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Introduction

Several sections of the National Electrical Code® relate to proper overcurrent protection. Safe

and reliable application of overcurrent protective devices based on

these sections mandate that a short circuit study and a selective coordination study

be conducted. These sections include, among others:

!!".# Interrupting $ating

!!".!" Component %rotection

&'".! Conductor %rotection

&(".!&& E)uipment *rounding Conductor %rotection

+ar,ed Short-Circuit Current $ating.

- &/".0& 1/2 +eter 3isconnect

- '"#.!!" Industrial Control %anels

- ''".'142 5ir Conditioning 6 $efrigeration E)uipment

- 78"./152 Industrial +achinery

Selective Coordination

- (!8.!8 9ealth Care :acilities - Selective Coordination

- (!8.&7 Essential Electrical Systems In 9ealthcare Systems

- 7&".7& Selective Coordination for Elevator Circuits

- 8"".&8 Emergency Systems

- 8"!.!0 ;egally $e)uired Standby Systems

Compliance <ith these code sections can best be accomplished by conducting a

short circuit study as a start to the analysis. The protection for an electrical system

should not only be safe under all service conditions but, to insure continuity of

service, it should be selectively coordinated as <ell. 5 coordinated system is one

<here only the faulted circuit is isolated <ithout disturbing any other part of the

system. =nce the short circuit levels are determined, the engineer can specify

proper interrupting rating re)uirements, selectively coordinate the system and

provide component protection. See the various sections of this boo, for further

information on each topic.

;o< voltage fuses have their interrupting rating e>pressed in terms of the

symmetrical component of short-circuit current. They are given an $+S

symmetrical interrupting rating at a specific po<er factor. This means that the fuse

can interrupt the asymmetrical current associated <ith this rating. Thus only the

symmetrical component of short-circuit current need be considered to determine

the necessary interrupting rating of a lo< voltage fuse. :or listed lo< voltage fuses,

interrupting rating e)uals its interrupting capacity.

;o< voltage molded case circuit brea,ers also have their interrupting rating

e>pressed in terms of $+S symmetrical amps at a specific po<er factor. 9o<ever,

it is necessary to determine a molded case circuit brea,er?s interrupting capacity in

order to safely apply it. See the section Interrupting $ating vs. Interrupting Capacity

in this boo,.

!!".!7 no< re)uires arc-flash ha@ard <arning labeling on certain e)uipment. 5

flash ha@ard analysis is re)uired before a <or,er approaches electrical parts that

have not been put into a safe <or, condition. To determine the incident energy and

flash protection boundary for a flash ha@ard analysis the short-circuit current is

typically the first step.

*eneral Comments on Short Circuit Calculations

Sources of short-circuit current that are normally ta,en under consideration include:

- Atility *eneration - ;ocal *eneration

- Synchronous +otors - Induction +otors

- 5lternate %o<er Sources

Short circuit calculations should be done at all critical points in the system. These <ould

include:

- Service Entrance - Transfer S<itches

- %anel 4oards - ;oad Centers

- +otor Control Centers - 3isconnects

- +otor Starters - +otor Starters

Normally, short circuit studies involve calculating a bolted /-phase fault condition. This

can be characteri@ed as all /-phases BboltedC together to create a @ero impedance

connection. This establishes a B<orst caseC 1highest current2 condition that results in

ma>imum three phase thermal and mechanical stress in the system. :rom this

calculation, other types of fault conditions can be appro>imated. This B<orst caseC condition

should be used for interrupting rating, component protection and selective coordination.

9o<ever, in doing an arc-flash ha@ard analysis it is recommended to do the arcflash ha@ard

analysis at the highest bolted / phase short circuit condition and at the

BminimumC bolted three-phase short circuit condition. There are several variables in a

distribution system that affect calculated bolted /-phase short-circuit currents. It is

important to select the variable values applicable for the specific application analysis. In

the %oint-to-%oint method presented in this section there are several adDustment factors

given in Notes and footnotes that can be applied that <ill affect the outcomes. The

variables are utility source short circuit capabilities, motor contribution, transformer percent

impedance tolerance, and voltage variance.

In most situations, the utility source1s2 or on-site energy sources, such as on-site

generation, are the maDor short-circuit current contributors. In the %oint-to-%oint method

presented in the ne>t fe< pages, the steps and e>ample assume an infinite available

short-circuit current from the utility source. *enerally this is a good assumption for

highest <orst case conditions and since the property o<ner has no control over the

utility system and future utility changes. 5nd in many cases a large increase in the utility

available does not increase the short-circuit currents a great deal for a building system

on the secondary of the service transformer. 9o<ever, there are cases <here the actual

utility medium voltage available provides a more accurate short circuit assessment

1minimum bolted short-circuit current conditions2 that may be desired to assess the arcflash

ha@ard.

Ehen there are motors in the system, motor short circuit contribution is also a very

important factor that must be included in any short-circuit current analysis. Ehen a short

circuit occurs, motor contribution adds to the magnitude of the short-circuit current.

running motors contribute ' to 7 times their normal full load current. In addition, series

rated combinations can not be used in specific situations due to motor short circuit

contributions 1see the section on Series $atings in this boo,2.

:or capacitor discharge currents, <hich are of short time duration, certain IEEE 1Institute

of Electrical and Electronic Engineers2 publications detail ho< to calculate these

currents if they are substantial.

%rocedures and +ethods

To determine the fault current at any point in the system, first dra< a one-line

diagram sho<ing all of the sources of short-circuit current feeding into the fault, as

<ell as the impedances of the circuit components.

To begin the study, the system components, including those of the utility system,

are represented as impedances in the diagram.

The impedance tables include three-phase and single-phase transformers, cable,

and bus<ay. These tables can be used if information from the manufacturers is not

readily available.

It must be understood that short circuit calculations are performed <ithout

current-limiting devices in the system. Calculations are done as though these

devices are replaced <ith copper bars, to determine the ma>imum BavailableC

short-circuit current. This is necessary to proDect ho< the system and the currentlimiting devices

<ill perform.

5lso, multiple current-limiting devices do not operate in series to produce a

BcompoundingC current-limiting effect. The do<nstream, or load side, fuse <ill

operate alone under a short circuit condition if properly coordinated.

The application of the point-to-point method permits the determination of available

short-circuit currents <ith a reasonable degree of accuracy at various points for

either /F or !F electrical distribution systems. This method can assume unlimited

primary short-circuit current 1infinite bus2 or it can be used <ith limited primary

available curren

4asic %oint-to-%oint Calculation %rocedure

Step !. 3etermine the transformer full load amps 1:.;.5.2 from

either the nameplate, the follo<ing formulas or Table !:

+ultiplier G !""

HI Jtransformer

/F :aults f G!.8/& >

; > I

/F

C > n > E;-;

!F ;ine-to-;ine 1;-;2 :aults & >

; > I

;-; See Note ( 6 Table / f GC > n > E;-;

!F ;ine-to-Neutral 1;-N2 :aults

& >

; > I

;-NK

See Note ( 6 Table / f G

C > n > E;-N

Ehere:

; G length 1feet2 of conductor to the fault.

C G constant from Table ' of BCC values for conductors and

Table ( of BCC values for bus<ay.

n G Number of conductors per phase 1adDusts C value for

parallel runs2

I G 5vailable short-circuit current in amperes at beginning

of circuit.

E G Loltage of circuit.

+5IN

T$5NS:=$+E$

9.L. ATI;ITM

C=NNECTI=N

I

S.C. primary I

S.C. secondary

I

S.C. secondary I

S.C. primary

+ G !

! Nf

I

S.C. sym. $+S G IS.C. > +

/F Transformer

1IS.C. primary and f G

I

S.C. primary > L

primary>

!.8/ 1IJ2

I

S.C. secondary are !"",""" >

L transformer

/F fault values2

!F Transformer

1IS.C. primaryand

I

S.C. secondaryare f G

I

S.C. primary > L

primary > 1IJ2

!F fault values: !"",""" > L transformer

I

S.C. secondary is ;-;2

+ G !

! Nf

I

S.C. secondary G

L

primary

> + > I

S.C. primary Lsecondary

Step &. :ind the transformer multiplier. See Notes ! and &

H Note !. *et IJ from nameplate or Table !. Transformer impedance 1J2 helps to

determine <hat the short circuit current <ill be at the transformer secondary.

Transformer impedance is determined as follo<s: The transformer secondary is short

circuited. Loltage is increased on the primary until full load current flo<s in the

secondary. This applied voltage divided by the rated primary voltage 1times !""2 is the

impedance of the transformer.

E>ample: :or a '0" Lolt rated primary, if #.7 volts causes secondary full load current to

flo< through the shorted secondary, the transformer impedance is #.7O'0" G ."& G &IJ.

H Note &. In addition, A; 1Std. !(7!2 listed transformers &(,L5 and larger have a P !"I

impedance tolerance. Short circuit amps can be affected by this tolerance. Therefore, for

high end <orst case, multiply IJ by .#. :or lo< end of <orst case, multiply IJ by !.!.

Transformers constructed to 5NSI standards have a P8.(I impedance tolerance 1t<o<inding

construction2.

Step /. 3etermine by formula or Table ! the transformer letthrough short-circuit current. See

Notes / and '.

Note /. Atility voltages may vary P!"I for po<er and P(.0I for !&" Lolt lighting services.

Therefore, for highest short circuit conditions, multiply values as calculated in step

/ by !.! or !."(0 respectively. To find the lo<er end <orst case, multiply results in step

/ by .# or .#'& respectively.

Note '.+otor short circuit contribution, if significant, may be added at all fault locations

throughout the system. 5 practical estimate of motor short circuit contribution is to multiply the

total motor current in amps by '. Lalues of ' to 7 are commonly accepted.

Step '. Calculate the QfQ factor.

Step 7. Calculate the available short circuit symmetrical $+S

current at the point of fault. 5dd motor contribution, if

applicable.

%rocedure for Second Transformer in System

Step 5. Calculate the QfQ factor 1IS.C. primary ,no<n2

Step 4. Calculate Q+Q 1multiplier2.

Step C. Calculate the short-circuit current at the secondary of the

transformer. 1See Note under Step / of Q4asic %oint-to%oint Calculation %rocedureQ.2

K Note (. The ;-N fault current is higher than the ;-; fault current at the secondary terminals of

a single-phase center-tapped transformer. The short-circuit current available 1I2

for this case in Step ' should be adDusted at the transformer terminals as follo<s: 5t ;-N

center tapped transformer terminals, I;-N G !.( > I;-; at Transformer Terminals.

4asic %oint-to-%oint Calculation %rocedure

Step !. 3etermine the transformer full load amps 1:.;.5.2 from

either the nameplate, the follo<ing formulas or Table !:

+ultiplier G !""

HI Jtransformer

/F :aults f G!.8/& >

; > I

/F

C > n > E;-;

!F ;ine-to-;ine 1;-;2 :aults & >

; > I

;-; See Note ( 6 Table / f GC > n > E;-;

!F ;ine-to-Neutral 1;-N2 :aults

& >

; > I

;-NK

See Note ( 6 Table / f G

C > n > E;-N

Ehere:

; G length 1feet2 of conductor to the fault.

C G constant from Table ' of BCC values for conductors and

Table ( of BCC values for bus<ay.

n G Number of conductors per phase 1adDusts C value for

parallel runs2

I G 5vailable short-circuit current in amperes at beginning

of circuit.

E G Loltage of circuit.

+5IN

T$5NS:=$+E$

9.L. ATI;ITM

C=NNECTI=N

I

S.C. primary I

S.C. secondary

I

S.C. secondary I

S.C. primary

+ G !

! Nf

I

S.C. sym. $+S G IS.C. > +

/F Transformer

1IS.C. primary and f G

I

S.C. primary > L

primary>

!.8/ 1IJ2

I

S.C. secondary are !"",""" >

L transformer

/F fault values2

!F Transformer

1IS.C. primaryand

I

S.C. secondaryare f G

I

S.C. primary > L

primary > 1IJ2

!F fault values: !"",""" > L transformer

I

S.C. secondary is ;-;2

+ G !

! Nf

I

S.C. secondary G

L

primary

> + > I

S.C. primary Lsecondary

Step &. :ind the transformer multiplier. See Notes ! and &

H Note !. *et IJ from nameplate or Table !. Transformer impedance 1J2 helps to

determine <hat the short circuit current <ill be at the transformer secondary.

Transformer impedance is determined as follo<s: The transformer secondary is short

circuited. Loltage is increased on the primary until full load current flo<s in the

secondary. This applied voltage divided by the rated primary voltage 1times !""2 is the

impedance of the transformer.

E>ample: :or a '0" Lolt rated primary, if #.7 volts causes secondary full load current to

flo< through the shorted secondary, the transformer impedance is #.7O'0" G ."& G &IJ.

H Note &. In addition, A; 1Std. !(7!2 listed transformers &(,L5 and larger have a P !"I

impedance tolerance. Short circuit amps can be affected by this tolerance. Therefore, for

high end <orst case, multiply IJ by .#. :or lo< end of <orst case, multiply IJ by !.!.

Transformers constructed to 5NSI standards have a P8.(I impedance tolerance 1t<o<inding

construction2.

Step /. 3etermine by formula or Table ! the transformer letthrough short-circuit current. See

Notes / and '.

Note /. Atility voltages may vary P!"I for po<er and P(.0I for !&" Lolt lighting services.

Therefore, for highest short circuit conditions, multiply values as calculated in step

/ by !.! or !."(0 respectively. To find the lo<er end <orst case, multiply results in step

/ by .# or .#'& respectively.

Note '.+otor short circuit contribution, if significant, may be added at all fault locations

throughout the system. 5 practical estimate of motor short circuit contribution is to multiply the

total motor current in amps by '. Lalues of ' to 7 are commonly accepted.

Step '. Calculate the QfQ factor.

Step 7. Calculate the available short circuit symmetrical $+S

current at the point of fault. 5dd motor contribution, if

applicable.

%rocedure for Second Transformer in System

Step 5. Calculate the QfQ factor 1IS.C. primary ,no<n2

Step 4. Calculate Q+Q 1multiplier2.

Step C. Calculate the short-circuit current at the secondary of the

transformer. 1See Note under Step / of Q4asic %oint-to%oint Calculation %rocedureQ.2

K Note (. The ;-N fault current is higher than the ;-; fault current at the secondary terminals of

a single-phase center-tapped transformer. The short-circuit current available 1I2

for this case in Step ' should be adDusted at the transformer terminals as follo<s: 5t ;-N

center tapped transformer terminals, I;-N G !.( > I;-; at Transformer Terminals.

5t some distance from the terminals, depending upon <ire si@e, the ;-N fault

current is lo<er than the ;-; fault current. The !.( multiplier is an appro>imation

and <ill theoretically vary from !.// to !.78. These figures are based on change in

turns ratio bet<een primary and secondary, infinite source available, @ero feet from

terminals of transformer, and !.& > IR and !.( > I$ for ;-N vs. ;-; resistance and

reactance values. 4egin ;-N calculations at transformer secondary terminals, then

proceed point-to-point.

Step (. Calculate Q+Q 1multiplier2 or ta,e from Table &.

Step 75. +otor short circuit contribution, if significant, may be

added at all fault locations throughout the system. 5

practical estimate of motor short circuit contribution is to

multiply the total motor current in amps by '. Lalues of '

to 7 are commonly accepted.

Calculation of Short-Circuit Currents at

Second Transformer in System

Ase the follo<ing procedure to calculate the level of fault current at the secondary

Short Circuit Current Calculations

Three-%hase Short Circuits

:ault R&

Step '. f G !.8/& >

&" >

//,&!(

G .!"'# & >

!!,'&' >

'0"

Step (. + G ! G .#"(

! N .!"'#

Step 7. IS.C.sym $+S G //,&!( > .#"( G /","(#5

:ault R/

Step 5. f G

/","(# >

'0" >

!.8/& > !.&

G !./// !"",""" >

&&(

Step 4. + G

!

G .'&07 ! N !.///

Step C. I

S.C. sym $+S G

'0" > .'&07 >

/","(#

G &#,8/!5 &"0

System 4 :ault R!

Step !. If.l. G

!""" >

!""" G !&"/5

'0" >

!.8/&

Step &. +ultiplier G

!""

G &0.(8 /.(

Step /. IS.C.G !&"/ >

&0.(8 G /',/8"5

Step '. f G

!.8/& >

/" >

/',/8"

G ."/'0 &7,8"7 >

' >

'0"

Step (. + G

!

G .#77' ! N ."/'0

Step 7. IS.C.sym $+S G /',/8" > .#77' G

//,&!(5

5vailable Atility

Infinite 5ssumption

!""" SL5 Transformer,

'0"L, /F,

/.(IJ

If.l.G !&"/5

/"? - ("" ,cmil

' %er %hase

Copper in %LC Conduit

!7""5 S<itch

S$%-C-!(""S% :use

:ault R!

'""5 S<itch

;%S-$S-/("S% :use

&"? - &O"

& %er %hase

Copper in %LC Conduit

:ault R&

&&( SL5 transformer,

&"0L, /F

!.&IJ

:ault R/

=ne-;ine 3iagram

!

/

&

5vailable Atility

Infinite 5ssumption

!("" SL5 Transformer,

'0"L, /F, /.(IJ,

/.'(IR, .(7I$

If.l. G!0"'5

&(T - ("",cmil

7 %er %hase

Service Entrance

Conductors in Steel Conduit

&"""5 S<itch

S$%-C-&"""S% :use

:ault R!

'""5 S<itch

;%S-$S-'""S% :use

("T - ("" ,cmil

:eeder Cable

in Steel Conduit

:ault R&

+otor Contribution

:ault R!

Step !. If.l. G

!("" >

!"""

G !0"'5 '0" >

!.8/&

Step &. +ultiplier G !"" G &0.(8

/.(

Step /. IS.C.G!0"' >

&0.(8 G (!,('"5

I

S.C. motor contrib G ' >

!,0"'H G 8,&!75

Itotal S.C. sym $+S G (!,("' N 8,&!7 G (0,8&"5

Step '. f G

!.8/& >

&( >

(!,('"

G "."/'# &&,!0( >

7 >

'0"

Step (. + G

!

G .#77/ ! N ."/'#

Step 7. IS.C.sym $+S G (!,('" > .#77/ G '#,0"/5

I

S.C.motor contrib G ' >

!,0"'H G 8,&!75

ItotalS.C. sym $+S G '#,0"/ N 8,&!7 G (8,"!#5

1fault R!2

System 5 =ne-;ine 3iagram

!

&

:ault R&

Step '. Ase IS.C.sym $+S U :ault R! to calculate BfC

f G

!.8/& >

(" >

'#,0"/

G .'"(" &&,!0( >

'0"

Step (. + G

!

G .8!!8 ! N .'"("

Step 7. IS.C.sym $+S G '#,0"/ > .8!!8 G /(,''(5

I

sym motor contrib G ' >

!,0"'H G 8,&!75

Itotal S.C. sym $+S

1fault R&

2

G /(,''( N 8,&!7 G '&,77!5

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