Metal oxide varistors are applied today inside modern surge arresters for overvoltage protection for all voltage levels. Their main issue is the thermal activation of their crossing current, which could lead to complete destruction by thermal runaway. This article presents a new technological solution developed in order to increase the thermal stability of metal oxide varistors. It consists in connecting in parallel two or more similar varistors (for dividing their current), having a thermal coupling between them (for equalizing their temperatures and forcing them to act together and simultaneously as much as possible). Starting from a finite element computer model performed for each situation (varistor standalone or parallel), up to real measurements, the thermal stability of the equipment was analyzed in permanent and impulse regime. Experiments were carried out in the same conditions. Experimental data obtain from two disk varistors corresponds very well to simulations, proving that parallel connection of varistors, combined with a thermal exchange between them is an efficient technical solution for thermal stability improvement, even if not apparently economically justified.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited