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Intrinsic safety

1. A type of protection in which a portion of the electrical system contains only intrinsically safe equipment (apparatus, circuits, and wiring) that is incapable of causing ignition in the surrounding atmosphere. No single device or wiring is intrinsically safe by itself (except for battery-operated self-contained apparatus such as portable pagers, transceivers, gas detectors, etc., which are specifically designed as intrinsically safe self- contained devices) but is intrinsically safe only when employed in a properly designed intrinsically safe system. This type of protection is referred to by IEC as “Ex I.”. 2. Design methodology for a circuit or an assembly of circuits in which any spark or thermal effect produced under normal operating and specified fault conditions is not capable under prescribed test conditions of causing ignition of a given explosive atmosphere. 3. A method to provide safe operation of electric process control instrumentation where hazardous atmospheres exist. The method keeps the available electrical energy so low that ignition of the hazardous atmosphere cannot occur. 4. A protection technique based upon the restriction of electrical energy within apparatus and of interconnecting wiring, exposed to a potentially explosive atmosphere, to a level below that which can cause ignition by either sparking or heating effects. Because of the method by which intrinsic safety is achieved, it is necessary to ensure that not only the electrical apparatus exposed to the potentially explosive atmosphere but also other electrical apparatus with which it is interconnected is suitably constructed.


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