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What are arcing contacts?

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12/30/2009

Whenever an electrical contact is made or broken, an electrical spark jumps through the air between the two contact points while they are very close together but not yet, or not any longer, touching. That spark jumping is an electrical arc and the event is arcing contact.

The main cause of arcing is the property of a circuit to maintain the continuity of the current, so whenever the contacts separate to break the circuit the air (or any dielectric medium that is used) ionises and continuity of the current is maintained, at least momentarily.