Currently, circuit breakers and, in most cases, thermal fuses are used for wire protection due to their low cost and robust design. As an alternative, solid state switches are being considered within future electrical distribution systems (EDS) for several reasons, e.g. resetability, diagnosis, smaller tolerances, and reduced dependencies on ambient temperature or arcing. Particularely if combined with benefits on the system level, such an application can be advantageous.The new approach presented in this paper uses a thermal model of the wire instead of only an emulation of the thermal fuse behavior. This allows, based on the electrical current profile, the calculation of the wire temperature and thus a robust and precise protection of the wire. In addition, it minimizes the probability of faulty switching, which is of particular importance with regard to safety-critical electrical functions. Hence, results include higher reliability and a reduction of the wire cross-section area and copper usage. The paper describes the theory, the method and its requirements, and the basic algorithm, as well as initial simulation and measurement results.