North Carolina Patent of the Month – June 2022

Circuit breakers manage the flow of electricity, protecting us from surging currents and their hazardous consequences. For something so integral, it’s surprising to say that there have not been many substantial advancements or changes since their conception. Even today’s circuit breakers are largely mechanical. Atom Power, Inc. has dedicated their considerable expertise towards advancing circuit breakers to better suit the modern world’s needs.

Their solution takes advantage of the benefits provided by solid-state devices. A solid-state device can interrupt current flow in a matter of microseconds compared to the several milliseconds needed for a conventional circuit breaker to trip. This faster reaction time reduces the risk of fire or damage to the electrical equipment. 

Atom Power’s solid-state circuit breaker was designed with galvanic isolation capability. This isolation separates the input and output supplies to a device so that energy flows through a field rather than via electrical connections.

The system is equipped with an electrical bus with both line-side and load-side terminals and a solid-state device connected in series with a closable air gap between each terminal. When in use, the device is turned on and the circuit breaker forces movable contacts inside the breaker to close the air gap. This closure ensures an electrical current path is maintained between the line-side and load-side terminals. If a short circuit or overload occurs, the circuit breaker switches the solid-state device off, releasing the movable contacts and opening the air gap. This opening establishes galvanic isolation between the terminals.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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