SF6 Gas – excellent for insulating and arc quenching

Substantial properties of sulfur hexafluoride at a glance

SF6 gas is colorless, odorless gas with a vapor density five times that of air. It is able to stay in vapor form (at normal operating temperatures) up to about 250 PSI. Some additional properties of SF6 which make it very desirable to the electrical utility sector are:

  • Colorless and odorless
  • 5 times heavier than air
  • Temperature-resistant up to 500 °C
  • Chemically stable
  • Non-toxic
  • Excellent dielectric properties
  • Non-inflammable 
  • Outstanding arc quenching properties

How does SF6 gas work in an electrical breaker? 

Because SF6 has excellent thermal transfer characteristics it works to absorb the energy of the arc, creating resistance across the arcing contacts and eventually extinguishing the arc. Once the arc is extinguished, the SF6 gas begins to regenerate almost immediately.  


Unfortunately, the same properties that make SF6 an excellent insulating gas for GIE also make it a potent greenhouse gas. Quality gas handling products and well-trained technicians greatly reduce the risk of SF6 emissions. In addition to zero-emission SF6 gas handling equipment, DILO offers accredited SF6 gas safety and handling trainings.