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IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Vol. 14, No.

2, April 1999

549

LIMITATIONS OF THE RULING SPAN METHOD FOR OVERHEAD LINE
CONDUCTORS AT HIGH OPERATING TEMPERATURES.
Report of the IEEE Task Force "Bare Conductor Sag at High Temperature".
Members of the JEEE Task Force of the WG "Thermal Aspects of Overhead Conductors", of the Towers,
Poles and Conductors Subcommittee are: Y. Motlis (Chairman),J.S. Barrett, G.A.Davidson, D.A. Douglas,
P.A. Hall, J.L. Reding, T.O. Seppa, F.R. Thrash, Jr., and H.B. White.

II. DEFINITION OF TERMS.

Abstract. This report summarises the work by the Task Force
to review the accuracy of the ruling span method for
conductors operated at high temperatures. The basics of the
ruling span approximation method have been examined. The
traditional ruling span approach can be used with little or no
error for a typical overhead line crossing a rolling terrain to
predict sags in suspension spans for conductor operating
temperatures in the range of 5@C to 7OOC. Sensitivity studies
were performed using conductors "Lapwing" and "Tern" in
order to quantify such ruling span assumptions as the effect of
the longitudinalswing of suspension and line post insulators on
conductor sags at high temperatures, and the effect of the
suspension insulator string length on the equalization of
conductor tensions in adjacent spans. Significant errors in
estimating the sag at conductor temperature above lOOOC may
occur if the tension differences are not taken into consideration
in line sections consisting of a series of spans of non-equal
lengths, It was confirmed that the ruling span method is the
most practical way to string conductors in multi-span line
sections.

Key words: Conductor, ruling span, high temperature, sag,
tension, insulator swing.

I. OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE.
The objective of this paper is to describe the widely accepted
"ruling span" method of sag-tension calculation for multiple
suspension spans between dead-end structures where the spans
are nearly level but unequal of length. Errors due to operation
of the conductor at high temperatures and due to imperfect
tension equalization at supports is studied and several
calculation corrections are noted.
In this paper, the high temperature operation means conductor
temperature above IOOOC (212°F).
PE-I 97-MD-0-12-1997 A paper recommended and approved by
the IEEE Transmission and Distribution Committee of the IEEE Power
Engineering Society for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Power
Delivery. Manuscript submitted July 16, 1997; made available for
printing December 12, 1997.

A = total conductor area
ct =

coefficient of elongation

D = conductor sag
D, = ruling span sag

E

= modulus of elasticity

H, = horizontal tension at initial conductor state
H = horizontal tension
Lo = initial conductor length

L = conductor length
RS = "local" ruling span
S, = ruling span length
S, = suspension span length
To = initial conductor temperature

T

= conductor temperature
w = weight of conductor per unit length

HI. THE RULING SPAN METHOD.

A. The basics.
The well known parabolic and hyperbolic equations defining
the relationship between span, sag, and tension apply to
single level dead-end spans. For a series of spans of unequal
length and nearly level elevations, a simple method is needed
to determine a theoretical level span length for which the sag
and tension characteristics can be applied to determine the
sag and tension behaviour of all spans. The solution of this
problem was published in 1924 by E.S. Thayer, an electrical
engineer in Seattle [11. The solution is now called the Ruling
Span method.
A common definition of ruling span is a level dead-end span
that gives the same change in tension from changes in
loading, creep, and/or temperature as that in a series of
suspension spans between two dead-end structures [2]. This
span "rules" the conductor's sag and tension behaviour for
the line section. The ruling span method permits correct
sagging of conductors and provides prediction of conductor
behaviour with creep, loads and temperatures within the
usual operating ranges of 5oOC to 7OOC.
The tension variations due to load or temperature changes

0885-8977/99/$10.00 0 1997 IEEE

IV. The sag-tension behaviour of each of the spans in a line section is determined in the following manner: 0 sag-tension calculations are made for a single dead-end span with length equal to the ruling span (Eq. the suspension points between adjacent spans are free to move longitudinally without restraint. plastic creep elongation. and temperature conditions may need to be considered. Errors in sag estimates caused by the present methods of modeling of conductor's sag vs temperature relationship (which also affects the sags in individual dead-end spans) may be a future task of this Task Force.1 and Eq. longitudinal movement of the attachment point) nor true suspension points (allowing unrestrained longitudinal movement of attachment points).2).2. Sag errors caused by incomplete tension equalization between suspension spans result in inaccurate calculations using Eq. Full tension equalization is unlikely at such points even for small longitudinal movements. The ruling span method is called an approximate method because of a number of unwritten assumptions made such as: span lengths are large compared to the difference in elevation of supports. The accuracy. the load per unit length is equal for all suspension spans in the line section. 1 and Eq. the sag @) of any other span (S) is calculated as: D = ( -s ) 4 =D. 0 at suspension structures supporting a large weight span. Sag-tension calculations can be complex even for single spans with fixed end points. (3) The ruling span approximation method may not be accurate enough to analyze the operation of a line. when tubular steel structures or davit type arms are used. the tension in all of the suspension spans of the line section is assumed to be the same and equal to that of the ruling span under all loading and conductor temperature conditions. The assumDtions. sag predictions based on the ruling span method may be inaccurate. This can be significant. This is the main scope of this paper.550 will depend on the lengths of the spans in the section. The equation for the ruling span length (S. The conductors' non-linear elasticity. Useful information can be obtained from the tensiontemperature relationship in a level dead-end span. Sag errors caused by temperature variation along the line section generally cause lesser errors than those due to incomplete tension equalization. it has identified situations where line engineers should be aware of the limitations of traditional calculation methods. and making simplifying approximations. considering only the elastic properties and thermal expansion of the composite conductor. tension equalization may not occur even for modest longitudinal movement of the insulator attachment point. and the various combinations of ice. and the section as a whole will react to load and temperature changes in the same way as a single "ruling" span [3]. and the pole. This is the fundamental assumption of the traditional ruling span method. .) of the ruling span has been calculated. The parabolic approximation for the ruling span sag @) is: C.) of a line section of (Si>suspension spans is: and is referred in this paper as the traditional ruling span equation. although it was used for the design of the line. its attachment to the pole. B. conductor temperature is the same along the line section. It is a fictitious span with a rate of slack equal to the average rate of slack of the line section. and it is outside of the scope of this Task Force. for post insulators. SINGLE DEAD-END SPAN. running angle insulators and inverted "V" strings are neither true strain points (allowing no While the Task Force certainly does not advocate discarding the existing methods of sag-tension calculations. the insulator. for example. 0 once the sag @. response of strain or suspension structures to varying loads. Other errors resulting from the ruling span approach may be caused by: angle suspension insulators. tension equalization depends on the combined flexibility of the suspension hardware (if any). wind. This is especially true if there is a need to operate the line above the original design temperature. When circumstances prevent or unduly restrict this free movement and tension equalization. thermal elongation.

The explanation of these results is very important for line engineers and is given below.g. Suspension insulator string is 5 ft (1. the sag @lOoOC is 1. thus overstating the insulator swing.8 mm2). the conductor elongation causes the insulators to depart from their vertical position. creep. Appendix I. For the 1150 ft (350.9 ft (1. = l W C . As temperature increases.5 m) smaller when the tension differences are taken into account.2 N/m).. and a reasonably good knowledge of the existing condition of the line section under study. and its weight is 120 lb (534 N). to H. measured in field.6*1@ MPa). If H. V. total area = 1590 kcmil (1. Short spans are more sensitive to temperature changes than long spans. support stiffness. ACSR.)of conductor in span using the parabolic approximation.5 and Eq. the conductor elongates. less than that calculated using the ruling span method. at a suspension point between two spans.4 ft (0. Real overhead lines are not limited to spans with fixed endpoint supports.5 m).5*1@ psi (65.=8440 lb (37. assumes that the change of slack is euual to the change of strain. VI. When a line section has spans of differing lengths. to T. the greater is the restriction on movement. Table 1. the positive sag error (when the . since the ruling span approximation assumes an infinite string length.2 m) is 4.4 m) larger when the tension differences are considered. by: (5) The change in strain in a single dead-end span. the greater the restriction. and swing at high temperatures showed very close results. a= 11. MULTI-SPAN LINE SECTIONS.7: in the insulator string. weather loading history.. weight=1.5 kN) @lO"C. E. the suspension point moves toward long spans and away from short spans to equalize horizontal tension.=27.= lo00 ft (305 m).249 in2 or 805.792 lblft (26. NUMERICAL EXAMPLES. Appendix I.7 kN). lists the average values of those calculations. and T.5*103 MPa). either without or after offset clipping. Depending on the specific spans lengths. the horizontal tension H may be computed for any given temperature. Transmission lines are usually sagged to maintain the insulators plumb. line angles. The basic assumption for the numerical examples is that the initial position of the insulators is vertical. the sag in the longest span of 1500 ft (457. Since the six computer programs used by the Task Force to calculate sag. conductor "Lapwing". The ruling span inaccuracies are largest for lines with short insulator strings [5]. In general. in the parabolic approximation.6 to obtain Eq.H-Ho --- Lo As +a (T-To) The "graphic method" of sag-tension calculation [4].)relative to the span length (S)and is given. As can be seen.52 m) long. It has been noted that short and long spans react differently to changes of temperature. The ruling span method assumes that complete equalization is achieved.5*106 psi (189. coupling each span with adjacent spans. original sagging and clampingin procedures. creep and permanent strain from weather loads. Using this assumption we can combine Eq. S. In a typical transmission line. most spans are "suspension" whose end-point supports move. the movement of the suspension point caused by tension difference is restrained by the vertical load at the suspension point. The shorter the insulator's length. line profile. Figure 1. tension.6*10-6 1PF (21*10-6 lPC). E.5 m) span in our example. 4517. Suspension point movement is usually. by: (S)can be calculated (4) Arc elongation (or slack) is defined as the excess length of conductor (I. is: &-Lo. in which the temperature changes from T. shows an insulator string and the forces acting at the suspension point. spans. With temperature rise. Initial condition: €?. final condition: Td. accompanied by a change in tension from H. The larger the load Consider a dead-ended line section consisting of 10 spans. there may be a difference in horizontal tension between any two adjacent uneven spans. In the span of 1150 ft (350.551 The length (I.=9. A complete analysis of multi-span line sections should take into account conductor properties. f i This cubic equation in H describes the approximate tensiontemperature relationship for a single dead-end span. are known e. High operating temperatures (over l W C ) further degrades the accuracy of this approximation. but not always. insulator string properties. RTS=43780 lb (194.

36 ft (1. In both cases. Similar calculations and comparison were made using the insulator string lengths of 2.33 m) long.5 ft (0. The sag errors with the 2500 lb/ft line post insulators are approximately 1/2 of the difference between the ruling span and individual span cases. . The sag errors would be much larger if the spans lengths were increased.063 in (27 mm). string length. because although flexible. Line post insulator is 4.. H. In order to define such a local ruling span.8958 lb/ft (13. the swing of the 2. The resulting behaviour is described later in this paper as a "local" ruling span which differs from the traditional ruling span method.5 m). The basic assumption of the traditional ruling span method was verified i. and the corresponding tension change is from &=8440 lb (37. High temperature sags can be modeled with alternative techniques such as "local" ruling span and fits to tensiontemperature behaviour. For the same conditions.7: If (To. The "local" ruling span length was calculated using Eq. Stiffer line post insulators would cause the line section behave more like individual spans. 795 kcmil (403 mm?. A better understanding of these techniques may be beneficial for the users of the real time line monitoring systems. and insulator string lengths. an accurate single parameter fit can be established between the two fitted points.1 N/m). 14 ft (4. the tension differences in adjacent spans. in the same spans. However. elastic response of structures or uncertainties of elastic modulus and coefficient of thermal expansion). the 5 ft (1.6 m) and of 1150 ft (350.4 m). RTS=22100 lb (98. Case 2.5 m) long insulator string swing results in a tension difference of 182 lb (0. H)are known for a particular span. Only for the idealized ruling span method. and 200 ft (61 m). ACSR. shows the effect of deflection of line post insulators on sag at high temperatures. if (H. OTHER APPROACHES TO RULING SPAN ERRORS.3 m). i.8 m) ruling span.. seven units insulator strings in the same span would have spring constant of about 120-150 lb/ft (1750-2190 N/m). For comparison.75 kN) @lOOC. its "local" ruling span is obtained using this equation. 3315 lb (14.6674 in2 (430. Initial tension is 15% RTS. The later can be considered as an insulator of infinite length. w=0. there is practically a complete tension equalization. Analysis using the case described below shows that the current practice can lead to sag errors. This confirms the significant effect of the length of the insulators. "Local"ruling man.8 for Case 1.3 kN). The tensions in the 1150 ft (350.) and (T.e. angle structures. MI. Effect of line Dost insulators deflection.5 m).5 ft (0. Calculationsperformed for Case I assumed an insulator string length of 5 ft (1. total area=0. Table 2. the tension @lOSC approaches the ruling span tension. a polymer line post insulator is still a magnitude stiffer than a suspension insulator for a similar span.5 m) span are modeled by the ruling span method to follow those of the lo00 ft (304. but the restraints of the insulator strings cause the span to behave more like an 912 ft (278 m) span. this second order deviation can be calculated using a multispan program and fitting "local" ruling spans for each span of interest. This is a single-parameter fit to the tension-temperature relationship to two known points and is only valid to the accuracy to which the line section can be modeled (e.76 m) long insulator string results in tension difference of 339 lb (1.8 kN) between spans of 750 ft (228. Appendix I.e.54 kN) to H=5886 Ib (26. At conductor temperature of lOoOC. it may not be practical to have ruling spans which vary with temperature and location. Effect of the insulator string length. The ruling span = 500 ft (152.g.6 mm?. diameter = 1. Alternatively. stiffness is independent of insulator string length. as the insulator string length increases to infinity.552 actual sag is larger than the sag calculated using the ruling span method) depends on the span's length. and has a stiffness of approximately 2500 lb/ft (3728 kg/m). Case 3.18 kN).8 m). The concept of a "local" ruling span ( R S ) is to find a deadend span that has the same tension-temperature relationship as each actual span. the "local" ruling span's tensiontemperature behaviour will differ from the actual ruling span except between and near the two fitted points. Calculations were made using conductor "Tern". For the assumed 200 ft (61 m) insulator A.5 kN). The calculation was performed for a temperature change from To= 10°C to T= 100°C.) and (H) are determined by measuring the conductor tension directly [6] or derived from the measured sag at two known temperatures. rewrite Eq. If necessary.

sag. Barrett.Boyse. it is recommended to add a buffer of about 1 m to the vertical clearance at maximum thermal sag. "Computing Tensions in Transmission Lines". J. and RECONSTRUCTION. No. ACSR Graphic Method for SagTension Computations (Book).219-231. the magnitude of sag errors should be evaluated using one of the available computer programs.78.3. namely: D. Pittsburg. July 1995. Journal AIEE. Linesoft Inc. The fitting of (a) takes into account the constant terms involving (H. the fitting of (b) takes into account the "springiness" of all the other spans either increasing or decreasing the effective spring constant of the conductor and. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. which can be fitted by linear regression to either the results from a multispan sag-tension program or to observed values of (T)and (H).91. In many cases. N. Rawlins.G. pp. Chisholm.2. . The main source of errors is the longitudinalinsulator swing in line sections with unequal spans. C. [4]. Temperature-Sag Model for OperationalReal Time Ratings". Dec. pp. W.10. 1944. February 1960. Vol. and tension are fully valid for dead-end spans only. A multi-span line section can be analyzed as an equivalent single dead-end "ruling" span. X. For overhead lines planned for high temperature operation. 1532-1548. Power Line System Inc. - VIII.Koonce.F. NIP & TUCK. pp. "The Problem of Conductor Sagging on Overhead Transmission Lines". Vol. post insulators can cause individual spans to behave as if they were dead-ended at every structure. Aluminum Company of America. C.Seppa. Journal AIEE. "Electrical World".4.B. Schmidt. originally rated for low operating temperatures.A. IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery. Chisholm.P. P. If is required as a function of (T). Power Technologies Inc. pp. as a result of the insulator swing at high operating temperatures the spans can interact in such a way that a multispan sag-tension program may be necessary to predict the line section sag-temperature behaviour more accurately. Vo1. are uprated for operation at higher temperatures. [5]. The ruling span concept remains the most practical method to string overhead line conductors. SAGSEC. pp.O.S. IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery. Ontario Hydro. Line post insulators can cause errors if the sag calculations are made using traditional ruling span equations when the span lengths vary significantly..S.J and (To). B L In general. The traditional equations describing the relationship between temperature and span length. Vo1. [3]. no.8 m). 1. Theodor Vamey.72-73. IX. In some cases it may be practical to run a multi-span program once and fit the results.Part 11. and c. 2.7 as: (9) C T=a +bB+- Si1 This equation is linear in the parameters a. "Ampacity Studies on 49OC-Rated Transmission Line". Pennsylvania. 1927.A. April 1989. the sag in the 1150 ft (350. the sag may be computed using the actual span lengths and Eq. 3.T. The traditional ruling span method can be used with acceptable error margins for lines which are operated below l@C and have relatively equal and near level spans. [2]. Keselman. REFERENCES [ 11. 6. One way to fit the tension-temperature of each span is to rewrite Eq. for providing the results of calculations using the following computer programs: STRING. no. N. Dr.553 Because the "local" ruling span had the temperature-tension behaviour of a span shorter than lo00 ft (304.3. Simpson. 5. Task Force members would like to thank the following persons and organizations for their contributions to the success of this task. the fitting of (c) is similar to fitting a "local" ruling span. "Accurate Ampacity Determination.Winkelman. L. When old lines.2. [6].E.either a closed-form solution of the cubic equation or an iterative solution may be used. W.M.. Once (H) has been obtained for a given span. 1476-1485. 4.5 m) span was actually larger than that estimated using the traditional ruling span equation. The ruling span effects are not dependent on the type of conductor but rather on the amount of tension change per degree of conductor temperature change. 1460-1470.b. E. "Sag-Tension Computations and Field Measurements of Bonneville Power Administration". SWING. Thayer.O. 1924. SPRING. The Valley Group. CONCLUSIONS.

1 21.8 basedon s.3 0.2 259.6 19.5 3.3 16. ~~~~~ span.1 20.2 11.=lOOO ft (304.8 15.2 0.0 5.1 8.2 6. I wi .8 20.6 9.7 I a\d I (conductor I I I ' *.5 0.8 0.2 9.5 1. tan 8 = H / (wi/2+we).3 10.1 1.6 16.2 21.6 0.4 5.2 10.4 10.04 0.6 137.8 7.5 29. ft 0.1 50.12 ft (6.6 4. .2 0.2 2. tension=1328 lb (5.20 -0.2 8.1 26.6 5.6 2.9 5.8 m): 700 1150 m 213.3 19.12 0.2 26.5 118.8 2.84 ft (11.9 kN) 575 430 530 390 600 5 10 3 90 5 80 350 106. 1.8 18.1 25.8 2.7 33.7 33.6 289.3 -4.6 0.8 8.8 15.6 6.4 2.8 16.7 1.2 23.9 0.5 -0.1 9.3 5.7 3.2 11.1 9.2 0.2 12.5 0.8 20.4 0.4 span.1 3.9 0. sagz36.2 .8 6.2 Table II Effect of Post Insulator Deflection on High Temperature Sag.6 16.4 @lo0 "C.9 4.8 6.3 9.1 4.5 Sag@lOO°C 18.44 m).7 4.3 15.1 8.9 0.7 7.1 31.2 274.6 1.1 20.9 3.3 2.6 457.4 18.7 175.4 78.5 3.9 155.554 Appendix I.3 131.5 19.3 5. = weight of insulator wc= total weight of a vertical span of conductor H = total horizontal load including component of tension due to line angle + I4 Fig. Suspension Insulator Swing S.1 48.1 3. 15.9 3.9 10.2 4.9 176.23 m).03 0.4 2.1.4 -0. tension=6090 lb (27.09 0.2 5.6 0.2 400 121.9 6.4 350.2 -0.5 -0. Sag@ 100°C w/deflection Sag@ 100°C individual span Sag error I Sp500 ft (152.4 m): @lo0 "C.6 4. ft m Sag@lOO°C based on S.9 15.5 6.5 118.6 10.3 w/swing effect Sag error 1.0 6.3 6.8 9. where: 8 = angle of insulator swing .9 Sag@100"C 19.6 -0.1 kN) 750 450 900 750 950 1500 850 228.9 182.7 -0. 5.96 0.7 22. sae21.6 0.66 -1.1 650 198.2 -0.6 5.1 -1.3 228.8 19.0 161.3 0.9 9.0 3.6 0.2 -0.9 9.8 11.5 14.7 3.1 2.3 83.

Columbus.3 feet) to the vertical clearance" at the maximum operating temperature.). Not mentioned in the paper is the effect of "room temperature" creep due to the time lag between putting the conductor in the stringing blocks and actually sagging and clipping in the conductor. at the time of installation. in my experience when an overhead line has significant variations in span length (other than when crossing a specifichnique geographic feature such as a major river). Therefor. which. AEP has effectively been adding more than the "1 meter" (3. but we have not found a better procedure. From my experience analyzing the sag of actual lines. this issue is of greater concern at lower line voltages and less of a concern at higher Line voltages. Kluge (Wisconsin Power and Light Co. increasing to 25% after 48 hours and to 30% after 120 hours (Creep being a log function. As the insulator string becomes longer. at times. Additionally. if the line is operating at elevated temperatures. conductor sagging.3 foot) buffer recommended in the paper: 30 cm (1 foot) from elevated temperature creep +30 cm (1 foot) from room temperaturG creep before sagging + 61 cm (2 foot) AEP buffer = 1. For the conditions specified for Case 1 in the paper. the minimum clearance usually does not occur near the mid span (where the valley ''drops" away) but nearer the supporting structures (approximately at the quarter points of the span). To account for this. again. the differences in tension in adjacent spans decreases (generally inversely to the increase in the length of the insulator string moment arm). they demonstrate the limitations of the ruling span method. we have included the effects of elevated temperature creep in the design of new lines and the review of older lines for operation at elevated temperatures. The reader should be cautioned that the comparisons shown in Table I and I1 contain the premise that the conductors had uniform tension between dead ends.. since 1978 at AEP.0 foot) buffer to the NESC required clearances at the conductor maximum operating temperatures (to account for errors in surveying.5 meters (5 feet). the difference between the Initial and Final sags At 16°C (60°F) is approximately 1. For the conditions outlined in Case 1. and excess structure height is generally not occurring. In the example of a series of unequal (tangent) suspension spans preseiited in Case 1. Since 1986. that is. there are numerous events that can cause the conductor tension to be different between individual spans even when at normal ambient temperatures. Thus the sags will be closer to the Ruling Span based predictions. Madison. 4) Line alterations including structure height increases or relocation of structures (unless the conductor is reclamped or sliced to restore the balance tension condition).5 meters (5 feet) less than anticipated. They also explain that this limitation is inherent in the definitions of ruling span method. the line is traversing very rugged terrain and "jumping" from ridge-to-ridge. Freimark (American Electric Power. is generally considercd to be conservative. the larger sag at the mid-span (where the clearance is large) has a minimal effect on the final structure heights." As impractical as it may seem. Therefor: if the creep is ignored (as is normally the case) and the wire is then sagged to "Initial" sadtension values. the general trend is for spans shorter than and approximately equal in length to the Ruling Span to have adjusted sags approximately 37 cm (1. however. Therefor. and spans significantly longer to have sags up to 1. R. the sag differences could be greater or smaller than shown in these tables.2 meters (4 feet). OH): AEP recognizes the errors associated with the traditional Ruling Span method. 2) Settlement of structures or relaxation of anchors or guys. If the conductor's NESC-Heavy design tension were a conservative 40% of its rated strength and the wire was pulled-in and hanging in the stringing blocks at 70% of the sagging tension for 12 hours (overnight). nor does this paper suggest a better procedure. it is necessary. this increases the design sag of the Ruling Span by approximately 30 cm (1 foot). Also not directly stated but only inferred to in Case 3 in the paper is the relationship of insulator string length to unbalanced tension. etc. we have added a 61 cm (2. 1998. the conductor may not have uniform tension because there is horizontal restraint at the insulators. . Regarding the reduction in sag in the longer spans of the line section. other than to "add a buffer amount of 1 meter (3. Therefor. the ruling span method assumes an idealistic support that has no horizontal restraint where as the multi-span method considers partial restraint of the insulators. that this "may not be practical. Manuscript received February 13. Since this premise may not always be true on a real line. 20% of the 10-year room temperature creep would occur. the "Final" sags would be less than the design values by approximately 30 cm (1 foot). For longer spans. These include: 1) The conductor may not have uniform tension when clamped at the time of installation.2 feet) more than anticipated. 3) Prior heavy ice loading on the conductors. By comparing sag calculations using both a ruling span and what the authors call a "multi-span" approach. the authors adeptly explain that a "second order deviation can be calculated using a multi-span program and fitting 'local' ruling spans for each span." They add.555 Discussion B. The authors then show that. 0. structure setting. WI 53701): The IEEE Task Force on "Bare Conductor Sag at High Temperature" have presented a very timely and useful paper for utilities desiring to operate their transmission lines at maximum the capacity.).

With the active uprating of lines taking place in many parts of the world. this is only true either if all the spans are identical or if the suspension insulators are infinitely long. The magnitude of a heavy ice loading e\ ent is important because it may cause additional inelastic strain in the conductor that exceeds the long term creep. Carrington.. the steel will thenceforth support a greater share of the conductor weight. The obvious result of this strain is increased sag. A sufficient number of spans should be measured to obtain actual field conditions and knowledge of any unbalanced tension. Subsequent statements. J. GenCat. The software programs . In practice. Tunstall (The National Grid Company. would you comment on the number of additional sag measurements required to back calculate the strain level of the conductor? Since the paper did not provide a comparison of the programs. However. as temperature or loading changes. however. March 1998. In one or two places. which allows for insulator swing and for the reduction of EA with increased temperature. 1998. after a heavy ice loading event. thus overstating the insulator swing’ are therefore confusing. the explanation of the role of suspension insulators seems a little confusing. possess an addition feature. The fundamental assumption of the ruling span (also known as the ‘equivalent span’) approximation for a multi-span section is stated in Section I11 A: that the tension in all of the spans is equal and changes by the same amount. the ACSR conductor will behave more like SSAC (steel supported aluminum conductor). multi-span methods as recommended by the authors are even more necessary. This is not to say. 2 T. then the corresponding sections are checked using the NGC program. 0. Ronald J.5 m is typical of the maximum differences that have been found between ruling span and GenCat calculations. WA): The authors have done a fine job of helping focus attention on a most important subject. multiple sadtension measurements must be taken at differing temperatures. Manuscript received February 13. This can be extremely valuable not only to calculate the long term conductor strain but also record ice loading data to determine retum intervals of local ice loading events. the experiences I have identified above provide additional reasons for using one of the multi-span programs referenced by the authors.’ Utilities should be aware that many of these field conditions I have mentioned can have a greater effect on the conductor sags than the choice of a numerical method of evaluation. At high operating temperatures. therefore. the paper is both timely and germane. NGC are currently uprating a number of their AAAC circuits from a rated temperature of 75°C to 90°C. 0. J. such as in Section V: ‘The ruling span method assumes that complete equalisation is achieved. Item 3) presents special problems because the utility may not know the ice loading history for the conductor. UK): This paper provides a useful commentary on the ruling span approximation and draws attention to a problem that is not well-recognised among many practising line designers. Of course. the strain will generally be greater in the aluminum. they readily provide multiple tension measurements. based on the ruling span approximation. If this procedure leads to predicted clearances that are within 0.556 5 ) Numerous methods of increasing the conductor clearances such as “off-set clipping” at critically low spans or removing a segment of conductor from a critically low span. since. that utilities should not use a more precise method of evaluating conductor sags. Where necessary these checks are combined with surveys of critical spans. 1998. during which direct measurements are made of conductor temperature. The ruling span approximation is therefore likely to be accurate only where both the true solution requires very small insulator swings and the suspension points are free to allow them to take place. Carrington (ECSI Corporation. To determine where the conductor is on its final strain curve.5 m or less of the design value. that is.’ Any of these conditions may result in either an increase or decrease in conductor tension for a portion of a line that could result in unbalance tension. IEEE-TP&C ESMO Conference paper. “New Technologies for Transmission Line Upgrading”. are all of the programs equally capable of handing imbalanced initial tensions or span specific tension modifications? 1 R. Tension monitors. thereby conflicting with the ruling span assumption. It is preferable that the authors use a numerical example with the point of support points at different elevations so that the reader could see the effects of differences in elevations as well as unequal span lengths. The procedure that has been adopted is to check the clearances of the line at 90°C using standard software. CIGRE. In other words. The authors suggest that all six computer programs showed very close results which leads the reader to believe that any of the six programs are adequate for this type analysis. The numerical example presented in Case 1 is a set of unequal spans with the conductor support points all at the same elevation. al. M. 1998. Spokane. as suggested by the authors to measure conductor tensions when operating at elevated temperatures. Seppa. this is significant because steel has a smaller coefficient of thermal expansion than aluminum and. Conversely. In the latter case. Ice Loads and Other Environmental Effects”. et. It is self-evident from Figure 1 that a finite length insulator can sustain a swing only if there is a tension difference between the adjacent spans. driven by the increasing need to make the maximum use of existing right-of-way. the change in conductor sag with temperature will be less. the insulators are required to swing only an infinitesimally small amount to achieve tension equalisation across the insulators. at icing temperatures. Manuscript received February 13. “Use of On-Line Tension Monitors for Real Time Ratings. Two final questions: If one does not know the ice loading history. if unbalance tensions exist.

The third column of tensions.106.BRIAN WHITE. the authors are encouraged to support this claim in this report or a subsequent document.249. 8. misleading and potentially dangerous. whether used for design or analysis should take into account how well all of the input parameters and calculation methods are known. I would like to add a discussion to clarify how to fit Eqn. we suggest that RS method be applied to derive sagging data and to spot the structures and that the structure heights then be adjusted by means of one of the H. It was suggested that we present our views after presentation of the document which we do at this time.9. in section VIII. The needed buffer should then be no more than and probably less than anything used in the past for normal temperature operation.-clH~ To provide an example of the accuracy of the “local ruling span” fit of Eqn. 9.2 m) span is 860. H. Then the sagging in can be done with due consideration given to application of offsets.106 + 0. at 10°C and 100°C from Table I. q = H . For a new line planned for high temperature operation. The tension error increases significantly with temperature. Toronto. (137. at clipping in if supplemented by apphation of offsets. The total spring constant.5.. The clearance buffer should be established for a particular transmission line after careful engineering study. Our second item of concern relates to the subject of buffers.1I H: z=er-qf Then b = (dr . The second column of tensions. Item 5. based on a multi-span program. This is also a very important topic particularly for rerating and real-time rating.88 ft.. r = 1I H . .define: d=T. the authors state that sag errors caused by temperature variation along the line section are generally less than the sag errors caused by incomplete tension equalization. Examples could be presented where the appropriate clearance buffer should be less than 1 m and examples could also be presented where the appropriate clearance buffer should be far in excess of 1 m. including the steel. Consultant Hudson. The first tension column provides the “actual” tensions. . Except when dealing with an absolutely level series of even spans. .2 m) span of Case 1 in the paper. The step to HT operation will contain some small areas of doubt regarding wire properties but not warranting a buffer of 1m. which is the aluminum component alone. f =1/H:-1/H: p = T2 .5 lb. the “local ruling span” fit is within 67. . is based on the ruling span method.H2). Providing this “rule of thumb” in this paper is inappropriate.-H. (To.557 identified in the paper have not been rigorously evaluated and representing that they are all produce equivalent results is misleading the reader.9. Ha. In paragraph C. almost all need for a buffer such as I m has been removed. A numerical example with conductor support points not all at the same elevation would present a more realistic example of typical lines found in the field. H.Hi) and (T2. in the 450 ft. We do not agree that such an IEEE Task Force should be recommending such an important parameter without much more intensive discussion. Stephen Barrett (Ontario Hydro. The clearance buffer. 9 to the multi-span tension-temperature relationship. (T1. the first imperative is to determine the position of the existing wire. Based on H. is based on the “local ruling span” fit of Eqn.. a concept mentioned in the abstract and also in item 6 of the conclusions where it states that the RS concept “remains the most practical method“ etc. Manuscript received February 23. the spring constant AE is given as 1. 8 and the 3-parameter fit of Eqn. but a simple fit to three points may be more convenient. (262. We look forward to more detailed discussion of this question of necessary and sufficient buffers. the recommended buffer of about 1m proposed in Conclusion 4. Assuming correct installation with offsets so that insulator strings are vertical at clipping in. One theme runs throughout the document and that is that the Ruling Span (RS) method is somewhat deficient in fulfilling its purpose. an iterative process (usually one iteration is sufficient) that provides the sag tension data for stringing and obtaining vertical strings .4 m). the RS method is the only method for deriving necessary sag tension data for spotting the structures. T. the entire system begins to distort as soon as creep enters the picture. In this case. Since this statement has been included in this report without documentation or reference.. clamps and insulator string inclinations and with this knowledge. Canada): Although a member of the Task Force on “Bare Conductor Sag at High Temperature”.. The Accuracy. 1998. programs or equivalent as mentioned in this paper.8 m).specifically. Canada : While being an active member of the Task Force we expressed and maintained some opinions contrary to those of the majority on several issues discussed in the document. The three-parameter fit of Eqn.-bH. (137.5.106. where the ruling span is 999. In the paper’s example computation of the “local ruling span”. Given three points. the “local ruling span” for the 450 ft.Ho). the offsets being needed to compensate for the unequal horizontal tensions that exist in the mix of long and short spans or in spans at different elevations while in the stringing blocks. Neglect of offsets is quite rational and common if they are small but their omission will certainly complicate the process of trying to predict the sag distortions that will occur at higher temperatures.H .T.p f ) I z c = (ep . and . is given by 1. (300 N) of the “actual” values.086.93 ft (304. Quebec.-T.249. they were applied to the 450 ft. H. This paper has presented insufficient evidence to support this recommendation.27. (137. 9 is best determined by a least-squares fit to all the “data points”. e=H. J. recommends a clearance buffer of 1 m for high temperature operation.5.q d ) I z a=T.2 m) span. For HT operation of an existing line. CONCLUSIONS.

9 33.204 6913.582 7600.S.809 7240. i.. I would like to add a therefore. and so a buffer for creep is not expected from Ruling Span calculations. (27 N) of the Y. Ridgefield. at 10°C. it is normally included in both ruling variation as a function of conductor temperature was not that span and multi-span analysis..e. b and c are: a = 29. Seppa: “A Practical Approach for Increasing the Thermal Capabilities of Transmission Lines” ZEEE Transact. (137. Report [2] describes one method of experimental determination of ‘‘local’’ Ruling usually required. we have factors for tension variation within line sections of up to 24 suggested a 1 m (3. The last column of tensions.8 25. CT): issue of sags and tensions in significantly inclined spans like Although a member of the above Task Force. 1998. on Power Delivery. firstly because the effect can be computed uncertainty of conductor properties which affect the and secondly.. 0.[3] Tapani 0. Buffers are normally discussion to clarify the concept of the ‘‘local’’ Ruling Span. No. 1998. like prestressing. elevated-temperature Span length which is applied for determining the conductor creep is often less than creep at lower temperatures because temperature from the measured tension of a line section.008712633 and c = 3. span indicated a “local7’Ruling Span of 1 160-1 190 ft. 1536-1550.7 30.8 29.. The outline of this procedure which we call “Ruling Span Calibration” was presented at IEEE-PES WPM-95 in a report at TPC subcommittee meeting.07051. The tension variation measured at the 1183 ft. in close agreement with the measured values.0 37. 9. the 3-parameter fit is within 6 lb. H. [2] Tapani 0. Patent 5. such as line angles. 3. is actually beneficial in reducing long-term creep calculation. [l] Tapani 0. from Table I. 3. Although creep was not early as 1992 that in some cases the measured tension discussed in the paper. 300 ft. on Power Delivery.879675. The importance of the “local” Ruling Span concept and its experimental determination is that it is a fundamental tool for accurate determination of sags in “sag-critical’’ spans of the line section from tensions or sags measured somewhere else in the line section. The most interesting actual test case appeared in 1994 with an installation at a 100 kV line section consisting of only four spans. July 1993. But in In 1992 we developed the earliest complete multi-span sag cases where is a mixture of short and long spans with short model. 1183 ft.752 6617. July 1995. Seppa: “Accurate Ampacity Determination: Temperature . The the aluminum stress decreases with temperature. U.558 TABLE I: Tensions in the 450 ft.0 28. The formula (8) of the report and a description of its use for real time ratings was first published in [3]. buffers and with the effect of the insulator string length on sags is consistent with our paper findings and recommendations. Motlis: “actual” values.109. 1996. elevation differences and the is also not required. We would report also points out that there are other factors than the therefore question why a buffer for elevated-temperature insulator swing.864. In ACSR conductors.152 5881.. 5OoC and 100°C Manuscript received February 13. and sag. 975 ft. above. Vol.541 7999. using the 3-point fit method described System”. . Seppa (The Valley Group Inc. b = -0. compared to the “classical” Ruling Span of 1399 ft.6 35. added to predicted sag values to take into account possible computation errors and effects that have not already been The data from tension monitoring systems [l] indicated as considered in the sag calculations. because creep before sagging-in.. 10. pp.1 26.2m) Span of “L:ipwing” ACSR in “Case 1” H.2 32. and 1787 ft. Normally. We would like to emphasize that the whole T. and in complete in high mountains is very different than for level spans and. Seppa: “Power Transmission Line Monitoring parameter fit of Eqn.4 27.. the resulting values of a. The multi-span tension program calculated “local” Ruling Span value of 1180 ft. 8.Sag Model for Operational Real Time Ratings” IEEE Transact. A buffer for creep before sagging-in deadend insulator properties. Freimark for his comments regarding buffers. In this case. structure response. agreement with the TF document.436 6349. creep has been specified. No. is not addressed in our paper.250 spans between deadends.159 5676.240 6104. a 61 cm (2 ft) buffer is adequate. 7 1L-J (W 8440. The authors would like to thank Mr.5 17.. Using the values of Ha. AEP’s experience in using Manuscript received February 23. which allowed analysis the effect of all the above insulators and the ruling span method is being used. May 2 1. is based on the 3.3 ft) buffer. Vol.

Mr. Carrington means to us evaluation of the condition survey of an existing line. Freimark and Dr. Prior to the emerged issue of sags at high temperature operation. however. This assumption is not generally warranted. Freimark illustrates the point that the buffer needs not be a fixed value. that if a temperature sensor is placed each mile on a 20-mile transmission line. the authors agree that tension equalization is always imperfect for insulator strings of finite length. If the conductor‘s loading history is unknown . . whereas the authors intended it to mean the distance that the bottom of the insulator string moves. This does not. 1 ft to -0. that in most cases the eKcct of relatively small slopes on tension equalization is much less than the error caused by the longitudinal inclination of suspension insulators. indicated that the average clcarance buffer used by these utilities for 115-138 kV lines is -3. thcy are questioning the Task Force recommendation of about 1 111 (3. during the design stage. this means that the 1. field measurements of sag are typically within 0.4 ft (0. Mr. Mr.2 ft (-1 m). it should be brought back to the vertical position using offset clipping.. with little variation in the span lengths. The above discussions imply that for high temperature operation of existing lines. Although we are not familiar in detail with all six computer programs referenced in our paper. or tension levels used). drafting. either without or after offset clipping”. This is based on several published reports which indicate that the temperature variation within a single span is gcnerally larger than the variation of the average tempcrature of spans in a line section [1. in which the first five spans are in a +lo% slope.6 mile (2. 5 where the difference is 0. he points out that they can be included in multi-span methods.43 m) at 95OC. though. as well as verbal discussions (Mr. In response to Dr. The written discussions to this papcr by Mr. the swing angle is a function of the insulator length and not of the horizontal displacement of the support point. Our reply to Mr. it is essential to specify a clearance buffer. many experienced line engineers were adding a vertical clearance buffer to compensate for well known inaccuracies in survey. The point of the paper is that the assumption of tension equalization through insulator swing is seldom perfect but often adequate. As insulator lengths increase.” We are pleascd to note that Mr. The purpose of the paper. Tunstall’s comments. White is suggesting including offset clipping as a part of this report. and slightly larger for lines at 230 kV and above. We thank Dr. For example.3 R (9 cm). Even then.2]. A recent survey of 47 North American utilities. we would like to use thc opportunity to clarify for all readers that it is rather a typical value for design of new lines and for the existing lines that have not had a condition survey. The Task Force members have agreed that offset clipping is a very involving topic by itself and. Tunstall notes. the variations in the measured tcrnpcrature within the span was greater than the variation among the spans. Tunstall for pointing out an area of possible confusion in our paper. [2] states: We discovercd. or the horizontal displacement increase for the same swing angle. The ruling span method. Although these were not dealt with in the paper. Carrington’s discussion describes line uprating to 95°C based on sag measurements using laser. and the benefits of monitoring tensions or clearances. We agree with Mr. Kluge also discusses the problems associated with not knowing the conductor’s loading history.. Florida. as Dr. render the ruling span approximation less useful since. Tunstall. On another hand. Carrington and Mr. we believe that at least some of the multi-span programs can handle initial tension imbalances. an accurate survey and subsequent analysis could be used to reduce buffers.. W. should not be a part of this task. sags.1 ft (3 cm) in all spans but in span no. We have compared the 10-span test case of level terrain to another situation. overestimates the horizontal displacement. for example) . assuming that the stringing conditions are known (from old line layout drawings. In effect. but to illustrate the limitations of the ruling span method for lines crossing average rolling terrain in accordance with the Terms of References of this Task Force supported by all of its members. Carrington inquires about the sources of the statement that the errors caused by tempcrature variation along line section are generally less than sag errors caused by incomplete tension equalization.6 km) line section would climb over a 400 A (120 m) ridge. the swing angles decrease for the same horizontal displacement. It indicates. the permanent strain can be inferred from a few sag and temperature measurements along the stringing section.3 ft) buffer for overhead lines planned for high temperature operation.559 Mi. That is. Carrington raises the qucstion of the effect of elevation differences of structures on the results of the study. was not to promote any or all of the multi-span programs. then. the following sentence is included in the paper: ”The basic assumption for the numerical examples is that the initial position of the insulators is vertical. Peters) during the presentation of the Task Force Report in Tampa. A “careful engineering study” mentioned by Mr. in gencral. therefore. data in [4] to Mr. depending on which of the measured data and what calculation method is used. However. The difference in sag errors @lOO°C conductor temperature to the values shown in the Table 1 of the report (level span) and non-level spans is from +O. To address this issue. to perform swing analysis. conducted in conjunction with a CIGRE survey. in a truly mountainous terrain a multispan sag-tension program is rcquired for accurate calculations. are in support of that use of buffers is a prevailing practice.5 meters of calculated values (though he does not indicate the spans. if the suspension clamp is deflecting along the line. followed by the last five spans in a -10% slope. the results show a sag error range of 1. The line section is very uniform and in level terrain. Obviously. White that the initial position of the suspension clamp is very important to perform longitudinal swing analysis at high operating temperatures. The source of the confusion appears to be that “swing” has been interpreted to mean “swing angle”. The tension at which equalization occurs at support points is a direct function of the horizontal displacement and not of the swing angle. Mr. tower ” . If the recommended in our paper “about 1 m buffer” is intcrpreted as a “rule of thumb. White do agree with us that. however. therefore. February 1998. design. Kluge has drawn attention to a number of situations that can result in unbalanced tensions between spans.

vol. 8 of our papcr. due to the above mentioned inaccuracies or combinations of them. 1982. Panel on Dynamic Thermal Ratings”. 7 of our paper. that the cases whcrcin this is necessary are limited to those where the ratio of suspension span lengths is quite large. Manuscript received August 13.”. the ratio of the longest to the shortcst suspcnsion span is nearly 6. clamps and insulator string inclinations results in that “. [ 11 T. the long span of intcrest has the tension-temperature relationship of a short span.. Scppa. It should be pointed out. Mr.g. We do not agree with Mr. no. Mr. Thc “local ruling span” concept is to use this formula to fit a span to the tension-temperature relationship. Carrington’s statement that providing in our paper this “rule of thumb. San Francisco. Scppa cites. is inappropriate. is simply a rearrangement of the same old formula. The formula appears in Winkclman’s paper of 1960 and has been used in various sag-tension programs. We would like to re-assure Mr. However. “The local ruling span” concept is useful for the evaluation of data logged by a real tinic line monitoring system. IEEEPES SPM. In the example that Mr. Additional problems surfaced with operating line conductors at high temperatures.. So. . White’s statement that knowing the position of the existing wire. Eq. e. lcading to a short fitted “local ruling span”. In the example in our paper. The “local ruling span” formula. It should be pointed out that most utilities with lines in mountainous terrain have had complete multi-span sagtension programs for dccadcs. Ca.”. 8. almost all need for a buffer such as 1 m has been removed. it should be seen in a propcr pcrspcctive. “A practical approach for increasing the thermal capabilities of transmission lines”. Varncy. which is either computed by a multi-span program or observed on an actual line. As pointed out in his references. July 1993. Thc starting point is to make the approximation that the changc of arc elongation in a single dead-end span is equal to the change of strain. it is possible to improve the accuracy of high temperature sag calculation by calculating the tension variation between suspension spans.” could be addressed to the Mr. When designing a new line.g.. 5OOC) well below the maximum (lOO°CO are of limited interest to line designers since thcy do not impact the vertical clearance at high temperature opcration. 1998. dcveloped in 1927. misleading and potentially dangerous. It does occur to the authors that the diffcrcncc between the two methods is much smaller than the differcnce bctween actual sags and those found by either approach.. Seppa is to be thanked for providing additional comments on the concept of ‘‘local’’ ruling span.the needed buffer should then be no more and probably less than anything used in the past for normal temperature operation.. 7. References. White that the ruling span method will be used as the most practical and the only method to design and string new lines. structural flexibility. as expressed in Eq. It is not “fbndamental” in the sense that it can be computed from the span lengths in a line section. Dr.O. This is certainly an unusual line dcsign wherein the use of the d i n g span approximation quite rcasonably lcads to large errors in calculated sags. Eq. however. “Discussion rccord . 3.560 erection. sag/tension calculation method. . It also seems to the authors that sag errors at conductor tcrnpcratures (e. [Z]M Davis. “. 1 m buffer. Barrett’s comparison of the “local ruling span” and the “3 parameter fit” methods should be helpful to readers who arc trying to decide bctwccn thc two methods. This is the basis of the Graphic Method by T. E E E Transactions on Power Delivcry.. a clearance buffer should be added no matter offset clipping is applied or not. conductor stringing etc. White’s statement that because of the application of offsets “. it is the unexpected behavior that explains why thc “local ruling span” is short. the short “local ruling span” does not explain the unexpected bchavior.