Development of a DC High-Current Arc Ignition Tester 2007-01-1042
The automotive industry is transitioning to higher vehicle DC voltage electrification systems. These higher voltages may pose an increased risk of arcing ignition and fire to polymeric and other flammable automotive materials due to the more pronounced arcing at contacts and/or connections. A post crash reduction of the spacing between points of opposite electrical polarity may also produce hazardous arcing.
This paper describes the development of a DC High-Current Arc Ignition (DC-HAI) Tester designed to evaluate the resistance to arcing ignition properties of materials used in 42 VDC (and higher) automotive applications.
A situation analysis was conducted that included a review of literature, previous research work and standards developed by others for relevant information pertinent to the development of a DC-HAI test. Topics considered included arc physics; the likely operation and/or failure mode scenarios that a DC-HAI test needs to represent in order to be consistent with an automotive environment; and the basis for the existing UL 746 A, AC High-Current Arc Ignition (AC-HAI) test. 
As a result of the Situation Analysis, in an effort to produce more consistent test results and to develop a test protocol consistent with an automotive 42VDC environment, specifications for a DC-HAI tester were formulated and a prototype tester constructed. This paper documents the design modifications made to an AC-HAI Tester to produce the prototype DC-HAI Tester.