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William Greco
Feb. 1, 2013
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976
W2gre@verizon.net
L
x
Figure1
S
TO
y
Midpoint
Executive Summary: This report was written to calculate the relationship between line
sag and line tension. As the line sag or vertical deflection increases, tension decreases.
Consider a uniform cable. Figure1, suspended at two points in the same horizontal plane
and hanging under the action of it’s own weight. The freebody diagram of a finite portion of
the cable of length x is shown. The total vertical force supported is equal to the weight of the
section of cable length S in place of the uniform horizontal load. If the cable weighs w pounds
per foot of length, the resultant of the load is R=wS and the vertical load is (w) dx, the relation
becomes:
( )
2
2
1
d y w dS
equation
dx TO dx
= ÷
Where:
TO = Line Tension
W = Weight
Since S= f(x,y), it becomes necessary to revise equation1 to one containing only the two
variables,
Substituting the identity (dx)
2
=(dx)
2
+ (dy)
2
yields:
( )
2
2
2
1 2
d y w dy
equation
dx TO dx
 
= + ÷

\ .
Substituting p=dy/dx gives:
( )
2
3
1
dp w
x c equation
TO
p
= + ÷
+
Electric Transmission Line Sag Page 2 of 6
William Greco
Feb. 1, 2013
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976
W2gre@verizon.net
Integration of equation3 from page1 produces:
( )
( )
2
log 1 4
w
p p x c equation
TO
+ + = + ÷
The constant c is zero as dy/dx = p = 0 when x=0. Substituting p=dy/dx, reverting to exponential
form and eliminating the radical equation4 becomes:
( ) sinh 5
2
wx wx
TO TO
dy e e wx
equation
dx TO
÷
÷  
= = ÷

\ .
The hyperbolic function allows the slope to be integrated and becomes:
( ) cosh 6
TO wS
y K equation
w TO
= + ÷
X=0 when y=0 so K= TO/w and:
( ) cosh 1 7
TO wx
y equation
w TO
 
= ÷

\ .
Where:
y=sag
w=weight per unit length
X = half the distance between poles or uprights
TO= Tension
To calculate the length of the line: dy/dx = tanF=wS/TO and:
( ) sinh 8
TO wx
S equation
w TO
= ÷
Where:
S= Half the Line length
w=weight per unit length
X = distance between poles or uprights
TO= Tension
Electric Transmission Line Sag Page 3 of 6
William Greco
Feb. 1, 2013
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976
W2gre@verizon.net
Example1:
200'
100'
Figure2
S
TO
8'
Midpoint
Referring to Figure2: A bare 4/0 hard drawn copper cable line extends 200 feet from pole to pole,
the cable has an 8 foot sag in the center. Assuming the cable to weigh 0.653 lbs per foot the tension on
the cable is:
( )
( )
( )
cosh 1 7
0.653 100
8 cosh 1 7
0.653
TO wx
y equation
w TO
TO
equation
TO
 
= ÷

\ .
 
= ÷

\ .
TO (tension)= 409 lbs The maximum tension occurs at mid point or maximum y (sag) =
409 + [ (0.653)(8) ] = 414.2 pounds
Reducing the sag to only one foot the tension would become:
( ) ( ) 0.653 100 0.653 100
3, 265
1.0 cosh 1 1.0 cosh 1
0.653 0.653 3, 265
TO
TO
   
= =
 
\ . \ .
To (tension) = 3,265 pounds
At an 8 foot sag the lines length is:
( ) 0.653 8
409
sinh sinh
0.653 409
TO wx
S S
w TO
= =
S= 100.425 x 2 = 200.85 feet
The above length was checked graphically and was found to be correct. Intuitively it would
seem that the length should be longer, however the calculation works out both mathematically
and graphically.
Electric Transmission Line Sag Page 4 of 6
William Greco
Feb. 1, 2013
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976
W2gre@verizon.net
Ice and Wind vs Line Tension:
Example2:
In this example we will use figure2 again and the same bare 4/0 hard drawn copper cable line
which extends 200 feet from pole to pole, the cable has an 8 foot sag in the center. Assuming
the cable to weigh 0.653 lbs per foot without ice and wind. We will now assume that the line is
being acted on by a 100 mph wind and ¼ inch of ice has formed around the wire. The tension
on the wire will be:
Calculation of the total diameter of the wire with ¼ inch of ice:
( ) Total Dia 2 _ ice Wire Dia = +
Total Diameter ice plus wire = 1.028 inch diameter
Calculation of the total the wire Area:
( )
2
_
Wire Area
2
Wire Dia
 
=

\ .
Wire Area = 2.1896 sqin
Next Total area of Wire and Ice:
( )
2
_
0.83 sqin
2
Total Dia
 
=

\ .
Total area –Wire_area =
2
_
Ice_Area= _
2
Total Dia
Wire Area
(
 
÷
(

\ .
(
¸ ¸
= 0.61104 sqin
Cubic Area of Ice = 0.6114 x 12 =7.34 cuin …..Cubic Feet of Ice per foot = 7.34/1728 =0.00424
Weight of ice = 57.41 pounds per cuft
Weight of ice on wire = 0.00424 x 57.41 =0.24361 lbs per foot of wire
Total weight of the wire with the ice = 0.24361 + 0.653 = 0.89661 lbs per foot of wire
Force of wind in pounds per square foot = 0.00256 (V
2
) where V = Miles per Hour wind velocity
Square footage of area facing the wind =
( )
( )
_
12
2
144
Total Dia
WA
(
(
¸ ¸
= = 0.13456 sqft
Where: WA = Square footage of area facing the wind
Total_ Dia= total diameter of ice + wire diameter
Electric Transmission Line Sag Page 5 of 6
William Greco
Feb. 1, 2013
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976
W2gre@verizon.net
Ice and Wind vs Line Tension:
Example2: (Continued)
F = (Area Facing the Wind) (0.00256 (V
2
))(CD)
Where :
F = Wind Force on Wire
Wire Area Facing the Wind = 0.13456 sqft
V = 100 mph
CD = 1.2 for long cylinders
F = (Area Facing the Wind) (0.00256 (V
2
))(CD) = 4.13383 pounds per foot of wire
Total Weight of Wire with ice and wind =
4.13383 pounds + 0.89661 pounds = 5.03 pounds per foot
( ) 5.03044 100
3,149
8.0 cosh 1
5.03044 3,149
 
=

\ .
y=8 and TO (tension) = 3,149 pounds
It is highly unlikely that the conditions shown in example2 , 100 mph winds and ¼” of ice on
the wire would occur. A more important calculation concerning line sag vs tension is one that
will show the relationship between various sag’s vs line tension’s arranged in tabular form, as
shown on the next page, (page 6).
Electric Transmission Line Sag Page 6 of 6
William Greco
Feb. 1, 2013
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976
W2gre@verizon.net
A bare 4/0 hard drawn copper cable has a breaking strength of 9,617 pounds. The following
table assumes a bare 4/0 hard drawn copper cable line which extends 200 feet from pole to
pole, various center sag dimensions were chosen. Assuming the cable to weigh 0.653 lbs per
foot, the relationships are noted in Table1.
Table1
It can be seen that if the line is pulled to a sag less than 0.34 feet or about 4 inches it will snap
during installation. If this same line is initially installed to a center sag of 1.25 feet and later
subjected to a 50 mph wind with ¼” of ice surrounding it, (assuming that the line maintains it’s
initial 2,600 pounds of tension) the new sag dimension at it’s center would be 3.71 feet,
however the elasticity of copper would have to be involved in the calculation . The effects of
thermal expansion and contraction have not been introduced into this report.
Conclusion:
Any object that is acted on by gravity, must deflect to a predetermined natural point or break
under it’s own weight.
Reference: Statics…..J.L. Merriam – 1966 Wiley
Standard Handbook For Electrical Engineers…..1957 McGrawHill
Standard Handbook For Mechanical Engineers…..1967 McGrawHill
Calculus and Analytic Geometry….A.L. Shenk……1979 Goodyear Publishers
Sag Ft. Tension Lbs
8.18 400
3.26 1,000
1.63 2,000
1.25 2,600
1.08 3,000
0.81 4,000
0.65 5,000
0.54 6,000
0.46 7,000
0.408 8,000
0.362 9,000
0.34 9,600
0.326 10,000
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