Feasibility study of a hybrid mechanical-static DC circuit breaker for superconducting magnet protection

Luca Novello, Elena Gaio, Roberto Piovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the feasibility studies of a hybrid dc circuit breaker (CB) for quench protection of superconducting magnets rated for current up to some tens of kiloamperes (kA) and voltage of several kilovolts (kV). The proposed scheme is based on a mechanical switch paralleled to a fully controlled static CB; integrated gate commutated thyristors (IGCTs) were selected. In normal operation, the mechanical switch handles the continuous flow of dc current minimizing the on-state losses. When protection against quench is requested, the current is diverted into the static breaker that quickly interrupts the current, withstanding the reapplied voltage of several kV. The reliable turn-on of several IGCTs in parallel with low voltage applied between anode and cathode is an issue to be assessed to confirm the feasibility of this design solution. The paper highlights that the components commonly used as snubber or protection circuit can guarantee the turn-on of all the devices in parallel and that the IGCTs can be turned-on with few volts applied; this latter aspect was proved by means of specific tests. Finally, a comparison between a static only and a hybrid CB is performed, highlighting the benefits introduced by the hybrid solution. © 2009 IEEE.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4801994
Pages (from-to)76 - 83
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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