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An electrical fuse is different than a Siemens breaker or other brands of circuit breaker. Where circuit breakers are able to be opened and closed repeatedly with the use of a switch, an electrical fuse is a one-time use device. As long as current flows normally and there are no electrical faults, the fuse keeps the circuit connected and the electricity flowing.
Electrical fuses are made with something called a "fusible element". This element is able to handle normal current, but when there is an overload or short circuit, the fuse melts, breaking the flow of electricity. Some fuses are designed to react to heat. When a thermoelectric fuse is overheated, the element melts. A variation on the thermoelectric fuse is the alloy fuse, which has a combination of metals in the fusible element designed to melt at a certain temperature. Siemens breakers are more expensive than electrical fuses, but the single-use nature of fuses makes them less practical for most residential needs.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|