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Technical Current Ratings for

Guidance Note Cables

Issue 1
August 1996
Contents Page
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Construction of Cables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Temperature Limits for Cable Insulation . . . 5
Cable Sheath Bonding Systems . . . . . . . . . 6
Methods of Cable Installation . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Thermal Resistance of Cable Environment . 9
Cables in Air . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Artificial Cooling of Cables . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Cable Rating Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Rating Seasons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Rating Parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Ratings of Cables as Part of a Circuit . . . . 16
Derating of Cables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Guidance in Specifying Cable Ratings . . . 19
Ratings of Typical Cable Systems . . . . . . . 21
Characteristics of Cable Circuits . . . . . . . . 22
Circuit Thermal Monitor Ratings . . . . . . . . 23
Appendices A - F . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Tables 1 - 62 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Figures 1 - 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Authorised by:
Dr A Wilson
Transformers & Cables Manager
Technology and Science Division
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The National Grid Company plc 1996
No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in
any form or by any means electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without
the written permission of the NGC obtained from
the issuing location.
Registered Office
National Grid House
Kirby Corner Road
Registered in
England and Wales
No. 2366977
Published by:
The National Grid Company plc
Burymead House
Portsmouth Road
Guildford, Surrey GU2 5BN
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August 1996
This Technical Guidance Note (TGN) provides information on the parameters which are taken into
account when a cable installation requires to be designed to meet a specific current rating. It also
provides information on the factors which govern the ratings of cables and which need to be considered
when existing cable ratings are revised or extended to meet The National Grid Company plc (NGC)
needs. Unlike many other items of transmission equipment cable installations are usually individually
tailored to meet the declared rating and installation requirements of the purchaser. Whilst it is difficult
to provide specific continuous current ratings for cables to match overhead line ratings which are
universally applicable, an indication of suitable cable sizes and installation details has been provided.
Methods of calculating continuous and short-term cable ratings based on IEC requirements are
described. Alternative simpler methods of providing conservative ratings are also discussed. The
application of the main cable rating programs used in off-line rating calculations and also in the Cable
System Monitor (CSM) is described. An overview of the programs is given in a separate Technical
Report and the individual programs have their own user guides and reports.
The program GIMLI has been used to calculate a wide variety of cable ratings for directly buried cables,
cables in troughs and in air and water-cooled cables of various constructions installed in specific ways.
In addition a wide range of tabulated ratings are provided for directly buried cables and cables in air with
many different conductor sizes - these were supplied by one of the UK cable manufacturers and should
only be used for general guidance.

This TGN outlines the factors which affect the current ratings of cables and provides tables of continuous
and short-term ratings applicable to directly buried cables, cables in troughs and in air and water-cooled
cables for particular conditions. An indication of cable sizes required to match the overhead line ratings
given in TGN(T)26 is also given. The coverage of cables is generally comprehensive for voltages down
to 132 kV while there is no attempt to provide current ratings for cables below 66 kV. This TGN does
not include details of the short circuit ratings applicable to cables.

Ball et al Self-Contained Oil-Filled Cables Systems: British Service Experience, Rating
Practice and Future Potentialities. CIGRE 1972 21-02
Bungay et al Electric Cables Handbook. BSP Professional Books 1982
CEGB Standard 993208 Special Backfill Materials for Cable Installations
Electra No 104 Current Ratings of Cables Buried in Partially Dried Out Soil
Electra No 145 Determinations of a Value of Critical Temperature Rise for a Cable Backfill
Endacott et al Thermal Design Parameters Used for High Capacity EHV Cable Circuits in
Great Britain. CIGRE 1970 21-03
ERA F/T 186 Methods for the Calculation of Cyclic Rating Factors and Emergency Loading
for Cables Laid Direct in the Ground or in Ducts.
IEC 287 Calculation of the Continuous Current Rating of Cables (100% Load Factor).
IEC 853-2 Calculation of the Cyclic and Emergency Current Rating of Cables. 1989
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Kaye and Laby Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants 1986
King et al Underground Power Cables. Longman 1982
Larsen at al Cable Rating Methods Applied to a Real-Time Cable System Monitor. IEE
Conference Publication No 382
NGTS 2.5 132 kV, 275 kV and 400 kV Single Core Cable.
NGTS 3.5.1 Oil-Filled 132 kV, 275 kV and 400 kV Cable.
NGTS 3.5.2 132 kV, 275 kV and 400 kV XLPE Cable & Accessories.
NGTS 3.5.3 Sheath Voltage Limiters for Insulated Sheath Cable Systems.
NGTS 3.5.4 Sheath Bonding and Earthing for Insulated Sheath Cable Systems.
NGTS 3.5.5 Cable Temperature Monitoring.
NGTS 3.5.7 Installation Requirements for Power and Auxiliary Cables.
NGTS 3.5.8 Cable Cooling Systems.
OShea et al Cable System Monitor. IEE Conference Publication No 382
TGN(T)26 Current Ratings for Overhead Lines.
TGN(T)29 Transformer Loading Guide.
TGN(T)68 Thermally Limited Continuous Current Ratings for Switchgear.
TGN(T)98 Application of Circuit Thermal Ratings.
TGN(T)109 Thermally Limited Continuous Current Ratings for 132 kV Switchgear.
TGN(T)113 User Guide to the Critical Unit Program (CUP).
TR(T)203 Factors Which May Limit the Working Life of Fluid-Filled Paper Cables.
TR(T)233 Increasing the Ratings of NGCs Lines in the UK.
TR(T)238 A Review of Cable Rating Software.
TR(T)240 An Investigation into Methods of Calculating the Cyclic and Emergency Current
Ratings for Cables.
Weedy Underground Transmission of Electric Power. Wiley 1980
Williams Natural and Forced-cooling of HV Underground Cables: UK Practice.
IEE PROC Vol 129 Pt A No 3 May 1982
Backfill: Material in the immediate vicinity of the cable.
Trench Filling: Material above the cable covers.
Soil: Material outside the cable trench.
Cable Environment: The total environment of the cable, ie backfill, trench filling and soil.
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Unspecified Backfill: Material, usually sand, found in early cable installations. Its thermal characteristics
are unknown but the thermal resistivity may be assumed to be 3.0 Km/W when dry.
Selected Sand Backfill: Sand obtained from selected sources chosen on the basis of density and
cohesion characteristics so that the dried-out thermal resistivity does not exceed 2.7 Km/W.
Stabilized Backfill: Composite material specially selected and blended so that the dried-out thermal
resistivity does not exceed 1.2 Km/W.
Laying Depths: Depth to cable centres for cables in flat formation. (Manufacturers sometimes refer to
depth to top of cable and NGTS 3.5.7 refers to the depth to the top of the protective covers over the
power cables).
In the design of a high voltage cable system both the electrical and thermal requirements of the cable
must be considered. The designer is required to provide adequate electrical insulation around the
conductor and, whilst endeavouring to minimise the generation of heat within the cable when loaded,
he must also ensure its ready dissipation. Therefore the voltage and current rating requirements of the
cable system are crucial to its design. The voltage determines the insulation requirements whilst the
current rating is determined by the allowable temperature rise and hence the heat transfer capability of
the cable, which depends on the installation conditions.
Heat within a high voltage cable is generated within the conductor, the dielectric and the metallic sheath.
The flow of alternating current in the conductors of single core cables causes voltages to be induced in
their metallic sheaths which under certain conditions cause large currents to flow and generate heat in
the sheath. These sheath losses together with those in the dielectric and the conductor have to be taken
into account when designing a cable system to carry a specific current.
The cable system designer will attempt to minimise both conductor and dielectric losses by choice of
suitable materials and construction. In addition to exercising similar options for the metallic sheath the
designer may choose a method of bonding and earthing the cable sheaths which will assist in preventing
or minimising sheath circulating currents, and thereby reduce the heat generated in the sheath.
There have been many articles written on UK practice for undergrounding sections of the power system.
The majority of the cables were installed in the 1960s and CIGRE articles by Endacott et al and Ball et
al were useful summaries. An IEE review article by Williams provided a comprehensive coverage of
many aspects of cable installation. This TGN provides a more detailed account of thermal rating
methodology with many examples quoted. A recent report on Increasing the Rating of NGCs Overhead
Lines, TR(T)233, illustrates the need for cable ratings and cable ratings methods to provide similar
5.1 Conductors
These are formed from copper or aluminium. Within NGC copper is predominant and only one circuit
has aluminium conductor in part of its length. A cross-sectional view of a typical 275 kV cable is shown
in Figure 1. The conductor is made from stranded copper with enamel insulation and in the larger sizes
the strands are grouped in sectors around a central fluid duct in the construction named after Milliken.
The objectives are to produce a mechanically stable structure with flexibility and with minimised electrical
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NGTS 3.5.1 describes some of the characteristics of this type of cable. A full account of power cable
construction is given in the book by Bungay and McAllister, formerly with BICC, and shorter accounts
are given by King and Halfter and by Weedy.
5.2 Conductor Screening
Carbon-loaded paper or metallized carbon-loaded paper layers are used around the formed conductors
to provide an electrical screen. This screening is intended to eliminate the enhancement in the electrical
stress in the insulation that would be caused by the strands of the conductors.
It is particularly important that this screening removes the electrical stress in the fluid that is in the
interstices of the individual strands of the outer layers of the conductor.
5.3 Insulation
Under a.c. conditions the most highly stressed area of a cable is that immediately adjacent to the
conductor. This stress at the conductor surface is associated both with the diameter of the conductor
and its shape, in general smaller conductors have thicker insulation than larger conductors for a given
voltage rating and maximum stress. The required thickness of the fluid-paper insulation is determined
by the maximum voltage gradient it can tolerate under impulse voltage conditions. This stress is
dependent on the applied voltage, conductor diameter and insulation thickness, and under a.c.
conditions is a maximum at the conductor screen surface. An alternative to fluid-paper dielectric is to
use a fluid/polypropylene/paper laminate (PPL) dielectric which has the advantage of lower dielectric
losses. Several cables with this construction are now operating on the NGC system.
5.4 Metallic Sheathing Materials
Lead or lead alloy sheaths have been used for fluid-filled cables for many years. Such lead sheaths are
extruded directly onto the completed and processed insulated conductor. In order to provide mechanical
strengthening of the lead sheath tin-bronze reinforcing tapes are wound helically around it.
This reinforcement is necessary in order that the sheath is able to withstand the hoop stress imposed
upon it by the hydraulic pressures within the cables. These pressures are determined by both the static
pressures resulting from the cable route and by fluid volume variations resulting from temperature
changes due to continuous and transient loading and to changes in ambient conditions.
Corrugated seamless aluminium (CSA) sheaths were developed and are now used in preference to
lead. This construction of sheath is inherently strong and flexible. This strength means that the sheath
can be relatively thin and also that it does not require reinforcement. It therefore generally offers
significant economies over reinforced lead sheaths, although in certain circumstances the higher sheath
losses result in lead alloy sheaths being preferred. Again such sheaths are applied in a continuous
extrusion process.
5.5 Anti-Corrosion Protective Sheaths or Oversheaths
It is necessary to protect both lead and aluminium sheaths from corrosive attack. Initially self-vulcanising
rubber tapes wound around the cable were used, later PVC was used for the oversheath and now
polyethylene is the material used. It is applied by a continuous extrusion process over the completed
cable. In the early days of cable installation the oversheath was also known as the cable serving.
5.6 Armour
Armour is not usually applied to fluid-filled cables unless the installation conditions are particularly
hazardous or the cable requires mechanical support in deep shafts. Such armour may be comprised
of galvanised steel wires although aluminium or other non- ferrous material are used for single-core
cables to avoid the losses in the magnetic materials.
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5.7 Extruded Cables
A type of cable presently in wide use at lower transmission voltages has a solid extruded polyethylene
insulation which is normally cross linked to produce a thermosetting material with a higher maximum
operating temperature. NGC has a trial length of such a cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) cable
operating at 275 kV and has an increasing number of 132 kV cables installed. NGTS 3.5.2 describes
some of the characteristics of this type of cable.
Generally for most items of primary transmission equipment the quality of the insulation performance
decreases with increase in temperature. For this reason maximum temperatures are quoted as
references for their design and construction. This decrease in insulation quality with enhanced
temperatures has two aspects, the reduction in the short-term electrical performance of the cable and
the enhanced rate of mechanical and chemical deterioration or ageing of the cable over many years.
The factors which are influenced by temperature and thereby impinge on the insulation performance in
the longer term are detailed below:-
(i) The dielectric loss angle, which is an indication of the quality of the insulation, increases with
temperature and also with ageing due to deterioration of the physical and chemical properties of the
(ii) Differential expansion of the component parts of the cable system occurs and these must be
considered in the thermo-mechanical design of the installation.
(iii) Increased electrical discharge activity may occur. Cellulose paper suffers a loss of mechanical
strength due to thermal ageing and certain gases such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide may
evolve. Eventually, this gassing could lead to electrical breakdown but all the evidence suggests that
NGC cables are far from this condition. The cable fluid is generally capable of absorbing all the gases
evolved in normal services. In IEC documents it is generally supposed that the ageing rate of fluid-
cellulose paper insulation doubles for every 6K rise above its design temperature.
When a cable is loaded it will be appreciated that the layer of insulation immediately in contact with the
conductor attains the highest temperature. On the application of a step load change it may often take
a very long time for the cable to attain a steady state temperature. In order to be able to assess the
effects of the transient heating of cables it is necessary to know how the cable and its thermal
surroundings will respond to such step function loads. This is essentially a problem of heat conduction
in which both the thermal capacities of the cable and its environment have to be taken into account. The
solutions of such transient loadings are complex and various assumptions and simplifications have to
be made for routine applications. In general for all cable current rating calculations these assumptions
include the following:-
(i) That the soil thermal resistivity is constant, although dual resistivity regions can also be dealt with,
(ii) That the soil thermal capacity is constant,
(iii) That the electrical resistivity of the conductor is constant and equal to that at the rated steady state
conductor temperature although in the case of calculations by the GIMLI program the effect of
temperature-dependent conductor resistivity is included.
Such assumptions enable the calculation of the transient rating of cables to be mathematically
manageable. Presently the maximum acceptable operating temperature of the conductor of a fluid-filled
cable is limited to 90
C. This value has increased from the previously accepted maximum of 85
C which
applies to the majority of present NGC cables. These maximum design temperatures are such that
cables have a planned life expectancy of 40 years if operated continuously at such temperatures. NGC
and the cable companies are collaborating in research aimed at introducing a maximum emergency
conductor temperature of up to 105
C over the next few years. This work is described in a recent
report, TR(T)203.
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A number of methods of bonding and earthing single core cable sheaths are commonly used. These
can be broadly categorised as follows:-
Solid Bonding - Sheaths are bonded and earthed at each end of the route, so that every sheath is at
or near earth potential throughout its length. Cables in close trefoil configuration can often be solidly
bonded since the configuration minimises induced sheath voltages and consequential circulating

Single Point Bonding - Sheaths are bonded together and earthed at one position only. Although a
voltage will be induced in the sheath, circulating currents will not occur.
Cross Bonding - Sheaths are sectioned along the cable route and cross connected to minimise the
vector sum of the induced sheath voltages. Hence the circulating currents in three consecutive similar
sections will sum to zero.

Single point and cross bonded systems are commonly referred to as Specially Bonded Systems. These
methods have the following advantages:-
(i) Reduction of sheath losses and heat generated. Hence for the same current capability smaller
conductors can be used than would be possible with a solidly bonded system.
(ii) Wider spacing of cables can be adopted. Improving heat dissipation enables smaller conductors to
be used or increased current ratings to be achieved.
However Specially Bonded Cables do possess several disadvantages over Solidly Bonded Systems,
which are:-
(i) The cable metallic sheath and joints must be insulated from earth along the cable section length and
only connected to earth in an approved manner.
(ii) Insulation has to be inserted into the cable sheaths to create specific section lengths. This is usually
achieved by the use of sheath sectionalising insulation incorporated in joint cases.
(iii) Dependent upon the cable section length, the phase spacing and the current being carried, a
standing voltage is present on the cable sheath and joints. For 400 kV and 275 kV systems this is
presently limited to 150 volts but earlier installations may have been restricted to the 50 volt or 65 volt
limits prescribed at the time.
(iv) Transients resulting from switching surges, lightning or fault conditions may cause high voltages to
appear across the joint sectionalising insulation and cable oversheath.
(v) Special measures have to be taken to limit both the steady state and transient voltages experienced
by Specially Bonded Cable Systems to within acceptable values.
A schematic diagram of a cross bonding system is shown in Figure 2. NGTS 3.5.3 describes Sheath
Voltage Limiters (SVLs) for insulated sheath cable systems and NGTS 3.5.4 describes sheath bonding
and earthing methods for such systems.
There are many different types of cable installation and any one cable system may employ more than
one such type. The five usual methods of laying underground power cables are as follows:-
(i) Laid directly in the ground in a specially excavated trench which after the cable has been laid in
stabilised backfill of known thermal resistivity is backfilled with soil.
(ii) Laid in concrete surface troughs filled with a stabilised backfill of known thermal resistivity.
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(iii) Laid in open ducts or troughs which have been specially constructed for the purpose.
(iv) Laid in ducts or pipes through which the cables are drawn and which are then filled with a low
thermal resistivity material.
(v) In tunnels either specially constructed ones or ones which may have been built for other purposes,
such as for road or rail traffic.
The different types are described below together with an appreciation of the factors which govern the
ratings of cables laid in such a manner. Most of the 275 kV and 400 kV cable circuits on the NGC
system were laid in the 1960s. Accounts of many of the cable rating concerns and methodologies were
described in CIGRE papers by Endacott et al in 1970 and Ball et al in 1972.
8.1 Directly Buried Naturally Cooled Cables
The rate at which heat is transferred from the cable conductors to a heat sink depends on both the
temperature difference between them and the total thermal resistance of the cable and its surroundings.
The heat transfer by conduction in a cable and its surround is analogous to the flow of current in an
electrical system. Thus thermal resistivity, a term frequently used in the determination of cable ratings,
is directly analogous to electrical resistivity. It can therefore be appreciated that different materials will
have differing thermal resistivities and the network of these that comprise the cable components and its
surroundings will determine its rating.
The ability of a material to store heat, as its thermal capacity, is the product of its density and specific
heat. This storage of heat is analogous to the storage of energy in a capacitor. The stored heat may
be dissipated by conduction, radiation and convection from the cooling surfaces. We may consider the
thermal network of the cable system to be composed of thermal resistances and thermal capacitances
as shown in Figure 3.
Complicated networks may be required or it may be that a single resistance, R, and capacitance, C, may
be an adequate model for the cable. For such a single network after a step change in heating it can be
shown that the relationship between temperature rise and time is:
Where !
= HR is the steady state temperature rise, " = RC is the thermal time constant of the cable,
H is the steady heat input to the cable conductor, R is the thermal resistance between the conductor and
the eventual heat sink and C is the effective thermal capacity of the system.
Most items of power equipment have temperature rise versus time characteristics which require more
than one term to model the response. When heat runs are carried out on equipment the temperature
may appear to level out in the short term but if the test is continued the temperatures may be seen to
continue to rise even though such a rise was imperceptible in the shorter time scale. This is often the
case with cables which take many tens of hours before reaching an equilibrium condition.
For cable installations the direct measurement of the conductor temperature whilst it is at working
voltage is not yet a practical possibility. However, monitoring the temperature of the oversheath is
possible using thermocouples or more recently fibre optic measuring equipment. NGTS 3.5.5 describes
how such fibre optic temperature measuring equipment can be installed on power cables. The accurate
prediction of the thermal conditions within a cable, usually without the benefit of any temperature
measurements, is of considerable importance.
Since the capital cost of cables is high in comparison to overhead lines significant savings may be made
by being able to increase the rating of a cable by what may seem quite a small amount. It is therefore
desirable that the thermal model used to predict the cable temperatures and hence its rating is as
accurate as possible. The uncertainties of the cable environment make accurate modelling difficult.
The considerable efforts which have been put into this subject over recent years has been inspired by
the significant savings which can be made.
The dielectric of a single core cable represents the major internal thermal resistance of the cable.
The other constituent parts of a cable such as the screens, bedding layers, metallic sheaths and the
oversheaths also have thermal resistances which need to be taken into account. The thermal resistance
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of the cable environment is similarly influential in determining the rate of heat flow from the cable outer
surface. Thus the thermal resistivity of the material which surrounds the cable and that which is used
to backfill the cable trench is important and should be considered carefully when designing or carrying
out work on the cable system. These matters are discussed further in the Section 9.
8.2 Filled Surface Troughs

This type of installation has been frequently used alongside railways, canals, within substations and for
some routes around cities and through the countryside. In such installations the cables are generally
placed with a relatively small separation between the phases in concrete troughs which have reinforced
and sometimes interlocked concrete lids for mechanical protection.
The thermal resistances external to the cable are those of the trough filling and its surroundings and the
thermal resistance of the trough surface to the air. Special backfill materials are again used to reduce
the thermal resistivity of the material immediately surrounding the cable. It has been shown that up to
half of the total heat dissipated by the cable may flow through the trough lid and therefore it is important
that the lid is kept in close contact with the backfill. Solar radiation has a marked effect on the ability of
the trough lid to dissipate heat and for shallow troughs will cause significant daily variations in the cable
8.3 Unfilled Surface Troughs
If the cable troughs are not ventilated then the trough is effectively a large duct in which the still air has
a relatively high thermal resistivity of 40 Km/W. They are also affected by solar radiation like filled
troughs. Such installations are of low thermal capacity and the effective time constant of the cables will
be short.
The use of grilles instead of concrete covers allows natural convection of the air in the trough to occur,
thereby permitting air circulation which improves the cooling of the cable. However, unless special
measures are taken solar radiation will have an adverse effect on the cable rating. Solar shields have
been used for cable in troughs with open grilles for ventilation.
8.4 Cables in Ducts or Pipes
Where such routes are available they have the advantage of allowing the cable installation to take place
without costly and disruptive excavation. In order to preserve the required thermal environment around
the cable it is preferable that such ducts are filled with a grout composed of sand, cement and a
bentonite mixture. Such mixtures are usually of a consistency that allows them to be pumped in once
the cable is in situ. This enables the duct sections of cables to have improved thermal ratings and also
provides similar mechanical support to the directly buried sections. There is however a limit on the
length of duct which may be filled in this way.
8.5 Cables in Tunnels
Cables in tunnels have been cooled by a variety of means. The major consideration is how to deal with
the cable heating when the tunnel may be several kilometres long and it is not clear how much heat will
be absorbed by the rock strata and percolated water. Cables in tunnels have usually been forced cooled
by air or by water and the considerations of fire hazard and potential high tunnel ambient temperatures
need to be included. Generally water cooled systems when initially installed have proved to be
unnecessary in the longer term. Water cooling has been de-commissioned in the Woodhead tunnel, the
Thames tunnel and the Fawley tunnel. Forced air circulation plus other specific measures, such as
removing trough lids to enhance air circulation, have proved adequate once the actual load and the
effect of heat lost to the strata and ground water is assessed in reality. Direct water cooling of cables
in the Severn tunnel is still operational.
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When carrying out rating calculations the soil is assumed to have a constant thermal resistivity although
in practice this may not be true since the soil will contain moisture which may migrate when the cable
temperature rises as it carries current. If such drying out is allowed to continue then the thermal
resistivity of the soil will rise, resulting in less efficient heat transfer from the cable. Ultimately the rate
of heat generation within the cable would exceed the rate of dissipation into the soil and thermal
instability or runaway might occur with consequent damage to the cable. It is therefore essential to have
knowledge of the characteristics of soils and the mechanisms of moisture migration so that cables can
be assigned ratings with confidence. With artificially cooled systems this knowledge of the behaviour
of soils is less important.
In general soils may comprise of solids, air and water and their thermal resistivities are determined by
the several parallel paths that these allow through the soil. Comparison of the thermal resistivities of
various constituents of soil is interesting, for example quartz has a thermal resistivity of 0.11 Km/W, that
of water is 1.65 Km/W and air is highest at 40 Km/W. Comparison of these thermal resistivities
illustrates the need to optimise the quantities of solids and water in the soil. It is essential to compact
the soil in the trench to exclude high thermal resistance air pockets. The high soil density will decrease
the permeability of the soil and decrease its ability to allow moisture migration. The density may also
be affected by natural effects such as consolidation, shrinkage or swelling.
The particle sizes of silts, sands and gravels effect the thermal behaviour of the soils they make up and
some of their characteristics are described below.
Clays Silts Sands Gravels
Size (mm) <0.002 0.002-0.06 0.06-2 2-60
Grain Size Microscopic Fine Coarse Stony
Characteristics Cohesive Plastic Cohesionless
Effect of Water Very important Important Free draining Free draining
Effect of Grain
Unimportant Relatively
Important Important
Variations in local soils and the fact that its thermal properties may make it unsuitable means that
imported backfills of known low thermal resistivity are invariably used. In this manner the volume around
the cable is filled with the imported backfill and the remainder of the excavation refilled with the local soil.
UK practice assumes that drying out of the soil will occur within the 50
C isotherm surrounding the
cables. Special backfill materials are used within this boundary to ensure that the backfill resistivity
remains at a known low value of 1.2 Km/W when dry. Electra No 104 describes how different values
of the temperature limit on soil dry out affect the cable rating using the IEC 287 method. However, the
method relies on knowing the temperature-dependent moisture migration behaviour of the soil and it also
assumes that the temperature rise of the soil rather than its temperature is important. Electra No 145
describes how the critical temperature rise of the soil for dry out to occur depends on porosity and
degree of saturation but it does not provide any information on the resulting thermal resistivity. It
suggests that soil dry out is a slow process which is difficult to reverse and that measurements on soil
behaviour are required. It also assumes that any increase in thermal resistivity due to moisture reduction
is likely to lead to total dry out and that a critical temperature rise, varying from 2.5 K to 90 K for one
sample and depending on the saturation, can be defined. This suggests that the basis of the 50bC limit
adopted on the basis of field trials in the 1960s needs to be re-examined and TSD is planning further
work in this area.
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Special backfills provide the advantages that the effective 50
C limit on the cable surface temperature
may be raised and the use of forced cooling systems may be avoided. These backfills can be divided
into two groups, selected sands which are obtained from approved quarries and do not have a dried out
thermal resistivity greater than 2.7 Km/W and stabilised backfills of composite materials which have
dried out thermal resistivities not exceeding 1.2 Km/W. The special backfills are now type tested under
NGTS 3.5.7 but many circuits have backfills which were procured under the more prescriptive CEGB
Standard 993208. The CEGB Standard descriptions are summarised below.
Selected Sands - Material of consistent composition not containing organic matter, pieces of clay,
sharp stones or flints, and where not less than 95% by weight of the material shall pass a British
Standard 5 mm sieve.
Stabilised Backfills - These are man-made mixes where selected sand is used and three different
types have been used.
Cement-Bound Sand - The cohesion of the particles is improved by mixing the sand with cement in a
14:1 proportion by volume. To this mix water is added to ensure adequate compactibility with total
water/cement ratio of 2:1 by weight.
Gravel and Sand - A selected sand is mixed with 10 mm coarse aggregate in the proportion of 1:1 by
weight. The gravel particle size should not exceed 14 mm and the proportion of crushed material should
not exceed 50%.
Bitumen-Bound Sand - The cohesion of selected sand is improved by the addition of a bitumen/fluxing
oil mixture to 6% of total weight. The mixture was made from fluxing oil and bitumen in the proportion
of 2:1 by weight. Although present on some older cable installations bitumen-bound sand is no longer
The choice of stabilised backfill will be influenced by their cost, availability and mechanical behaviour
and the methods available to mix them. Because cement-bound sand offers mechanical restraint to the
cable it is often chosen. It does however suffer from the serious disadvantage that its removal is often
difficult and unless special care is taken damage to the cable may result. Gravel and sand is almost as
effective as cement-bound sand but bitumen-bound sand behaves mechanically as poorly as sand.
These may take the form of cables passing down shafts before going underwater, small tunnels under
water, or larger tunnels used for other purposes, for example road and rail tunnels. For any particular
cable the rating is determined by the air temperature and in short tunnels and shafts the natural
ventilation may be sufficient. However in long tunnels it may be necessary to provide some form of
additional cooling or ventilation to maintain the required temperature. Considerably higher ratings may
be obtained with cables in shafts or tunnels compared to those installed in the ground. However the cost
of such installations will generally be considerable.
11.1 External Pipe Cooling
When the rating of a cable is required to match that of an overhead line then it may be necessary to
install cables to operate in parallel. The obvious example is the Goring Gap circuits where there are
two cable circuits with two cables per phase for each overhead line circuit. This naturally increases the
cost of the installation and the width of the reserve of land through which they pass. In such
circumstances it may be necessary to consider increasing the rating of the cable circuit by artificially
cooling its thermal environment. Various methods to achieve this are available. One such method is
to pass water through plastic pipes suitably positioned with the cables. With this technique the normal
thermal resistance of the cable environment is shunted by the thermal resistance into the water.
The pipes are usually arranged as go and return circuits.
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These go and return circuits start from cooling stations situated along the route, the cold inlet water
extracts heat and then warm water returns along the same section to the cooling station.
11.2 Surface Cooling
Cables may be more intensively cooled by placing each one in a rigid plastic pipe through which water
is pumped. This is more expensive than external pipe cooling and problems may occur due to
movement of the cable within the pipe caused by electro-mechanical forces. This method has been
applied to the cables in the Severn tunnel. For these and cost reasons the external pipe scheme is
largely preferred.
An alternative to water-filled pipes is to place cables in water-filled troughs in tunnels. The joints of such
installations are usually above the water level and they are cooled by longitudinal heat flow to the
immersed cable. Such water-filled trough arrangements may have weirs situated along their length to
control the flow of water along any natural incline. They have cooling stations where the water leaving
the end of the route is cooled before being returned to the beginning to repeat its cooling cycle.
11.3 Cable Accessories
It is generally assumed that all cable accessories meet the rating requirement of the cable - this includes
sealing ends, stop joints and straight joints plus the associated fluid expansion tanks. It is taken that as
joints tend to be larger than the normal cable cross-section they may be assumed to have greater
continuous and short-term ratings than the cable. The joint generally has more copper, lower electric
stresses and a greater area for heat transfer to the adjacent ground or cooling air flow, also any hydraulic
or mechanical limit arising from the joints will be small compared with the overall length of the circuit.
One major exception to this assumption is where the cable is water cooled and the joints are not. Either
special provision for the joint cooling has to be made or the rating of the joints will become limiting.
On the South London Ring the joints are considered to be limiting and to preserve their integrity the rated
operating temperature for the cable conductor has been lowered to 70
C to be an equivalent restriction
to the joint rating.
Various design innovations have been introduced for joint cooling by manufacturers. Oscillation of the
fluid in the cable fluid duct has enabled the heat from the joint region to be transferred to the adjacent
lengths of conductor so that the joint hot spot is reduced in magnitude. This approach was adopted for
the cables in the Thames tunnel and on the Beddington-Chessington cable circuits. Water cooling of
joints may be required to be more intensive than just relying on separate pipes and water-cooled jackets
have been applied to the joint boxes. In the Severn tunnel cables the joints has turbulators fitted which
would have increased heat transfer within the joints if an uprating using fluid circulation through the fluid
duct were used - this enhancement has not been implemented.
The continuous ratings of underground power cables are calculated using the method described in
IEC 287. This method analytically solves a thermal resistance ladder network to give the current at
which the maximum conductor temperature is reached. IEC 853-2 presents a similar method for the
calculation of cyclic and overload currents for overload periods greater than 10 minutes. The use of
these methods requires a large amount of data to be known about the cable and its environment.
The continuous ratings quoted in Schedule D of the tender documents are based on IEC 287.
NGTS 2.5 provides a method of calculation of overload ratings from the minimum amount of input data.
The short-term overload ratings now quoted in the Schedule D of present tender documents are based
on NGTS 2.5. The previous tender documents for the majority of NGC cables did not require such
The introduction of computers meant that it was possible to solve ladder networks numerically, enabling
the use of more accurate models of power cables. The GIMLI program uses a numerical method to
calculate cable ratings. The program can include the effects of forced water cooling, sheath losses and
air-cooling to calculate continuous, cyclic and overload ratings.
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A version of GIMLI is used in the Cable System Monitor which gives on-line cable ratings to the various
control rooms. A full review of all the cable rating software is given in TR(T)238.
The Critical Unit Program (CUP) produces circuit rating schedules for use in control rooms. Essentially
the program identifies the limiting item of plant in the circuit for continuous operation and for various
overload periods at various pre-fault loadings. A circuit rating sheet is then produced which shows the
rating of the circuit in each circumstance. CUP therefore needs to know the continuous and overload
ratings of each item of plant in the circuit. For lengths of cable, overload ratings can either be calculated
automatically by CUP using the NGTS 2.5 method or they can be manually entered if a GIMLI study has
been performed. A User Guide to CUP is being written, TGN(T)113, and a TGN on the application of
circuit thermal ratings will be available shortly, TGN(T)98.
12.1 NGTS 2.5
NGTS 2.5 uses a straightforward thermal model to calculate the overload needed to raise the conductor
temperature to its limit after a given time from a given pre-fault loading. The model assumes that all the
heat generated by the overload current remains in the cable and hence it is a safe method to use in the
absence of detailed information about the cable circuit.
The simple model used by the NGTS 2.5 method generally loses its validity for overload times in excess
of an hour. It eventually gives overload ratings lower than the continuous rating of the cable for long
periods. In these cases the cable is usually assigned an overload rating equal to the continuous rating
or another method to calculate the rating must be used.
The information needed to perform NGTS 2.5 calculations is listed in Appendix A.
12.2 GIMLI
GIMLI is a computer program which numerically solves a thermal model to give continuous, cyclic and
overload ratings as requested. This model needs to be provided with a large amount of material data,
thermal parameters and physical dimensions and these may be difficult to locate. A detailed search of
the cable route records is required to identify potentially limiting sections of cable such as:-
(i) Deeply buried sections
(ii) Closely spaced sections
(iii) Surface troughs
(iv) Air-cooled sections
(v) Naturally-cooled sections in a forced-cooled cable circuit
(vi) Sections in close proximity to other heat sources, for example electricity cables or hot water pipes
(vii) Ducted sections under roads
(viii) Tunnel sections
Changes to the cable route may have occurred after installation and these may sometimes not have
been recorded on the route records. Such changes affect the cables thermal behaviour. Visual
inspection of the cable route may be needed to look for undocumented changes to the cable route which
affect the cables thermal behaviour, for example new buildings near the cable route, new electricity
cables or ground surfaces that have been raised by new roads. When the potentially limiting sections
have been found then GIMLI input files can be created for each section. GIMLI will then calculate the
desired ratings and the limiting section can be found for each circumstance. The information needed
to perform GIMLI calculations is listed in Appendix B and the material properties are given in Appendix
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The rating seasons for overhead lines, transformers and switchgear are given in TGN(T)26, TGN(T)29,
TGN(T)68 and TGN(T)109 respectively and all use the following seasons:-
Winter December - February.
Spring/Autumn March, April and September-November.
Summer May-August.
Until recently cables had the following seasons:-
Winter November - April All cables.
Summer May - October Directly buried cables.
Summer - Normal May, September and October Cables in troughs.
Summer - Hot June - August Cables in troughs.
Additionally cables in air or in tunnels were rated according to the overhead line rating seasons above.
The CUP rating sheets were designed to cope with three season plant and two season cable ratings.
There has never been any intention of increasing the number of rating seasons to separate May from
the rest of the summer season although some individual rating sheets were produced to help Grid
System Management. Instead it was recognised that cables in troughs could also be modelled as three
season plant and for the commissioning of the CSM all cables were provided with two or three season
ratings, as appropriate. So the next revision of NGTS 2.5 will delete any reference to a Summer Hot
However, this decision meant that there were some periods of the year when cables might lose rating
due to the change of modelling assumptions, even if the corresponding gains at other periods were at
least as large. To avoid this eventuality and to give the maximum flexibility consistent with the CUP
rating sheet layout and with existing seasons used by Grid System Management it has been decided
to rate cables for four seasons and the next revision of NGTS 2.5 will contain this change. This requires
some development within CUP although it does not change the layout of the rating sheets. GSM already
describe seasons within ESCORT as CC, NC, NH and HH and this nomenclature is adapted below to
avoid ambiguity.
CC Cold-Cold Winter December - February
NC Normal-Cold Spring/Autumn March, April and November
NH Normal-Hot Autumn September - October
HH Hot-Hot Summer May - August
This retains all the assumptions about seasons in existing rating sheets and merely divides the
Spring/Autumn period into two parts for cables alone. The reasoning behind the rating parameters for
cables is dealt with in greater detail in the next section and the revised values are listed in Appendix D.
This Document uses the values in Appendix D for the NH season to represent the NC season also. ie
The whole Spring/Autumn season defined for overhead lines and other plant had one set of design
values for cables. In future it will be possible to enhance cable ratings in the NC season by choosing
the lower values in Appendix D.
The main characteristics of the environment affecting cable ratings are its temperature, thermal
resistivity and thermal capacity. The latter two factors are dependent upon the moisture content.
IEC 287, 1982 edition, quotes typical values of soil thermal resistivity used by various countries - only
France is quoted as distinguishing between Winter and Summer although the similar UK practice is
included in the table below:-
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Soil Thermal
Resistivity (Km/W)
Average Value Minimum Maximum
UK 1.2 (S) 1.05 (W) - 2.7*/3.0*
France 1.2 (S) 0.85 (W) - -
Australia 1.2 - -
Austria 1.0 0.7 1.2
Finland 1.0 0.4+ -
Germany 1.0 - 2.5*
Italy 1.0 - -
Japan 1.0 0.4+ 1.2
Norway 1.0 - -
Sweden 1.0 - -
Switzerland 1.0 - 1.3
Canada 0.9 0.6 1.2
USA 0.9 - -
Netherlands 0.8 0.5+ -
+ Wet *Dried Out
Where there is no information it was recommended in the early versions of IEC 287 that the following
figures were used. However, better information is now available and TSD have suitable equipment for
measuring ground thermal resistivity.
Thermal Resistivity (Km/W) Soil and Climate Conditions
0.7 Very moist soil and continuously wet climate.
1.0 Moist soil and regular rainfall.
2.0 Dry soil and seldom rains.
3.0 Very dry soil and little or no rain.
The UK figures which are shown in more detail in Appendix D and in NGTS 2.5 are at the high end of
international comparisons. TSD is intending to start new investigations of soil conditions shortly. The
figures for thermal resistivity assume a moist soil in Winter (From November to April) with a value of
1.05 Km/W and a drier soil in Summer (from May to October) with a value of 1.2 Km/W. The seasons
lag the climate seasons by one month because of the thermal lag in the ground temperature at about
1 m depth and the presumed equivalent delay in rewetting of the soil. The thermal capacity of the soil
is taken as 1.7 MJ/m
K which corresponds to a dry density of 1795 kg/m
and a moisture content of
about 3 % by dry weight. The figure is taken to be constant all year round, although in practice it is likely
to increase considerably with moisture content during the Winter period. This will also be the subject of
further investigation.
Ground temperatures depend on geographic latitude and local climate and on depth below the surface.
For the purposes of rating calculations the ambient temperature is the temperature that would exist at
the position of the cable if the cable was not producing any heat. When UK cable ratings were first
considered the main need was to cover directly buried cables at about 1 m depth and the seasonal
temperatures where taken with the same periods as for resistivity, namely Winter (from November to
April) at 10bC and Summer (from May to October) at 15bC.
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Since all plant ratings need to be configured into circuit rating sheets the cable rating sheets need to be
compatible with overhead line and substation plant seasons as described in the previous section. Cable
ratings have been defined for two and three seasons and will shortly be defined for four seasons.
All these calculations use the same methods but with different assumed seasonal conditions. All can
be incorporated in the CUP method of producing circuit rating sheets. Examples of how cable ratings
might be used are given below. All are compatible with standard seasons since only cables as a plant
item differ from the standard overhead line seasons.
Two season cable - directly buried cable CC/NC and NH/HH apply.
Three season cable - cable in air CC, NC/NH and HH apply.
Four season cable - cable in filled trough CC, NC, NH and HH apply.
The values given in Appendix D and in NGTS 2.5 are those applying to new circuits. There is a greater
possibility of dry out in old cable circuits laid in selected sand backfill. However, it is likely that any
potential dry out regions would be investigated on site with fibre optic probes to measure temperature
before any de-rating was considered. Where there is a need new stabilised backfill material with lower
thermal resistivity can be used. Weak-mix cement with a graded sand as the main component has been
used on the Birkenhead-Lister Drive Circuit to give higher performance and a thermal resistivity of
0.8 Km/W was quoted. Wax-filled sand backfills have also been developed with a thermal resistivity of
0.7 Km/W although they have not yet been used on a cable circuit.
Sometimes when cable ratings have been investigated it has been possible to re-evaluate the basis of
rating calculation to help enhance the rating of an important circuit. This has usually been on the basis
of site specific circumstances and site investigations. This fits in with the manufacturers practice of
avoiding potential limits on short sections of cable by considering the effects of longitudinal alleviation
and the relatively small effect of expansion on the overall cable section.
Section 20 lists some of the special circumstances which were incorporated in the modelling during the
investigation and commissioning of the CSM.
14.1 Sources of Information
The main sources for cable information are:-
(i) AMIS records.
(ii) Operating Diagram and Technical Data Sheets.
(iii) Route records including Schedule D.
(iv) Operating and Maintenance Instructions
(v) Transmission Area records
(vi) Cable company records
(vii) Local knowledge of cable circuits
(viii) Current rating sheets
The Schedule D document is provided by the cable contractor during tendering. It contains all the
information needed to calculate overload ratings to NGTS 2.5 and most of the information needed for
GIMLI calculations. Schedule D for newer cables also contains overload ratings calculated in
accordance with NGTS 2.5, for various pre-fault continuous loads as percentages of the maximum
seasonal continuous cable rating.
Route records include information on the make-up of the cable, pilot cables and water pipes (where
appropriate). The location of the cable and its joints are shown, with cross-sections and profiles of the
route. The route records are the main source of information when looking for limiting sections to model
with GIMLI. However, route records generally only describe the route of the cable as it was installed.
Additional cables installed more recently which cross or run parallel to the original cable may affect the
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rating of this cable and yet may not be shown on its route records.
The existing circuit rating sheets should give enough information to calculate short-term ratings to
NGTS 2.5. Where the ratings of circuits which incorporate cables are calculated using CUP a table of
short-term overloads is automatically generated for the composite circuit and separately for each item
of plant.
The cable company should be able to provide details of the cable's construction and electrical properties
if the Schedule D document is not available within NGC. This information, combined with inspection of
the route records, will enable GIMLI calculation of cable ratings.
The foregoing sections have served to briefly illustrate the nature of cable ratings and the many
variables which may be involved. Ideally the transmission system designer would like to be able to
determine the size of cable and type of installation necessary to match the specific parameters of the
circuit he is designing. The high costs of cable circuits means that the cable designer is required to
optimise his design ensuring that the size of the cable and its installation including the civil and other
costs are balanced to provide the most economic cost solution. It is also necessary to be able to
accurately assess the ratings of cables under various loading conditions in order that they be more
economically utilized.
A cable is usually rated by its continuous ratings for the various seasons or parameters specified and
this is often referred to as its design rating. This is the continuous rating that the cable will carry in the
prescribed environment without the conductor exceeding the maximum temperature for which, the
insulation and installation have been designed. In practice however it is very rare for the cable to be
operating continuously at its rated value and therefore it is worthwhile economically to be able to define
other ratings to correspond to these other types of load. A daily load curve may fluctuate according to
a regular and predictable pattern and, since a buried cable has a slow thermal response it may be
possible to load the cable to a daily peak which is 110% or 120% of the continuous rating of the cable
without exceeding the maximum allowable conductor temperature. The cyclic rating is the peak current
which the cable will carry without exceeding its maximum design temperature when subjected to a
repetitive daily load cycle over a long period.
It follows from this that when a cable is loaded below its maximum rating on either a continuous or cyclic
basis then it is possible for it to carry a short duration overload without it exceeding its design
temperature. This may be required of a cable under certain circuit outage conditions either as a result
of fault or of planned maintenance.
Consequently, unlike other items of transmission plant, it has been the practice to specify the actual
rating requirements in cable tenders and not the standardised values used for example for switchgear
or transformers. The purchaser therefore relies upon the tenderers to effectively design the most cost
effective solution to the specified rating required. However the techniques used to assess the ratings
of the various designs of cable installation are well known and NGC works closely with the cable
companies when required to assess and agree their installation designs.
Nevertheless the circuit designer needs to appreciate the thermal and rating behaviour of a cable when
it forms part of a composite circuit in order that he should correctly specify the rating required of it.
Foremost in this appreciation must be the knowledge of the rating seasons applicable to cables
compared to other plant. In order to present this as simply and concisely as possible this is given in
tabular form in Appendix D. Also the designer has to be aware of the way in which cable systems
respond thermally to changes in continuous, cyclic and transient loading. Each of these loading regimes
is described below.
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15.1 Detrimental Effects On Installation
In applying a continuous load to a cable which is equal to its installation design rating for that particular
season it follows that it may attain full design conductor temperature if all the parameters of environment
thermal resistivity and temperature are met. This may not be the case if the installation conditions which
determined the assigned current rating have changed. Some of the factors which could adversely affect
the rating and hence temperature of the cable are:-
(i) Increase of ground cover over a directly buried cable
(ii) Reinstatement of the backfill of the cable with a thermally unsuitable material, for example using
ordinary sand instead of a selected sand.
(iii) Placing a second loaded circuit adjacent to the circuit which was designed to be thermally
independent of other sources of heat such as cables or hot pipes.
(iv) Restricting the air flow over a ventilated trough installation
(v) Placing unfilled spare ducts near a buried cable
(vi) Allowing natural vegetation and shrubs to absorb the moisture from the surround of a directly buried
(vii) Allowing silt to build up around the cable in water-filled troughs
(viii) Decreasing the phase spacing of cables from that of the original design
(ix) Alterations or defects in the bonding system which could cause or increase the sheath circulating
current heating effects on the cable
(x) Abnormal cable seasons, such as periods of very high air temperatures or solar radiation for cables
in troughs or extended periods of drought which would promote soil dry out for directly buried
(xi) Failure or maloperation of cable cooling systems
It should also be noted that the hydraulic design of a cable system is carried out using the permitted
maximum design temperature of the conductor. If the cable is allowed to operate above this design
value then the ability of the hydraulic system to cater for the increased volumetric change of the cable
fluid may be insufficient and damage could result. In a similar manner any restriction imposed on the
hydraulic capacity of a fluid-filled cable by for example the isolation of cable fluid tanks could result in
similar damage.

15.2 Cyclic Loading
Cyclic loading is the term used to describe a load which is not continuous with time and usually varies
throughout a 24 hour period. A suitably installed cable subjected to such loading patterns will rely on
its thermal capacity and that of its environment, which is usually considerable, to materially reduce the
effects of load peaks on its temperature rise. The thermal response of the cable and environment is
slow so that the temperature rise of the cable during such cycles tends to be smoothed. Over many
years methods of determining cyclic ratings were improved to the present where the uncertainties in the
calculation method are much less than in the values of the environmental thermal parameters.
15.3 Short-term Ratings
These ratings utilize the slow temperature response of a buried cable and if it is initially loaded below
its rated current then it is obviously at a lower temperature and a further temperature rise is available
before it meets its maximum design temperature. Thus it has the ability to carry a higher than rated
current for a short duration before reaching its maximum design temperature.
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15.4 Combinations of Loading Regimes
The complexity of the thermal performance of cable systems is such that due care has to be exercised
in using the rating information given or specified for cables. For example a cyclic rating defined for a
domestic type of load cycle may not be applicable if the load changes to that of an industrial cycle. Also
the short-term ratings are dependent on the nature and duration and magnitude of the previous loading
of the cable. When any such ratings are calculated it should be appreciated that they are particular to
that cable, installation and loading regime. Also unless specifically calculated the repeat application of
a particular short-term overload is not advised unless a sufficient time is allowed between each
application to enable the cable to return to its initial temperature. Normally repeated use of short-term
ratings would be possible after twenty-four hours. TSD will advise on any particular requirements.
In Section 15.1 some of the factors which may be prejudicial to maintaining the declared cable rating
without exceeding the conductor design temperature were outlined. It is therefore important that
engineers are aware of these and where possible endeavour to ensure that they do not occur. Where
they do occur then the relevant facts should be drawn to the attention of TSD in order that appropriate
advice may be given. The majority of the factors listed, especially those relating to installation conditions
are easily discerned by the engineer responsible for the cable. In many cases even though a deficiency
may appear prejudicial to the cable rating mitigating factors may reduce the perceived and actual risks.
There should be no automatic de-rating of cable circuits except where water cooling has failed or where
forced air cooling has failed.
For example, it is unusual for a cable circuit to carry a high and sustained load and if it does the
operation of the transmission system usually requires this to be for a relatively short period of perhaps
a few days. The load is rarely sustained at the maximum declared cable rating for more than a few
hours and the cyclic nature of the load helps in maintaining temperatures below their maximum design
value. In addition the thermal environment of the cable may be better than that allowed for in the design.
The thermal resistivities of buried cable backfills may be lower than thought. The ground temperatures
may be less than those assumed. The cable may be installed below the natural water table and other
factors may also be relevant.
With regard to the Special Bonding Systems employed on the majority of NGC circuits, these may be
compromised by defects in the cable oversheath which are generally detected by oversheath tests
carried out during maintenance. However, for the Specially Bonded Systems to allow the passage of
circulating currents along the sheath the earth resistance of the serving fault and that of the earthing of
the bonding system would have to be low. The susceptibility of present designs of link box to flooding
in adverse conditions may also pose a problem. The ingress of water into such link boxes may cause
deterioration of the Synthetic Resin Bonded Paper (SRBP) link pillar support plate and if a sufficient
quantity of water is present the isolation of the bonding links from each other and earth may be affected.
Both of these and similar mechanisms require a low impedance path to be created in the bonding
system which might then allow circulating currents of sufficient magnitude to adversely affect the
declared rating of the cable. The factors which determine the resistance of such link box and oversheath
earth faults are currently under investigation by TSD. Until such time that this work is completed it is
considered that such defects when considered along with other ameliorating factors do not require the
cable system to be derated. However, such a decision should be taken in the knowledge that the nature
of the defect needs to be investigated and account taken of the circumstances of load and conditions
in which the cable may be expected to operate in the period before such defects are corrected. It should
also be appreciated that the performance of flooded link boxes and sheath voltage limiters will be
impaired under fault conditions.
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It will be appreciated that specification of a cable to meet defined ratings requires the cable system
designer to have full knowledge of the purchasers requirements. It is essential that the maximum
continuous ratings for both the Winter and Summer cable (CC and HH) seasons applicable to the
desired type of installation be quoted. Spring and Autumn ratings (more correctly NC and NH season
ratings) are also applicable to cables in troughs. If the cable is required to have a particular cyclic or
short-term capability then this together with the necessary cyclic load curves or preloads should be
17.1 Cables Associated with Transformer Circuits
TGN(T)29 shows that autotransformers with taps have 1.20 pu, 1.13 pu and 1.06 pu cyclic ratings in
Winter, Spring/Autumn and Summer respectively and that other transformers have similar cyclic
capability. These assessments have been based on a standard load curve as shown in Figure 4.
Unless the expected load curve is expected to be materially different from this then the cable tender
should include this curve and the tenderer should be required to match the cable to the cyclic rating of
the transformer. For example a buried cable must match the Spring/Autumn transformer rating in the
Summer cable season. Where such load curves do differ from the standard then a separate study of
the likely capability of the transformer should be initiated and the cable requirements matched
accordingly. TSD Transformers and Cables Group should be requested to assist in such studies. The
possibility of providing three or four season ratings for cables in troughs will clearly help in matching the
transformer rating. It will also be necessary to liaise with TSD Transformers and Cables Group over the
definitions of transformer ratings because there is a move to assign seasonal continuous ratings where
17.2 Cables Associated with Overhead Line Circuits
TGN(T)26 provides guidance on the current ratings applicable to overhead lines. It provides both pre-
fault and post-fault ratings for various overhead line configurations and operating temperatures. Since
the thermal time constants of cable systems are considerably longer those of the overhead line
conductors, it is usual that any cable required to match the pre-fault continuous rating of an overhead
line will have short-term overloads in excess of those of the line. Furthermore the current issue of
TGN(T)26 recommends that the post-fault rating of an overhead line should not be used for a period
greater than 24 hours - that it can be accepted in a post-fault situation until the pre-fault requirements
can be restored. This will normally be for a period well within twenty four hours. Dependent upon the
type of cable installation and its pre-fault loading it may be possible for a cable which matches the
overhead line pre-fault rating to also carry the post-fault rating of the overhead line for the required
period of up to 24 hours. Care should therefore be exercised when determining the required ratings of
cables to match overhead lines and TSD Transformers and Cables Group should be requested to advise
in specific instances.
17.3 Cables Associated with Switchgear
TGN(T)68 and TGN(T)109 provide guidance on the continuous and short-term ratings applicable to the
majority of the switchgear installed on the NGC system. The continuous ratings are generally
significantly higher than the nameplate rating and the short-term ratings are much higher still. Again if
the circuit capability is required to match these then any associated cable specification should detail the
switchgear and the loadings that are required to be matched.
17.4 Seasonal Dependence of Ratings
Figure 5 shows how the continuous ratings for different plant types vary with season. For overhead lines
these are the lowest ratios of Spring/Autumn or Summer rating to Winter rating from TGN(T)26 Issue
2 Table B3. For transformers, the lowest six hour ratings, which are seasonal and independent of pre-
load, from TGN(T)29 were used - these are effectively limited period (ie days or weeks rather than many
years) continuous ratings. For switchgear the lowest ratio of Spring/Autumn or Summer rating to Winter
rating from TGN(T)68 was used. Within each plant type there is some variation but it can be seen that
cables have different seasonal dependence to other plant items which arises from the design
parameters chosen.
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To ensure that a cable is not limiting in a circuit it is clear from Figure 5 that:-
(i) For a directly buried cable the Summer cable rating should meet the Spring/Autumn rating for other
plant items - season NH (September and October).
(ii) For a cable in a filled trough the Summer cable rating should meet the Summer rating for other plant
items - season HH (May to August).
If the directly buried cable has to match an overhead line in NH season it is probably economic if the
cable continuous rating is chosen to match the pre-fault continuous rating of the overhead line.
In Section 18 it is shown that directly buried cables have six hour ratings at least 22% more than
continuous rating for 85% pre-load and cyclic ratings at least 21% more than continuous rating for the
standard load cycle and the examples shown in Table 1. The overhead line can carry 19% more than
its pre-fault continuous rating (1/0.84) for up to 24 hours.
If the cable in a filled trough has to match an overhead line in HH season it may also be sufficient to
match the pre-fault continuous rating. In Section 18 it can be seen that the six hour ratings from 85%
preload are between 10% and 14% greater than continuous ratings and the cyclic ratings are from 14%
and 17% greater. This is not as great as the 19% increase (1/0.84) available to the overhead line but
since it depends critically on the cable design parameters chosen and the cable depth cases need to
be studied individually once the system requirement is known to give the most economic outcome.
If the directly buried cable has to match a transformer in NH season then the cyclic rating of the
transformer will be at least 1.23 pu for a grid supply transformer or 1.13 pu for a grid supply transformer.
The cyclic rating of directly buried cables in Section 18 are shown to be at least 21% above continuous
rating. This suggests that the Summer cable continuous rating should be chosen to equal the
transformer nameplate rating.
If the cable in a filled trough has to match a transformer in HH season it may also be sufficient to match
the Summer cable continuous rating with the transformer nameplate rating. The cable cyclic rating is
at least 14 % greater than the continuous rating and the transformer cyclic rating for the HH season will
be at least 1.16 pu for an interconnection transformer or 1.06 pu for a grid supply transformer.
TSD Transformers and Cables Group will be able to advise on the appropriate matching of ratings once
the system requirement is clear.
17.5 Guaranteed Ratings from Manufacturers
When cables are installed and commissioned they given ratings by the manufacturer as required by the
original contract. These ratings will generally include continuous ratings for the appropriate cable
seasons (In the past generally Winter and Summer or Winter, Summer Normal and Summer Hot for
cables in a trough or Winter, Spring/Autumn and Summer for cables required to match overhead line
seasons) and cyclic ratings for specified load curve and appropriate seasons.
There is no check on rating performance as laid and the rating guarantee period will usually be for one
year with some elements of the contract guaranteed for up to six years. There has generally been good
cooperation with manufacturers on all aspects of operational performance over the guaranteed
maintenance period.
The use of fibre optic temperature sensing which is generally supported for all new contacts will lead to
the possibility of checking rating performance. This has already happened on the new cable tails for
Thorpe Marsh SGT1 where the environmental thermal resistivity appears to be higher than the standard
value of 1.2 Km/W according to fibre optic temperature measurements during a period of loading up to
and beyond the nameplate rating of 750 MVA for the transformer.
When there is better evidence on laying conditions and environmental parameters than was available
at the time of placing the contract it is in NGCs interests to use newly assessed ratings rather than the
guaranteed ratings provided by the manufacturer. It is presumed that most of the rating changes will
be upwards although there may be occasions when re-assessing the cable ratings highlights a
previously unknown shortcoming that may need to be addressed.
when Printed
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August 1996
18.1 Ratings from GIMLI
The program GIMLI2F has been used to provide rating sheets for 52 different cable systems as
examples covering the main range of configurations used on the system. The configurations are
summarised in Table 1 which covers five conductor sizes, three dielectric types, two sheath types and
fourteen laying arrangements. The laying arrangements include four normally buried designs with
different laying depth and cable separation, two filled trough designs with different cable separations two
ventilated trough designs with different cable separations, two designs with cables in air in flat formation
and in trefoil formation, and two water cooled designs, normally buried and in troughs with cooling on
and off.
Normally buried cables have two seasons and all other cables have three seasons. Table 2 gives the
continuous seasonal ratings for all 52 cable systems - these range from 1255A to 2555A (869 MVA to
1770 MVA) at 400 kV for one cable per phase, from 1165A to 2534A (555 MVA to 1207 MVA) at 275 kV
similarly and from 979A to 2049A (224 MVA to 468 MVA) at 132 kV similarly.
Table 3 gives the cyclic ratings for all 52 cable systems and Table 4 gives the cyclic rating factors
The continuous and short-term seasonal ratings for all 52 cable systems are given in Tables 5 to 56.
The short-term ratings of cables tend to be very large with the three minute rating being up to 20700A,
21170A and 9900A for 400 kV, 275 kV and 132 kV cable system respectively. These values are usually
far greater than those of other circuit items which then set the limit. However, there is a need to define
ratings for all periods and as the period increases the cable rating is progressively more likely to be the
limit in a circuit.
The six hour rating of a cable has a real potential value for circuits as the enhanced value over the
continuous rating may enable the circuit to carry load in a post-fault scenario long enough to meet
normal requirements for re-securing the system as the load peak drops over the period or as fresh
generation is despatched from a cold start. The six hour rating is dependent on the thermal capacity of
the cable system and its environment - normally buried cables have the largest ratio of six hour rating
to continuous rating and cables in air have the least value. Intensively cooled cable circuits using water
cooling come in between with an enhancement of about 10% for the typical arrangements covered in
Tables 16, 18, 33 and 35. There are effectively 28 cases of normally buried cable systems, 6 cases of
cable systems with filled troughs and 12 cases of cable systems in air covered in Tables 5 to 56. The
ratio of six hour rating to continuous rating is greater than the following percentages for the range of
cases covered. The ratio of cyclic rating to continuous rating has a very similar set of values.
Minimum six hour rating
enhancement over continuous
rating at 85% preload (%)
Minimum cyclic rating
enhancement over continuous
rating for standard cycle (%)
Cable voltage (kV) 400 275 132 400 275 132
Directly buried 26 22 22 23 21 21
Filled trough 14 13 10 17 16 14
Cables in air 2 1 0 5 3 0

18.2 Ratings from Cable Manufacturer
Further examples of cable system ratings are given in Table 57 for fluid-filled cables at 400 kV and
275 kV in Table 58 for fluid-filled cables at 132 kV and 66 kV and in Table 59 for XLPE dielectric cables
at 275 kV, 132 kV and 66 kV. These ratings were obtained from Pirelli Cables and are for general
indication only. However, they are very useful in that they cover a range of laying conditions and many
conductor sizes.
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August 1996
It was decided that in Tables 57, 58 and 59 it would be better to restrict the entries to conductor sizes
generally greater than 500 mm
and to use only the Winter and Summer ratings provided. The
provision of a dried-out rating in Summer, when material inside the 50
C isotherm which is not stabilised
backfill is modelled as dried out material, has not been included from the Pirelli Cables data because
it will depend on the choice of backfilled region. More importantly, consideration is being given to
modifying NGTS 2.5 to make clear that if an appropriate amount of stabilised backfill is included then
the rating will be determined from the standard Summer value for soil thermal resistivity.
The ratings are given for five laying arrangements, all except the last are normally buried:
(i) Solidly bonded trefoil cables
(ii) Single point or cross-bonded trefoil cables
(iii) Single point or cross-bonded flat spaced cables at twice diameter centres
(iv) Single point or cross-bonded flat spaced cables at 300 mm centres
(v) Single point or cross-bonded isolated cables in air
The ratings are based on a 90
C conductor temperature and 900 mm soil cover to top of cables for
normally buried arrangements. The ratings for the fluid-filled cables very from 567A to 2888A at 400 kV
(393 MVA to 2001 MVA) from 603A to 3112A at 275 kV (287 MVA to 1482 MVA) and from 578A to
2949A at 132 kV (132 MVA to 674 MVA).
The ratings of the XLPE dielectric cables in Table 59 can be compared with the fluid-filled cables in
Tables 57 and 58. For a 275 kV cable with 500 mm
copper conductor and aluminium sheath the XLPE
cable has a continuous rating about 3% greater than that for an fluid-filled cable. However, as the
conductor size increases the continuous rating of the XLPE dielectric cable drops relative to the fluid-
filled cable. For cables at 132 kV the relative ratings of the XLPE cables compared with the fluid-filled
cables are 6% lower on average than at 275 kV and show the same dependence on conductor size.
However, the relative advantages of the choice between the two dielectric system is much wider then
ratings and covers many technical, economic and environmental factors.
A comparison of the continuous ratings of cables and overhead lines are shown in Table 60.
The overhead line ratings are taken from TGN(T)26 Issue 2, Table B3 which are for 75bC rated
temperature. The ratings are for the highest rated twin conductor circuit at 400 kV, 275 kV and 132 kV.
They utilise twin Redwood 850 mm
, All Aluminium Alloy Conductors (AAAC) with 3.05 #cm resistivity
at 20bC at 400 kV and 275 kV and twin Zebra 400 mm
Aluminium Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSR)
at 132 kV.
The cable ratings are calculated by GIMLI for the largest conductor sizes in Tables 6, 8, 23, 25 and 44,
directly buried and in filled troughs, and from Tables 57 and 58 for the largest conductors sizes obtained
from Pirelli Cables.
It can be seen that to match overhead line ratings with one cable per phase is not possible even at
132 kV. In addition where overhead lines are rated at temperatures up to 90bC in TGN(T)26 this raises
the ratings by a further 10% in Winter and 13% in Summer. However, all circuits are not installed with
the ultimate load carrying capacity in mind so that it will usually be possible for the circuit designer to
employ one cable per phase and the ratings in Tables 2 to 59 are guidance as to what rating capacity
is possible for different conductor sizes and laying configurations.
It can be seen from Table 60 that the continuous ratings of directly buried cables are lower than for
cables in filled troughs but that the summer six hour ratings of directly buried cables are higher than for
cables in filled troughs. This is true for actual preloads as well as for percentage preloads shown in
Table 60. However, it depends critically on the design assumptions built into the ratings and TSD will
be investigating ways of increasing cable ratings by varying the assumptions built into Appendix D. More
site investigations, fibre optic temperature measurement exercises and use of data obtained from the
CSM will form the main elements of the work.
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Page 23 Issue 1
August 1996
Figure 5 shows the main length of conductor size characteristics for 206 cable circuits at 275 kV and
400 kV which comprise the vast majority of circuits at these voltages with a total length of 476 circuit-km.
Half the circuits are less than about 300 m long and act as cable tails for transformers or links within
The Circuit Thermal Monitor (CTM) is the real-time system used by NGC to provide ratings based on
measured values of load and coolant temperatures rather than on standard pre-fault loads at seasonal
coolant conditions. It amalgamates the CSM and the Transformer Thermal Monitor (TTM) in a single
display system based on three main processors at Cumberland House, Becca Hall and Durley Park.
Various attached workstations calculate ratings in various forms for a total of sixty circuits. The real-time
measurements cover eighteen transformers, ten with cable tails, and forty two cable circuits. In each
case the complete circuit thermal rating is given, as the performance of the other plant in the circuit is
included as a so called Truncation Rating Sheet. The system has been described by OShea et al and
by Larsen et al but in summary it provides:
(i) Overview pages of circuit load and rating.
(ii) Circuit Monitor page with 24 hours history.
(iii) Ratings page with circuit 3 minute to continuous rating.
(iv) Predictor page for 24 hours ahead.
(v) Raw data page.
The main features of the cable modelling are summarised in Table 61 which lists the circuits in the order
in which they appear on the overview pages of the three systems. Table 62 lists the same information
in circuit NASAP code order. The information in Columns A to E relates to the cable modelling
characteristics in the GIMLI mesh file for the section. In summary these are:-
53 circuits with cable sections modelled.
141 cable sections modelled.
56 directly buried cable sections. (Depth >0.5 m, B)
51 cable in trough sections (Depth @0.5 m, T)
34 cable in air sections (A)
38 sections with water cooling (W)
35 sections with mutual heating (M)
20 sections with a limit temperature of 70bC (7)
24 sections with a limit temperature of 90bC (9).
The abbreviations shown in brackets above relate to Tables 61 & 62. The sections with 90bC limit
temperature are still operating to an 85bC limit within the CSM. There is a change request for this in
20.1 Cable Mesh Files
The 141 cable sections modelled have either two GIMLI meshes corresponding to Winter and Summer,
seasonal thermal resistivities (90 cases) or one GIMLI mesh where the conditions are taken to be
constant through the years (51 cases). Within the cable mesh file data there are design value for the
main environment thermal resistivity and for the dried-out part of the environment. There were a total
of 231 mesh files, of which 34 dealt with cables in air. The thermal resistivity values for the remaining
197 mesh files were:-
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21 cases 0.50 - 1.01 Km/W Mostly modelling air-filled troughs
62 cases 1.05 Km/W
6 cases 1.10 - 1.15 Km/W
92 cases 1.20 Km/W
16 cases 1.50 - 2.20 Km/W Modelling cables with 70bC limit.
Secondary thermal resistivity values allowing for soil dry out and modelling complications of cables and
water pipes in ducts required by GIMLI were:-
10 cases 0.80 - 1.00 Km/W
5 cases 1.05 Km/W
2 cases 1.20 Km/W
15 cases 1.50 - 1.89 Km/W
3 cases 2.70 Km/W
2 cases 2.75 Km/W
12 cases 3.00 Km/W
1 case 4.00 Km/W
20.2 Cable Boundary Temperatures
The boundary temperatures for the cable meshes in the CSM can be either real-time values or values
set on a monthly value within the database. If the real-time value becomes unavailable then a single
default value is defined in the database although manually set values could be used as an alternative
which would tend to provide higher ratings since the default value will be a year round conservative
Real-time values are provided as cooling water or cooling air temperatures or as ground temperatures
from dummy troughs. Dummy troughs were installed at the following locations with single platinum
resistance temperature detectors (PRTD) set at appropriate depths for the local circuits as shown below.
The dummy troughs have been extended in use to cover additional circuits and where the sensor depth
is inappropriate the use of additional sensors is being considered.
Dummy Trough Sensor Depth (mm)
St Johns Wood
Lewindon Wood
(Goring Gap on Bramley-Didcot circuits)
Lister Drive
Skelton Grange
200 and 1016
190 and 360
The St Johns Wood dummy trough was initially installed with two thermocouples, these were replaced
with one PRTD. Due to high water levels this was subject to moisture ingress and a higher specification
sensor was fitted. The mesh files for the St Johns Wood-Tottenham circuits have thermal resistivity
values of 1.0 Km/W for the main environment and 0.8 Km/W for the trough contents throughout the year
to model the wet conditions and hence produce higher ratings.
The Lewindon Wood trough has two PRTDs at trough depth and two at directly buried depth. At present
these are being used to provide trough ratings but not directly buried cable ratings which are calculated
on fixed Kew temperatures, see below. There will be benefit in using the Lewindon Wood trough
temperatures more effectively and TSD has already suggested work in this area.
The Skelton Grange trough has PRTDs at two depths for different circuits. The Lister Drive trough has
one PRTD at 400 mm depth which is a greater depth than for most cables in troughs - to cater for the
Penwortham transformer cable tails it is likely that an additional PRTD will be fitted at Lister Drive at 220
mm depth.
Directly buried cables are modelled in the CSM with fixed boundary monthly temperatures derived from
from surveys at Kew over many years.
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Page 25 Issue 1
August 1996
Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ground Temperature (bC) 8 7 8 10 12 15 16 17 16 15 12 10
Apart from July, August, September and November these figures are lower than the standard ground
seasonal temperature of 10bC (November - April) and 15bC (May - October). There are possibilities of
enhancing ratings by allowing for variations of ground temperature with depth and with geographic
location within England and Wales. TSD is considering improvements in this area along with better
specification of soil thermal resistivity performance.
20.3 Improving Circuit Thermal Moniter Ratings
The complexity of assigning current ratings to cables is illustrated by the number of special cases listed
above. During the commissioning process for the CSM various cases were addressed by changes to
the modelling to meet the perceived needs of NGC. These included:-
(a) Ignoring the effect of mutual heating in calculating ratings for adjacent circuits.
(b) Using site surveys to assess ground moisture content so that some deep buried sections could be
given lower thermal resistivity values to avoid creating a limiting section.
(c) Using existing cable ratings to derive the GIMLI cable mesh where information was impossible to
obtain in the short term.
(d) Ignoring some water cooling temperature limits which could be modelled in circuit rating sheets but
which could not be modelled in the CSM.
It is intended to review the cable modelling used in the CSM and in all rating sheets in the light of the
experience of creating the 231 mesh files for the CSM and of operational experience. The major
changes being considered include the following:-
(a) Using site surveys to determine seasonal ground thermal resistivity to a greater extent.
(b) Avoiding any need to allow for soil dry out in new cable circuits by defining the need for stabilised
backfill more carefully including significant changes in the definition of how small regions of potential dry
out can be safely ignored.
(c) Choosing cable ratings to be for single circuit operation so that mutual heating effects can be
ignored. In the CSM mutual heating is modelled pre-fault but all ratings are calculated on pre-fault
conditions which generally have minimal mutual heating effects. This will be discussed with System
Development, Grid System Management and Asset Management.
(d) Evaluating the best method of allowing for soil dry out on existing cable circuits. The cable rating
programs only allow two distinct regions of different thermal resistivity. For directly buried cables without
stabilised backfill the dried out region can be evaluated and the result applies in NH and HH seasons.
For directly buried cables with stabilised backfill the whole environment is taken to have a single value
of thermal resistivity and dry out is ignored. For cables in filled troughs without stabilised backfill the
concrete of the trough has a low thermal resistivity and the limit of soil dry out is normally taken to be
the trough contents since it would not be possible to model the different regions of different thermal
resistivity. This choice of boundary for the dried out regions means that the assumed dry out does not
vary as the ambient ground temperature varies from NH to HH Seasons and a single mesh file is
suitable for both seasons in the CSM.
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August 1996
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August 1996
Input Data for NGTS 2.5 Rating Calculations
Conductor : Material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
Temperature limit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D (C)
Cross-sectional area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D (mm
Rating : Continuous rating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D (A)
Soil ambient temperature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App D (C)
Nominal system voltage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D (kV)
Preload as % of continuous rating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Enquiry
Overload time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Enquiry
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August 1996
when Printed
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August 1996
Input Data for GIMLI Rating Calculations
Conductor : Cross-sectional area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
A.C. resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
Temperature coefficient of A.C. resistance . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Losses : Dielectric loss per unit length of cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
Sheath loss factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Must be calculated
Additional loss factor (Armouring etc) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Must be calculated
Dimensions : Fluid duct outer diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
Conductor outer diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
Insulation outer diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
Clearance under sheath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
Sheath outer diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
Armouring outer diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
Oversheath outer diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule D
X & Y positions of each cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Route records
Properties : Volumetric specific heat of fluid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Volumetric specific heat of conductor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Volumetric specific heat of insulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Volumetric specific heat of sheath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Volumetric specific heat of armouring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Volumetric specific heat of oversheath . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Volumetric specific heat of water pipe material . . . . . . See App C
Thermal resistivity of fluid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Thermal resistivity of conductor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Thermal resistivity of insulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Thermal resistivity of sheath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Thermal resistivity of armouring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Thermal resistivity of oversheath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Thermal resistivity of water pipe material . . . . . . . . . . . See App C
Buried : Soil ambient temperature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App D
Thermal resistivity of backfill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App D
Air cooled : Air ambient temperature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App D
Air Z, E & g parameters for each cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . IEC 287
Water cooling : X & Y positions of each water pipe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Route records
Water pipe internal diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Route records
Water pipe external diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Route records
Water temperature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App D
Water/pipe heat transfer coefficient . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See App D
Water pipe loss factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . See Schedule D or
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . manufacturers records
Load details . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Enquiry
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August 1996
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August 1996
Physical Constants of Cable Materials
Thermal Properties of Insulating Materials (IEC 853-2 Appendix E):-
Material Thermal
Volumetric specific heat
Insulating materials :
Paper insulation in solid-type cables 6.0 2.0
Paper insulation in fluid-filled cables 5.0 2.0
Paper insulation in cables with external gas 5.5 2.0
Paper insulation in cables with internal gas
(a) pre-impregnated 5.5 2.0
(b) mass-impregnated 6.0 2.0
Cable fluid 7.0* 1.7
PE 3.5 2.4
XLPE 3.5 2.4
Polyvinyl chloride :
up to and including 3 kV cables 5.0 1.7
greater than 3 kV cables 6.0 1.7
up to and including 3 kV cables 3.5 2.0
greater than 3 kV cables 5.0 2.0
Butyl rubber 5.0 2.0
Rubber 5.0 2.0
Protective coverings :
Compounded jute and fibrous materials 6.0 2.0
Rubber sandwich protection 6.0 2.0
Polychloroprene 5.5 2.0
up to and including 35 kV cables 5.0 1.7
greater than 35 kV cables 6.0 1.7
PVC/bitumen on corrugated aluminium sheaths 6.0 1.7
PE 3.5 2.4
Materials for duct installations :
Concrete 1.0 1.9
Fibre 4.8 2.0
Asbestos 2.0 2.0
Earthenware 1.2 1.7
PVC 6.0 1.7
PE 3.5 2.4
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August 1996
Thermal Properties of Conducting Materials:-
Material Reciprocal of
temperature coefficient
of electrical resistance
at 0C [K]
Volumetric specific
heat [MJ/m
Resistivity at 20C
[#m x 10
Conductors :
Copper 234.5 3.45 1.7241
Aluminium 228 2.5 2.8264
Sheaths, screens
and armour :
Lead or lead alloy 230 1.45 21.4
Steel 202 3.8 13.8
Bronze 313 3.4 3.5
Stainless steel n/a 3.8 70
Aluminium 228 2.5 2.84
* GIMLI models tend to use a value of 5.0 Km/W which is the same as paper insulation, especially for
cable with corrugated sheaths.
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August 1996
Cable Rating Season Design Parameters
Season Designation within NGC
Cable environment thermal resistivity (Km/W)
Outside 50
C isotherm
Inside 50
C isotherm:-
Cement-bound sand
Selected sand
Cable ambient temperature (
Directly buried
Filled surface trough
Free air
External ambient air for unfilled surface trough
Mean inlet air for long tunnel forced ventilation
Air maximum for subway with other services *
Air maximum for naturally ventilated tunnel *
Water coolant turn round temperature **
(Coolant heat transfer coefficient = 1 kW/m
* For guidance only - actual values to be agreed with NGC for each contract.
** Not included in NGTS 2.5
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Page 34 Issue 1
August 1996
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Page 35 Issue 1
August 1996
o TT
o TT


Calculation of Short-term Ratings
Within NGTS 2.5 a simplified calculation for short-term cable ratings is quoted. The calculation method
is derived below. The results are generally conservative by a significant margin and GIMLI will normally
be used when the full capability of the cables is needed.
For a steady initial load of x pu the conductor temperature can be calculated from:
This equation assumes temperature-independent losses. From the initial condition all the additional
losses due to the load current I are assumed to remain within the conductor and to heat it adiabatically.
Temperature dependent losses are used but the thermal capacity of the conductor is taken to be
temperature independent.
= Initial conductor temperature (
= Ground ambient temperature (
= Rated conductor temperature (
= Constant in derivation of resistivity (
(Copper 234.5
C Aluminium 228
C (IEC 228))
= Temperature rise due to dielectric losses (K)
= Continuous rating of conductor (A)
I = Short-term rating of conductor (A)
x = Per unit preload of conductor relative to I
o = Length of conductor element being considered (m)
d = Density of conductor (kg/m
C = Thermal capacity of conductor (J/kgK)
A = Cross-section of conductor (m
= Resistivity of conductor at 0
C (#m)
= Period of short-term overload(s)
The derivation assumes that the second term on the right hand side in equation 2 can be neglected.
This assumption is optimistic since it raises the short-term rating but the effect is general much less than
0.1% and is an acceptable approximation. Integrating equation 2 then gives:


Hence (4)
and (5)
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Page 36 Issue 1
August 1996
C(J/kgK at O
(%m at O
In NGTS 2.5 the constant is quoted as 226
x 10
and the equations are exactly equivalent to
equation (1) and (5) above.
Using values from Kaye and Laby for material constants:
Copper Aluminium
234.5 228
8933 2698
379 880
1.55 x 10
2.50 x 10
5.122 x 10
2.165 x 10
The value used in NGTS 2.5 for copper is 5.108 x 10
which is effectively the same as that in the table
Work by Ong-Hall and Larsen in TR(T)240, to be published shortly, will show that this calculation is from
12% to 22% conservative over the period 3 minutes to 30 minutes for a selected cable system.
However, the short-term ratings given by the above equations and required by NGTS 2.5 are generally
sufficient for many rating purposes and will always be conservative.
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Calculation of Six Hour Ratings
A method of calculating six hour ratings for inclusion in CUP has been developed. It is based on various
GIMLI studies that have given six hour and continuous ratings for directly buried cables and for cables
in troughs. The results are based on similar calculations to those used for Tables 5 to 56. The basis
is piece-wise linear interpolation which can be applied to any continuous function with multiple variables.
The general form is given by:
and the actual equation used here is:
where F
is the ratio of six hour to continuous rating for the reference case and f
, f
and f
are the
sensitivity coefficients for cross-sectional area, spacing and laying depth respectively. A, S and L are
the conductor cross-section, cable spacing and cable laying depth respectively and the subscript o
refers to the reference case of a 1300 mm
conductor with a spacing of 0.35 m and a laying depth of 0.25
The results are valid for 132 kV, 275 kV and 400 kV cross-bonded cables laid in flat formation.
The dependence of all the coefficients on preload are given in the table below.
Preload (%)
85% 1.094 3.107 x 10
-0.124 0.183
75% 1.140 4.516 x 10
-0.184 0.262
60% 1.192 6.036 x 10
-0.251 0.345
30% 1.253 7.731 x 10
-0.328 0.436
0% 1.272 8.234 x 10
-0.351 0.462
The table gives a spurious air of accuracy for the calculation. The coefficients are necessary to calculate
the dependence of the six hour rating on the design parameters but the overall result is conservative
compared with the original GIMLI calculation. A comparison with the table in Section 18 shows that the
six hour ratings from 85% preload for studies in Tables 4 to 56 were 14%, 13% and 10% greater than
the continuous rating at 400 kV, 275 kV and 132 kV respectively compared with the figure of 9.4% in the
table above. At the normal laying depth of 950 mm the comparison is between 26%, 22% and 22% at
400 kV, 275 kV and 132 kV respectively with the figure of 22.2% from the above table (1.094 + 0.183
(0.95 - 0.25) = 1.222). Where possible it is preferable to use the ratings derived from GIMLI but this is
a useful method of obtaining six hour ratings quickly.
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August 1996
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