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What We’ve Learned from Slow Motion Arc Flash Video

Arc Flash is an incredibly dangerous phenomenon. Until recently, most studies have focused on outdoor utility environments. To see what safety measures can and need to be taken in the industrial environment, research was conducted utilizing video in slow motion to observe arc flashes at 1/100th of real speed. Here are some key results.

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Better Understanding of the differences in utility environments vs. industrial ones

While it is fairly easy to presume the differences between outdoor utility environments where arc flashes occur (such as power lines and generators) and industrial environments (such as factories) the use of slow motion video has demonstrated some impressive real observations.

When a dummy wearing construction, attire sparks an arc flash, arc flash video slow motion shows the range of the explosion as well as the effect on clothes, making it easier for safety professionals to designate appropriate fire-proof, non-conductive apparel and determine safe distances for other workers to keep near a potential arc flash environment.

Training Tools

In addition to providing critical information to safety professionals, slow motion arc flash video can easily be used for employers to demonstrate the danger and power of arc flashes, as well as the importance of wearing non-flammable clothes. Even the differences between various materials and blends, and their reaction to flames is captured for reference.

Unexpected Discoveries

Observing slow motion video at 3000 frames per second (1/100th of real time or standard video) also yielded some surprises. Under some conditions and voltage configurations, the arc flash did not shoot straight out as one would expect. Rather, it traveled in a sideways direction.

Being able to utilize slow motion arc flash video is an invaluable resource for employers and safety professionals. This tool has and will continue to mitigate injuries, loss of equipment, and even loss of life.

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