: 292,329
 11.8. C1 317/100, 200/166 K, 165/105, 174/15 R  Int. Cl. I105k 7/20, H02b 1/04  Field of Search ..174/15 R, 15 C, 16 B; 200/166 E; 317/100, 103; 165/105  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,662,137 S/1972 Cleaveland 200/166 K 3,261,905 7/1966 Allen 174/15 R 3,035,419 5/1962 Wigert 174/15 R 3,511,919 5/1970 Miller 174/15 C v I 44 11 5O Dec. 11, 1973 Primary Examiner-Robert K. Schaefer Assistant ExaminerGerald P. Tolin Attorney-Richard .l. Minnich  ABSTRACT A high amperage electrical switching apparatus especially adapted for use in a corrosive atmosphere is provided which comprises a housing, a pair of spaced apart first and second electrical terminals which extend from the housing having fluid cooling means associated therewith, electrical conducting means positioned inside of the housing which communicate electrically with the first and second electrical terminals and are provided with fluid cooling means, and electrical circuit breaking means capable of being in an open or closed position electrically communicating with the electrical conducting means whereby when the circuit breaking means is in the closed position electrical current is capable of flowing between the first and second electrical terminals.
10 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PAIENIEDBH: n ms saw u (if 5 FIG. 6
HIGH AMPERAGE SWITCH APPARATUS WITH RESILIENTLY MOUNTED FLUID COOLED TERMINALS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to novel high amperage electrical switching or shunting apparatus. More particularly, it concerns a fluid-cooled high amperage switching or shunting apparatus which is especailly adapted for use in a corrosive atmosphere of the type commonly found in close proximity to electrolytic cells used in the production of chlorine and caustic.
2. Description of the Prior Art Chlorine and caustic are most commonly produced by the electrolysis of brine. The constructional features of the specific apparatus employed for this purpose vary. However, such apparatus share a common feature in that they all require the usage of electric current.
The vast majority of chlorine and caustic manufactured today is produced by the use of either the socalled diaphram cell or the so-called mercury cell. In practice, a plurality of cells of a given type, often as many as a hundred or more, are usually physically located in a confined area (called a cell room) and electrically connected in series. The resultant electrical arrangement of cells is commonly referred to as a circuit.
From a commercial standpoint, it is desired to operate the cell circuit in a continuous and uninterrupted manner. This means that when an individual cell in the circuit begins to exhibit undesirable operational characteristics it must be repaired or removed from the circuit in a minimum of lapsed time. To accommplish this, it is common practice to shunt the current around the concerned cell and then remove it from the circuit for repair.
With low amperage electrolytic cells, i.e., those operating at about twenty to thirty thousand amperes, it has been common practice to employ an air cooled shunt or switch for this purpose. However, the recent trend in chlorine and caustic production has seen the introduction of new cell designs which are capable of operating at extremely high amperage levels, e.g., at amperages of 60,000 and higher. Unfortunately, conventional air cooled shunts and switches do not perform satisfactorily when used to shunt such high currents.
In summary, it may be stated that the prior art has provided the chlorine industry with shunting or switching devices which perform adequately at low amperage levels, but it has failed to provide a reasonable shunting or switch apparatus which performs satisfactorily at high amperage levels of 60,000 amperes or higher.
Accordingly, it is the principle object of the present invention to provide a high amperage electrical switching apparatus which is capable of operating satisfactorily in a corrosive environment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Very briefly, the subject invention concerns a high amperage electrical switching apparatus which is especially adapted for use in a corrosive atmosphere. More particularly, it concerns an electrical switching or shunting apparatus which comprises a housing, a pair of fluid-cooled spaced apart first and second electrical terminals extending from the housing, water-cooled electrical conducting means positioned inside of the housing electrically communicating with the terminals, and an electrical circuit breaking means capable of being in an open or closed position electrically comm unicating with the electrical conducting means whereby when the circuit breaking means is in the closed position'electrical current is capable of flowing between the first and second terminals.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric front view of the high amperage electrical switching apparatus of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a partly broken away isometric view of a water-cooled electrical terminal employed in the practice of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the electrical switching apparatus of the invention taken along line 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3 showing the water inlet header and outlet header employed in the electrical switching apparatus of the invention;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along 55 of FIG. 3 showing the means of directing cooling fluid through an electrical terminal used in the aparatus of the inventlon;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view, partly broken away, taken along 66 of FIG. 3 showing the cooling fluid inlet port and the cooling fluid outlet port; and
FIG. 7 is a diagrammatical illustration showing the electrical switching apparatus of the invention, having a plurality of circuit breaking means positioned in a side-by-side relationship.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION The preferred embodiments of the invention can best be appreciated by referring to the drawings. Accordingly, referring now to FIG. 1 there is shown the exterior of the electrical switching apparatus 10 of the invention comprising a housing 20 having extending therefrom first and second electrical terminals 12 and 14, respectively. As these terminals are somewhat flexible, support cables 16 and 18 are provided to maintain them in the desired position. As appropriate, these cables are held in position by upper eye rings 22 and 22 (prime) which are fixedly attached to the front of housing 10 and by lower eye rings 24 and 24 (prime) which are fixedly attached to first and second electrical terminals l2 and 14, respectively.
Extending from recess 25 in the front surface 26 of housing 10 are water inlet port 28 and water outlet port 30. In addition, extending from recess 32 in the front surface 26 of housing 10 are gas inlet port 34, a gas port 36 which communicates with a warning born (not shown) designed to sound if the circuit breaking means (shown in FIG. 7) is closed and cooling fluid is not flowing through the apparatus or if the temperature of the cooling fluid exceeds a desired level, and gas port 38 which is adapted to communicate with an impact wrench.
As before noted, the electrical terminals are resiliently affixed to the housing 10. As shown in FIG. 2, this resiliency is due to the fact the terminal 40 consists of a lug 42 to which are fixedly attached four flexible tubular conduits 44, 46, 48 and 50, respectively. In addition, lug 42 is provided with passageway 43 for conducting cooling fluid therethrough.
Each of the four tubular conduits is of the same general construction. As will be noted from FIG. 2, conduit 46 has an outer wall 52 (made of rubber or other relatively flexible material) and an inner electrical conducting member 54 (made of copper) which together define a passageway 56 through which cooling fluid can be directed. The arrow in passageway 56 indicates the direction of flow taken by the cooling fluid. As noted, cooling fluid is introduced into the lug 42 by flowing through tubular conduits 44 and 46 (note arrows) and into the upper portion of passageway 43 at entrace points 58 and 60, respectively. It then leaves lug 42 by flowing out of tubular conduits 48 and 50.
In FIG. 3, the path of the cooling fluid can be traced in a fairly detailed manner. Cooling fluid is introduced at inlet port 28 and travels through conduit members 57 and 59, respectively (as indicated by the arrow) to inlet header 62. The fluid cooling media, usually water, is then delivered to the first and second terminals, the electrical conducting means (bus bars), and the circuit breaking means by the various ports located along the length of header 62.
Perhaps it should be noted here that the fluid cooling media can be a liquid or a solid. For example, it can be a liquid such as water or a compressed gas, such as liquid hydrogen. All that is necessary is (1) that it removes the resistance heat and (2) that it is compatible with the transporting system.
As best can be seen in FIG. 5, cooling fluid is directed from header 62 into terminal 12 through tubing 66, and 68, respectively which are connected to the header at ports 65 and 67, respectively. It then passes through the tubular members adjacent tubular members 70 and 72 (see FIG. 2 for details of terminals) and into outlet header 78 by means of conduits or tubes 80 and 82 which'are connected at exit ports 84 and 86 to the outlet header 78.
The means of directing the cooling fluid through the other terminal is, in principal, the same as that discussed above. Accordingly, such means will not be discussed herein in detail.
In the preferred emodiment of the invention, the electrical conducting means employed for electrically connecting the terminals with the circuit breaking means consists of a plurality of L-shaped bus bars.
As can be seen in FIG. 3, bus bars 88 and 90, electrically communicate with terminal extension 89 to provide a path for conducting current from the terminal into the bus bar. Likewise, bus bars 92 and 94 electrically communicate with terminal extension 91.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, terminals of the type shown in FIG. 2 are utilized. Although it is not shown in FIG. 2, a terminal extension of the type illustrated in FIG. 3 (see numeral 89) is provided for each of the four flexible tubular conduits of the terminal.
In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 3, the electrical conducting means consists of four L-shaped bus bars on the right side of the apparatus, designated as 88, 90, 92, and 94 and four L-shaped copper bus bars on the left side of the apparatus designated as 88 (prime), 90 (prime), 92' (prime) and 94' (prime).
Each of these bus bars has affixed to the peripheral surface thereof (as also shown in FIG. see 69, and in FlG. 6, see surfaces 96 and 98 and tubes I02 and 104, respectively) a hollow tube or conduit adapted to permit a cooling fluid to flow therethrough. In the preferred practice of the invention, tubes or conduits of this type are made of copper and affixed to the bus bar by welding.
As shown, in part, in FIG. 6, the tubing is affixed, in the main, to the horizontal surfaces 96 and 98, respectively of the L-shaped bus bar 99 with a connecting link of tubing 100 connecting tubing segment I02 with tubing segment 1045 so that cooling fluid can flow through the respective tubing segments and thereby cool bus bar 99.
In FIG. 3, the bus bars have super imposed thereon and in register therewith hollow tubing'(as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6) which communicates with cooling fluid inlet header 62 by means of inlet ports 106 and 1108 via suitable tubing means (not shown). As indicated by the dotted lines cooling fluid enters the tubing positioned on top of bus bars 92 and 94, travels the length of the upper surface of the bus bars, descends to the lower surface of the bus bars by means of appropriate connecting links (as shown in FIG. 6), travels the length of the lower surface of the concerned bus bars, cross over to the bottom of bus bars 68 and 90, respectively, travels the periphery of these bus bars, and runs into the outlet header 78 (as shown in FIG. 4) via outlet ports 110 and 112, respectively.
Cooling fluid is directed through the circuit breaking means generally indicated by numeral 114, as shown in FIG. 7. The circuit breaking means can consist of from one to four or more electrical switching members 116. Generally, the individual switching member consists of first and second contact members 1118 and 120, respectively and a plurality of interconnecting link members 122 which when brought into contact with contact members 1118 and (by conventional means not shown) permits electrical current to be conducted through the electrical switching apparatus of the invention. When the interconnecting links are not in contact with the concerned contact members, the switch is said to be in the open position; when they are brought into contact the switch is said to be in the closed position.
In addition, the first and second contact members are provided with either internal (as is preferred) or external passageways, that is, either holes or tubes, respectively for fluid cooling. Shown in FIG. 7 is the specific means employed to cool the circuit breaking mechanism when four individual switches are utilized. It is to be noted that each of these switches is designed so that it can conduct about 30,000 to 40,000 amperes. Accordingly, these switches are wired in parallel so that currents of up to about 160,000 or higher amperes can be switched or shunted by the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 7. If it is desired to carry higher currents, additional switches can simply be installed.
In view of the fact that terminal 16 is constructionally equivalent to terminal 12 and that the bus bars on the left side of the apparatus are essential of the same configuration as those on the right side of the apparatus, their constructional features will not be discussed herein for the sake of brevity.
As can be seen from FIG. 4, cooling fluid from the terminals the bus bars and the circuit breaking means is directed into outlet header 78 and then removed from the apparatus of the invention by drain I24. In the preferred practice of the invention, the cooling fluid usually utilized is water. However, other fluids may be used so long as they are compatible with the various materials of construction found in the apparatus of the invention.
As noted in FIGS. 3 and 6, a pneumatic flow sensor 126 communicates with conduit 128 leading to exit port 30. This device is designed so that in the event the circuit breaking means is closed without cooling fluid circulating through the apparatus a warning device, e.g., a horn is activated.
Also, again as seen in FIGS. 3 and 6, a sensor mechanism 130 is provide which actuates a warning device, e.g., a horn, when the temperature of the cooling fluid exceeds a preselected level.
Referring again to FIG. 1, it should be noted that it is desirable to fabricate the housing in such a manner that it is essentially airtight. However, from a practical standpoint, it is rather difficult to accomplish this. Accordingly, housing 10 is provided with an inlet port 34 so that gas can be introduced into the interior of the housing to create a pressure therein which is at least slightly in excess of ambient pressure and thereby prevent any corrosive vapors from entering housing 10.
When using the apparatus of the invention (constructed as shown in FIG. 1) to shunt electrical currents of about 60,000 amperes, highly satisfactory results have been obtained when water was used as the cooling fluid and introduced into the apparatus at a rate of gallons per minute.
It should be noted here that due to the special flexible terminals employed in the preferred practice of the invention some misalignment between the terminals of the apparatus of the invention and the contacts of the chlorine cell can be tolerated. Accordingly, the subject invention permits a chlorine cell to be shunted out of the circuit most expeditiously.
Applicant has not discussed herein the various materials of construction which were utilized to fabricate his apparatus, as the skilled artisan will readily know what materials should be used in view of the intended function of the concerned component.
While there have been described herein what at present are considered to be the preferred embodiments of the instant invention, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made in the practice of the instant invention without departing from its spirit and scope.
What is claimed is:
l. A high amperage electrical switching apparatus adapted for use in a corrosive atmosphere comprising:
a. a housing;
b. resiliently mounted, spaced apart first and second electrical terminals extending from said housing, with each of said terminals having a passageway extending therethrough through which cooling media passes;
c. electrical conducting means positioned within said housing electrically communicating with said first and second terminals, with said conducting means beingprovided with fluid cooling means; and
d. electrical circuit breaking means capable of being in an open or closed position electrically communieating with said electrical conducting means, with said circuit breaking means being provided with fluid cooling means, whereby when said circuit breaking means is in a closed position electrical current is capable of flowing between said first and second terminals.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said housing is generally in the form of a hollow rectangular structure comprising a pair of vertical side walls, top and bottom walls communicating with said side walls, and a pair of spaced apart end walls communicating with the side walls and end walls.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said housing is provided with a means of maintaining the atmospheric pressure therein at least slightly in excess of ambient pressure to prevent corrosive vapors from entering said housing.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein each of said electrical terminals comprises:
a. a lug adapted to engage a conductor, said lug having ahollow passageway therein directing cooling fluid therethrough, and
b. a plurality of flexible, hollow conduits each having a passageway therein directing cooling fluid therethrough and a means for conducting electrical current, with said conduits being in electrical contact with said lug and said passageways communicating with the passageway in said lug, whereby cooling fluid is caused to pass through said terminal.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said electrical conducting means comprises a plurality of bus bar members having affixed thereto means for carrying fluid cooling media.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said bus bar members affixed to the surface thereof metallic tubing which carries said fluid cooling media.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said circuit breaking means includes at least one electrical switching member which comprises:
a. a pair of spaced apart contact members having passageways therein for fluid cooling; and
b. an interconnecting link member which is adapted to be moved into a position such that it bridges at least part of the space between said contact members which when brought in contact with said contact members provides a path for electrical current to be conducted through said contact members;
8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein a plurality of electrical switching members are provided with said switching members being connected in parallel and positioned in a side-by-side relationship.
9. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein a plurality of electrical switching members are provided with said switching members being electrially connected in parallel and positioned in vertically stacked relationship.
10. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said contact members consist of first and second conduit members, with each of said first and second conduit members haing a passageway therein for conducting cooling fluid therethrough.