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Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I'm sure everyone is curious what I look like.

I look like this:
 That's an arc-flash suit.  It keeps you from being seriously injured or killed when doing medium-voltage switching, in the event of an electrical incident.

It's funny.  In past years, you could open, close, connect and disconnect breakers in your street clothes - sometimes I would do it several times a day on problematic equipment.  Now nobody would even consider doing something like that.

What happens when an electrical fault occurs is a flow of electrical current where it shouldn't go.  This generates an incredible amount of heat.  The heat from the electrical arc vaporizes the conductors, and so you get an expanding ball of vaporized copper, and molten copper droplets.  It's pretty much an explosion of molten metal, and something you don't want to experience.

The consequences are awful.  Go to about 1:10

The arc-flash hoedown.  I think the skinny guy's clothes caught fire, while the chubby guy ran around in circles.

An arc flash fatality.

The suit isn't much fun to spend time in.  It gets hot, and it doesn't have openings for fresh air, so you end up running out of air after a couple of minutes.  Even so, it definitely beats the alternative...

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