DC Arc Flash: Testing and Modeling Incidents in a 125-V Substation Battery Backup System

Austin C. Gaunce, Xuan Wu, John D. Mandeville, Dennis J. Hoffman, Amrit S. Khalsa, Joseph Sottile, Ronald J. Wellman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Station batteries used as a backup source to supply station direct-current (dc) power to relays, etc., present a source of personnel exposure to dc arc flash. However, dc arc flash is less understood compared with the arc-flash phenomena that occur in alternating-current (ac) systems. Some models exist to quantify the potential hazards posed by dc electrical systems; however, there is little empirical data available. Additionally, the lower voltage and/or lower capacity station batteries are even less researched. As a result, a series of arc-flash tests were performed at the Dolan Technology Center of American Electric Power (AEP) utilizing two 125 Vdc batteries with rated capacities of 100 and 150 Ah. For these tests, working distance and gap width were used as independent variables. Upon the conclusion of testing, various relationships were analyzed to generate a predictive model for incident energy. This model serves as a compilation of the empirical data collected during testing and will contribute to future research efforts to better understand dc arc-flash incidents from station batteries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8981921
Pages (from-to)2138-2147
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank everyone at AEP’s Dolan Technology Center who provided assistance and dedicated time and effort into the testing required for this research. In addition, the authors would like to thank M. Lang and Dr. W.-J. Lee for providing the necessary information to develop the test setup. Finally, the authors would like to appreciate all the support from AEP Transmission Leadership.

Publisher Copyright:
© 1972-2012 IEEE.


  • Direct-current (DC) arc flash
  • empirical data
  • predictive model
  • station battery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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