We all have heard this term “Fuse”, we have even used the word for joking around with our friends. Well, today lets see what it actually is?, What does it mean and what are its types. Although there are many classifications of fuses, in the current context we will focus on the electrical fuse.
Well, Fuse is an electronic device which is used for protection of electrical devices and circuits from overload. In simpler terms, It may be defined as a device which controls and maintains the flow of current to a desirable level in the circuit.
A little history!
The need of inventing a fuse was critically felt with the advent of Telegraphs as a mode of communication. Telegraphs at those time where cutting edge communication technology. It is hence obvious that most of the important communication was done through it.
However, a practical problem of lightning falling on cable was bugging the inventors and the users alike. As a solution Breguet in 1864 started using reduced section conductors to protect telegraph stations from lightning. Basically, he would use thin wires which would melt when the lightning struck hence protecting the entire system and the building. Later, Thomas Alva Edison also patented a fuse as a part of his electrical distribution system.
Now we are aware of the definition, lets now understand how a basic fuse is built. It will help everyone in understanding the concept in a better way. In the simplest form a fuse consists of a thin wire, i.e its cross section is less. This wire or as technically called the fuse element is enclosed in a non-flammable housing. Through this apparatus, the current is fed into the circuit or the system.
When the current flows through the fuse element, it generates heat. This happens because of the resistance offered by the fuse. If the temperature rises above a certain limit then the wire melts hence protecting the circuit or the system.