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What is Arc Flash

In conversations about electrical systems, you may have heard of Arc Flash but what exactly is it?

The electrical panels and switch-gear in your facility have access to a tremendous amount of energy from the power company. If one of these panels fails or if maintenance / service personnel make a mistake and cause a failure, all of this energy will rush into the equipment with catastrophic results. This failure will result in the release of a significant amount of heat and light.

During a failure, temperatures can reach up to 35,000 degrees. When you consider that the human body experiences Third-Degree burns and cell death at 150 degrees after only 2 seconds of exposure, you can see why anyone in the room is in grave danger.

This heat can cause the inside components of the electrical panels to expand up to 67,000 times in volume. This expansion results in violent explosions sending shrapnel over 700 miles per hour into the room.

Couple this with light damage to the eyes, hearing loss, etc. and you can understand why this is a serious concern and why OSHA is focusing more on Arc Flash every day.

Fratto Engineering has years of experience in Arc Flash analysis and labeling equipment most vulnerable.

If you would like more information on Arc Flash and how to protect your facility, please give us a call at 817-461-2337.


We hope to see you soon at any of the conferences listed to the left of the article.

Mark Fratto, P.E., LEED AP BD+C