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Busbar size and calculation

Busbar

Bus bar

A bus bar (also spelled busbar, buss bar or busbar), is a strip or bar of copper, brass or aluminum
that conducts electricity within a switchboard, distribution board, substation, battery bank or
other electrical apparatus. Its main purpose is to conduct electricity, not to function as a structural
member.
Busbars are typically either flat strips or hollow tubes as these shapes allow heat to dissipate
more efficiently due to their high surface area to cross-sectional area ratio. A hollow section has
higher stiffness than a solid rod of equivalent current-carrying capacity, which allows a greater
span between busbar supports in outdoor switch yards.
A busbar may either be supported on insulators, or else insulation may completely surround it.
Busbars are protected from accidental contact either by a metal earthed enclosure or by elevation
out of normal reach. Power Neutral busbars may also be insulated. Earth (safety grounding)
busbars are typically bare and bolted directly onto any metal chassis of their enclosure. Busbars
may be enclosed in a metal housing, in the form of bus duct or busway, segregated-phase bus, or
isolated-phase bus.
Busbars may be connected to each other and to electrical apparatus by bolted, clamp, or welded
connections. Often joints between high-current bus sections have matching surfaces that are
silver-plated to reduce the contact resistance. At extra-high voltages (more than 300 kV) in
outdoor buses, corona around the connections becomes a source of radio-frequency interference
and power loss, so connection fittings designed for these voltages are used.
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Busbars are typically contained inside switchgear, panel boards, or busway. Distribution boards
split the electrical supply into separate circuits at one location. Busways, or bus ducts, are long
busbars with a protective cover. Rather than branching the main supply at one location, they
allow new circuits to branch off anywhere along the route of the busway.
Advantages
Following are some advantages of Bus bar trunking system over normal cabling system:1. On-site installation times are reduced compared to hard-wired systems, thus leading to cost
savings.
2. It provides increased flexibility in design and versatility with regard to future modifications.
3. Greater safety and peace of mind for specifiers, contractors and end-users.
4. Because of the simplicity of busbar, it is easy to estimate costs from the design/estimating stage
through to installation on site. This is because the technical characteristics and price of each
component are always known.
5. It is short sighted to compare the cost of busbar against that of a length of cable and not the
real cost of a cable installation to include multiple runs of cable, tray and fixing, let alone the
protracted time and effort of pulling cables.
6. Distribution busbar distributes power along its length through tap-off points along the busbar at
typically at 0.5 or 1 m centers. Tap-off units are plugged in along the length of the busbar to
supply a load; this could be a sub distribution board or, in a factory, to individual machines. Tapoffs can normally be added or removed with busbar live, eliminating production down time.
7. Installed vertically the same systems can be used for rising-mains applications, with tap-offs
feeding individual floors. Certified fire barriers are available at points where the busbar passes
through a floor slab. Protection devices such as fuses, switchfuses or circuit breakers are located
along the busbar run, reducing the need for large distribution boards and the large quantities of
distribution cables running to and from installed equipment.
8. Very compact so provides space savings.
9. Where aesthetics have to be considered, busbar trunking can be installed with natural
galvanized, aluminium, or painted finish. Special colours to match switchboards or a specific
colour scheme are also available on request.
10. Busbar trunking has several key advantages over conventional forms of power distribution
including: 11. (a) Reduced, onsite installation times when compared to hard-wired systems thus leading to cost
savings.
a. Increased flexibility in design and versatility with regard to future modifications.
b. Increased safety features brought about by the use of high quality, manufactured components,
which provide greater safety and peace of mind for specifies, contractors and end-users.
12. Uneven distribution of current takes place where multiple runs of cables are used in parallel.
13. Busbar trunking has tap-off points at regular intervals along each length to allow power to be
taken off and distributed to where it is needed. Because it is fully self-contained it needs only to
be mechanically mounted and electrically connected to be operational.
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14. For higher ratings of power distribution we need to have multiple runs of cable. In such
conditions unbalanced distribution of current takes place and causing overheating of some cable.
This is completely avoided in the BTS systems.
15. When multiple runs of cables are used it often leads to improper end connections thereby causing
overheating of contacts, burning of cables ends, and is a major cause of fire. This is completely
avoided in Bus Bar Trunking systems.
Current carrying capacity
The current-carrying capacity of a busbar is usually determined by the maximum temperature at
which the bar is permitted to operate, as defined by national and international standards such as
British Standard BS 159, American Standard ANSI C37.20, etc. These standards give maximum
temperature rises as well as maximum ambient temperatures.
BS 159 stipulates a maximum temperature rise of 50C above a 24 hour mean ambient
temperature of up to 35C, and a peak ambient temperature of 40C.
ANSI C37.20 alternatively permits a temperature rise of 65C above a maximum ambient of
40C, provided that silver-plated (or acceptable alternative) bolted terminations are used. If not, a
temperature rise of 30C is allowed.
A very approximate method of estimating the current carrying capacity of a copper busbar is to
assume a current density of 2 A/mm2 (1250 A/in2) in still air. This method should only be used
to estimate a likely size of busbar, the final size being chosen after consideration has been given
to the calculation methods. Refer catalogue of manufacturers.
The more popular thumb rule being followed in India is to assume current density of 1.0 Amps /
Sq.mm for Aluminium and 1.6 Amps for Copper for any standard rectangular conductor profile.
Standard size of bus bar
Sr. Application
Cable
busbar
area
1 Number
of One circuit per floor. Just one circuit can cover all floors.
circuits
Hence for a 20-floor
building, you need 20
circuits.
2 Main
Need 1 outgoing for each Need only 1 outgoing for each riser.
Switchboard
circuit. Hence 20 nos. Lower cost and size of main panel.
MCCB
outgoings.
Higher cost and larger
space requirement in
electrical room
3 Shaft Size
Using 4 core cables, and Typical size of 1600A riser is 185mm x
considering 1 cable per 180mm. Leads to big savings on riser
feeder, you need 20 shaft size, and hence more usable floor
cables on the lowest area on every floor.
floor.
Large
space
required for cables/ cable
tray.
4 Fire & safety
The high concentration The volume of insulating materials used
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of insulating materials
used in cables and
conductors involves a
very high level of
combustive energy.

5 Future
expansion

load on any floor exceeds


initial plan, owner has to
run an additional cable
from a spare feeder on
main board to that floor.

6 Fault
withstand
levels
7 Installation
time
8 Voltage drop

Limited by conductor
size of each circuit.
Much longer
High impedance if you
choose cable size based
on each floor current
rating.

in trunking is reduced to a minimum so


combustive energy is considerably lower
than cables. The insulating materials used
do not release corrosive or toxic gases in
the event of a fire. Once the source of the
fire is removed, these materials are
extinguished in a few seconds so that the
effect of the fire is minimised
By providing extra tap off slots on each
floor at the design stage, owner only has
to procure a tap off box and plug it in
wherever additional load is required. As
the plug in can be done live, there is no
shut down required for any of the existing
clients / circuits. Future Flexibility.
Much higher typically a 1600 A riser has
a fault withstand capability of 60 to 70
kA. Safer in an electrical fault.
Each riser on a 20-floor building can be
installed in approximately 2 to 3 days.
Much
lower
impedance.
Hence
substantially lower voltage drop.

Busbars Reduce System Costs


A laminated busbar will lower manufacturing costs by decreasing assembly time as well as
internal material handling costs. Various conductors are terminated at customer specified
locations to eliminate the guesswork usually associated with assembly operating procedures. A
reduced parts count will reduce ordering, material handling and inventory costs.
Bus bars Improve Reliability
Laminated bus bars can help your organization build quality into processes. The reduction of
wiring errors results in fewer reworks, lower service costs and lower quality costs.
Bus bars Increase Capacitance
Increased capacitance results in decreasing characteristic impedance. This will ultimately lead to
greater effective signal suppression and noise elimination. Keeping the dielectrics thin and using
dielectrics with a high relative K factor will increase capacitance.
Eliminate Wiring Errors
By replacing a standard cable harnesses with bus bars, the possibility for miss-wirings is
eliminated. Wiring harnesses have high failure rates relative to bus bars, which have virtually
none. These problems are very costly to repair. Adding bus bars to your systems is effective
insurance.
Bus bars Lower Inductance
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Any conductor carrying current will develop an electromagnetic field. The use of thin parallel
conductors with a thin dielectric laminated together minimizes the effect of inductance on
electrical circuits. Magnetic flux cancellation is maximized when opposing potentials are
laminated together. Laminated bus bars have been designed to reduce the proximity effect in
many semiconductor applications as well as applications that involve high electromagnetic
interference (EMI).
Bus bars Lower Impedance
Increasing the capacitance and reducing the inductance is a determining factor in eliminating
noise. Keeping the dielectric thickness to a minimum will accomplish the highly desired low
impedance.
Bus bars Provide Denser Packaging
The use of wide, thin conductors laminated together led to decreased space requirements.
Laminated bus bars have helped decrease total system size and cost.
Bus bars Provide Wider Variety of Interconnection Methods
The flexibility of bus bars has allowed an unlimited number of interconnection styles to choose
from. Bushings, embossments, and fasten tabs are most commonly used.
Bus bars Improve Thermal Characteristics
The wide, thin conductors are favourable to allowing better airflow in systems. As package sizes
decrease, the cost of removing heat from systems has greatly increased. A bus bar cannot only
reduce the overall size required, but it can also improve airflow with its sleek design.
Material: The copper will be of ETP grade as per DIN 13601-2002 and with oxygen free copper.
Chemical composition: Purity of copper will be as per DIN EN 13601:2002. Copper + Silver
99.90% min.
Typical example
Rating Current: 3200Amp.
System:415Vac, TPN, 50Hz.
Fault Level: 50KA. For 1 Sec.
Operation Temp:40 C rise over 45 C ambient.
CONSIDERATION
Enclosure size: 1400 mm. wide X 400mm. height
Bus bar Size: 2:200x10 per Ph., 1:200x10 for Neutral.
Bus bar material: Electrolytic gr. Al. (IS 63401/AA6101)
Short Circuit Rating
-upto 400A rated current:
-600 to 1000A rated current:
-1250 to 2000A rated current:
-2500 to 5000A rated current:

25KA for 1 sec.


50KA for 1 sec.
65-100KA for 1 sec.
100-225KA for 1 sec.

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The minimum cross section needed in sqmm for busbar in various common cases can be listed as
belowMaterial

Fault level
(KA)

Withstand time

Aluminium

35
50
65

1 sec.
443
633
823

Copper

35
50
65

285
407
528

200 msec.
198
283
368

40 ms.
89
127
165

10 ms.
44
63
82

127
182
236

57
81
106

28
41
53

Let us select a busbar with an example:


1) Aluminium busbar for 2000A, 35 kA for 1 sec withstand From the table the minimum
cross-section needed would be 443 mm2. Thus we can select a 100mm x 5mm busbar as the
minimum cross-section. Considering a current density of 1A/ mm2 by considering
temperature as well as skin effect, we shall require 4 x 100mm x 5mm busbars for this case.
2) Copper busbar for 2000A, 35 kA for 1 sec withstand From the table the minimum crosssection needed would be 285 mm2. Thus we can select a 60mm x 5mm busbar as the minimum
cross-section. Considering a current density of 1.6A/ mm2 by considering temperature as well as
skin effect, we shall require 4 x 60mm x 5mm busbars for this case.
Thus, by using the above formula and table, we can easily select busbars for our switchboards.
Size in Area
Weight/
current carrying capacity in amp ( copper ) at 35 deg.C
mm
sqmm km
AC ( no. of bus)
DC ( no. of bus)
I
II
III
II II
I
II
III
II II
12X2
24
0.209
110
200
115
205
15X2
30
0.262
140
200
145
245
15X3
75
0.396
170
300
175
305
20X2
40
0.351
185
315
190
325
20X3
60
0.529
220
380
225
390
20X5
100
0.882
295
500
300
510
25X3
75
0.663
270
460
275
470
25X5
125
1.11
350
600
355
610
30X3
90
0.796
315
540
320
560
30X5
150
1.33
400
700
410
720
40X3
120
1.06
420
710
430
740
40X5
200
1.77
520
900
530
930
40X10 400
3.55
760
1350 1850 2500 770
1400 2000
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50X5
50X10
60X5
60X10
80X5
80X10
100X5
100X1
0
120X1
0
160X1
0
200X1
0

250
500
300
600
400
800
500
1000

2.22
4.44
2.66
5.33
3.55
7.11
4.44
8.89

630
920
760
1060
970
1380
1200
1700

1100
1600
1250
1900
1700
2300
2050
2800

1650
2250
1760
2600
2300
3100
2850
3650

2100
3000
2400
3500
3000
4200
3500
5000

650
960
780
1100
1000
1450
1250
1800

1150
1700
1300
2000
1800
2600
2250
3200

1750
2500
1900
2800
2500
3700
3150
4500

2500
3600
3200
4800
4050
5800

1200

10.7

2000

3100

4100

5700

2150

3700

5200

6700

1600

14.2

2500

3900

5300

7300

2800

4800

6900

9000

2000

17.8

3000

4750

6350

8800

3400

6000

8500

10000

Temperature rise
During the short circuiting, the bus bar should be able to withstand the thermal as well as
mechanical stress. When a sort circuiting takes place, the temperature rise is directly proportional
to the squire of the rms value of the fault current. The duration of short circuiting is very small
i.e. one second till the breakers opens and clears the fault. The heat dissipation through
convection and radiation during this short duration is negligible and all the heat is observed by
the busbar itself. The temperature rise due to the fault can be calculated by applying the
formulae.
T = K (I/A) 2 (1+) 10-2
T=temperature rise per second
A= conductor cross section area
= temperature coefficient of resistivity at 20 deg.C/deg.C
= 0 .00393 for copper
= 0 .00386 for aluminium
K = constant
=0.52 for copper
=1.166 for aluminium
= temperature of the conductor at the instant at which the temperature rise is being calculated.
Typical calculation
Rated current = 1000A
Fault current = 50KA for 1 sec
Permissible temperature rise= 40 deg.C
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Busbar material =aluminium ally E91E


De-rating factor due to material =1
De-rating factor due to temperature rise =0.86
De-rating factor due to enclosure =0.75
Total de-rating factor = 1x0.75x0.86=0.66
Minimum cross section area required to withstand short circuit for 1 sec.
= (Ifc xt
)/0.08
Where, Ifc = fault level current in KA
t= 1 second
Area A = (50x1
)/0.08 = 625 sqmm
Considering all de-rating factor, A = 625/0.66 =946.97
Say, cross sectional area per phase = 1000 sqmm
For neutral, cross sectional area per phase = 500 sqmm

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