During the biannual (every two years) CIGRE Meeting of 1960 in Paris, France a number of electrical engineers and physicists interested in gas-discharges in circuit-breakers met privately to discuss current problems.
It was agreed that they needed a forum for free, informal discussion of circuit-breaker problems and research, uninhibited by commercial, national or similar restrictions.
Membership was accordingly restricted to those actively engaged in major researches and whose scientific integrity and confidentiality could be relied upon. It, of course, would place no restrictions whatever on any member who wished to make public his own work.
Such procedures were not possible at the CIGRE meeting where the function of each delegate is to represent his own country and/or company, institution, etc. Thus a select working group was founded by Prof. D. Th. J. ter Horst to be known as the “Current Zero Club”.
The first meeting was held in Arnhem in 1961, attended by about twenty members coming from ten countries. The meeting was managed by Prof. D. ter Horst and the chairman was Mr. Hochrainer.
Each member represented only himself, not his company, university or institution.
The sphere of activity of the Club is limited to interruption and make phenomena in high power circuit-breakers and its membership elected from those engaged in the field.
The subject would not be confined to the “interaction period” of about 100 μs around current zero but would include the whole arcing period or fault event in so far as this determines the initial conditions, both physical ( e. g. pressure, gas flow ) and electrical of that period.
All types of H.V. breakers, including H.V.D.C. breakers come within the scope of the club as well as considerations of mechanical and fluid dynamical behavior.
Contact phenomena, however are excluded in so far as they do not influence the interruption problem; they are to be considered, if they become important for the arcing phenomena, e.g. in vacuum interrupters.
For the time being it seems improbable that H.V. circuits could be interrupted economically by other means than the electric arc. Nevertheless, should promising developments occur in such devices as synchronized contact separation, semiconductors, superconductivity or the like, then these would naturally be pursued.