VALVE TYPE ARRESTER
Valve type arresters incorporate non linear resistors and are extensively used on systems, operating at high voltages. Fig 12 (i) shows the various parts of a valve type arrester. It consists of two assemblies (i) series spark gaps and (ii) non-linear resistor discs in series. The non-linear elements are connected in series with the spark gaps. Both the assemblies are accommodated in tight porcelain container.
(i) The spark gap is a multiple assembly consisting of a number of identical spark gaps in series. Each gap consists of two electrodes with fixed gap spacing. The voltage distribution across the gap is linearised by means of additional resistance elements called grading resistors across the gap. The spacing of the series gaps is such that it will withstand the normal circuit voltage. However an over voltage will cause the gap to break down causing the surge current to ground via the non-linear resistors.
(ii) The non-linear resistor discs are made of inorganic compound such as thyrite or metrosil. These discs are connected in series. The non-linear resistors have the property of offering a high resistance to current flow when normal system voltage is applied, but a low resistance to the flow of high surge currents. In other words, the resistance of these non-linear elements decreases with the increase in current through them and vice-versa.
Under normal conditions, the normal system voltage is insufficient to cause the break down of air gap assembly. On the occurrence of an over voltage, the break down of the series spark gap takes place and the surge current is conducted to earth via the non-linear resistors. Since the magnitude of surge current is very large, the non-linear elements will offer a very low resistance to the passage of surge. The result is that the surge will rapidly go to earth instead of being sent back over the line. When the surge is over, the non-linear resistors assume high resistance to stop the flow of current