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Flicker Study Using a Novel Arc Furnace Model
Omer Ozgun and Ali Abur

Abstract—Voltage flicker and harmonics are the types of powerquality problems that are introduced to the power system as a result of arc furnace operation. Utilities are concerned about these
effects and try to take precautions to minimize them. Therefore,
an accurate model of an arc furnace is needed to test and verify
proposed solutions to this end.
In this paper, an arc furnace model is developed and implemented in a Simulink environment by using chaotic and
deterministic elements. Moreover, the modeling and simulation of
an IEC flickermeter are also performed to evaluate the severity of
fluctuations in the simulated arc furnace voltage.
Index Terms—Arc furnace, chaos, Chua’s circuit, flickermeter,
harmonics, modeling, Simulink, voltage flicker.



RC furnaces are used for melting and refining metals. As
the popularity and use of the arc furnace loads in the industry increase, so does the power-quality problems as a result
of this progress. The voltage flicker and the existence of harmonic load currents can be given as examples of adverse effects introduced by arc furnaces. In order to propose solutions
to minimize these adverse effects of arc furnaces, the impact of
these highly nonlinear, time-varying loads on the power quality
of the overall power system should be investigated. Therefore,
obtaining the time response of an electric arc furnace becomes
very important at this point. Hence, developing an accurate and
easy-to-use arc furnace model is a much needed task. However, this has so far been quite a challenging task for several
researchers due to the aperiodic, highly nonlinear, and unpredictable nature of the arc furnaces. Although several studies
have been done in order to build a generic model of an arc furnace, an accurate circuit model to represent the arc furnace operation is still not available.
Historically, there have been two general approaches to the
problem of arc furnace modeling: stochastic and chaotic. In
most of the previous studies, stochastic ideas are used to capture the aperiodic, nonlinear, and time-varying behavior of arc
furnaces [1]–[3]. It is a fact that frequency modulation (FM)
of the supply voltage that is less than 0.5% can cause voltage
flicker if the frequency of the modulating signal lies within
the 6-to-10-Hz range [3]. Knowing this fact, generating white
noise within the mentioned frequency range and modulating it
with the arc voltage to resemble the behavior of an arc furnace
voltage has been a common approach in these models [4]. Arc
Manuscript received November 2, 1999; revised July 19, 2001. This work was
supported in part by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board through
Project ATP-036327-094.
The authors are with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M
University, College Station, TX 77843 USA (e-mail:,
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TPWRD.2002.804013

voltage has been obtained either from the simplified — characteristics of the arc furnace load, or from the empirical formulas related to the arcing process.
In [3], the arc furnace load is modeled as a voltage source,
and the model is based on the — characteristics, using the sinusoidal variation of the arc resistance and bandlimited white
noise variation as well. On the other hand, system-identification techniques are used in [1] to estimate the stochastic characteristics of the generated model. Instead of focusing on the
detailed modeling of - characteristics, a simplified characteristic is chosen and the time-dependent variation of the electric
arc voltage dominates the model. Another model, which consists
of the nonlinear, time-varying resistance where both sinusoidal
and stochastic time variation rules of arc length are considered,
is presented in [2].
Making use of the chaos theory in arc furnace modeling [4]
is rather new compared to the stochastic ideas. Actually, chaos
theory has become a modeling issue for arc furnaces after the
electrical fluctuations in the arc furnace voltage were proven to
be chaotic in nature [5].
In this paper, the arc voltage is simulated by solving the corresponding differential equation, which yields dynamic and multivalued — characteristics of the arc furnace load. On the other
hand, a low-frequency chaotic signal is generated via simulation of Chua’s well known chaotic circuit. These two signals
are modulated to form the final arc furnace terminal voltage.
The proposed model is connected to the system as a controlled
voltage source. Preliminary results of the model development
were presented in [6]. Finally, in order to evaluate the flicker in
the simulated arc furnace voltage, the IEC flickermeter is implemented based on the IEC 1000-4-15 standard [7] in Matlab
environment by using discrete time methods. In this paper, we
show a flicker study using the developed arc furnace and IEC
flickermeter models.

Chaos, also known as the strange attractor, does not generally have an accepted precise mathematical definition. Usually,
from a practical point of view, it can be defined as the bounded
steady-state behavior that does not fall into the categories of the
other three steady-state behaviors (i.e., equilibrium points, periodic solutions, and quasiperiodic solutions [8]). While equilibrium points are zero dimensional and periodic solutions are one
dimensional, strange attractors are more complex, and their dimension is a fraction. A chaotic system is a deterministic system
that exhibits random movement, and it is a nonlinear system that
exhibits extreme sensitivity in the state trajectory with respect
to the initial conditions. With two different initial states arbitrarily close to each other, the trajectories emanating from these

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III. The basic feature of this first chaotic model is that it is self-tuning to adjust the model parameters in order to match the model output with the artifact readings. Therefore. .” which stands for the arc radius. multivalued — characteristics of an arc furnace load are obtained by using a general dynamic arc model in the form of a differential equation derived in [10].characteristics of 250-V. and injected to the arc furnace bus as an ideal current source. The simulated arc voltage waveform is shown in Fig. While this model can successfully duplicate the artifact data obtained from a real arc furnace. the arc current data are generated for the selected time interval.S. After recognizing the chaotic responses in electric arc furnaces. There is a fundamental difference between this approach and the others where the electric arc is represented by its static — characteristics or some empirical relations. 1159 Fig. on the average. Dynamic v –i characteristics of electric arc. and requires only conventional data available for arc furnaces. Fig. ARC FURNACE MODEL The proposed arc furnace model will be developed in two stages: dynamic. at the end of the simulation. Typical voltage waveform of electric arc. Fig. while a low-frequency chaotic signal is generated by the simulation of Chua’s well known chaotic circuit in order to obtain the arc furnace voltage fluctuations in the second part. Researchers have long observed the occurrence of chaotic components in arc furnace load currents. for most of the harmonic spectra. which represent parameters are chosen as the refining stage of the electric arc. is chosen as the state variable instead of the arc resistance or the conductance. The scaled Lorenz system is tuned to generate a time series that matches the given real data as close as possible. in another project at USBM. it should be noted that it is hard to get real data from each kind of arc furnace installation. it was proven that the arc furnace electrical fluctuations are indicative of a chaotic system [5]. after analyzing the current and voltage waveforms from an experimental electric arc furnace. the first model based on chaotic dynamics is introduced in [4]. This model employs chaos as a key element to produce a chaotic response as close to actual data as possible. First. the following differential equation is derived in [10]: (1) where is defined as the arc conductance and given by the following equation: (3) It is possible to represent the different stages of the arcing process by simply modifying the parameters of and in (1). Then. multivalued voltage-current characteristics of the electric arc are derived in the first part. 70-kA ac electric arc obtained by solving (1) and (2) in time domain. Here. the recent U. The complete set of combinations of these parameters for different stages of electric arc can be found in [10]. The differential equation that represents the general dynamics of the arc model is based on the principle of energy conversion. Therefore.OZGUN AND ABUR: FLICKER STUDY USING A NOVEL ARC FURNACE MODEL two points diverge from each other with a separation. The time-scaled Lorenz system is used to represent the highly varying behavior of the currents in an electric arc furnace. Also. starting from the power balance equation for the electric arc. 2. Bureau of Mines (USBM) work indicates that the electrical fluctuations in electric arc furnaces may be chaotic in nature. it is insensitive to changes in the network. increasing exponentially [9]. In summary. Dynamic Behavior of Electric Arcs The dynamic. The reason for using the dynamic arc model is that the model will capture changes in the — characteristics as the operating conditions change in the power system. 1. these and . it would be desirable to develop a model that can be connected to any bus in the network as a circuit component. Here “ . 2. The simulated — characteristics of electric arc match well with the measured characteristics [10]. 1 shows the dynamic . The arc voltage is then given by (2) A.

The IEC flickermeter model is implemented digitally in Matlab environment and basically consists of five blocks as shown in Fig. it separates the modulating signal from the carrier signal. VOL. [12]. while the simultaneous solution of (1) is performed in the lower portion. Therein. 4. 17. It has been shown that in order for an autonomous circuit consisting of resistors. the electric arc voltage is obtained from the simultaneous solution of (1). IEC FLICKERMETER Here. C. B. simulating the behavior of the lamp. 4.1160 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY. Namely. is modeled. Arc Furnace Model So far. More detailed information about this circuit can be found in [11]. One more useful property of this circuit is its ability to generate chaotic signal at any frequency by scaling the values of the energy-storage elements. namely it takes the system current as an input and assigns the terminal voltage value at each time step. which has already been presented in the IEC 1000-4-15 International Standard [7]. [12]. Chaotic Time Variation The chaotic component of the arc furnace voltage is supplied from the well known chaotic circuit of Chua [11].3 s to represent the built up effect in the brain. Block 1 is simply a voltage-adapting circuit that scales the mean rootmean-square (RMS) value of the input voltage to an internal reference level [13]. 2) at least one nonlinear element. the flicker evaluations can be performed in percent (i. These two properties of this circuit motivated its use as a chaos generator in this work. 3) at least three energy-storage elements. it is the only physical system for which the presence of chaos has been proven. an IEC flickermeter. Fig. Block 2 is basically a squaring demodulator which extracts the voltage fluctuation. Block 3 is composed of two filters: the first one filters out the dc and residual ripple components of the demodulator output. OCTOBER 2002 Fig. Block 4 is composed of a squaring multiplier to represent the nonlinear visual perception. Matlab implementation of proposed arc furnace model. Chua’s circuit is the simplest type of circuit that satisfies the conditions that are listed. The model behaves as a controlled source. chaos generated in the upper portion of the figure. capacitors. The input to the flickermeter is the system voltage. and inductors to exhibit chaos. while the second filter simulates the frequency response to a sinusoidal voltage fluctuation of a lamp and of the human eye. it has to contain the following components [11]: 1) at least one locally active resistor. which is the output of the proposed model.. Chua’s circuit is implemented in Matlab-Simulink environment by using the new Power System Blockset from Matlab. and the low-frequency chaotic signal that is generated by the simulation of Chua’s chaotic circuit. Chua’s circuit is implemented (see Fig. and a first-order lowpass filter with a time constant of 0.e. independent of the absolute input voltage level). NO. 3) by using the new Power System Blockset of Matlab. Modulation of these two signals produces the final arc furnace voltage. moreover. 3 shows the implementation of the mentioned arc furnace model in the Matlab—Simulink environment. The current absorbed from the power system bus is injected as the input to the model. Hence. . 3. IV. The output of this block represents the immediate flicker sensation.

Finally. IEC flickermeter implementation. [13]. it should be verified against standard waveforms provided in IEC standards [7]. 7. At where least five points of the CPF should be used while evaluating the short-term flicker severity. is evaluated by supplying it as an input to the flickermeter. Then. . . Then the short-term flicker severity index ( ) is is found as 1. and is the flicker level exceeded during a particular percent of the observation time. can be seen in Fig. and displaying the results. 3.377.0 and indicating that customer complaints are likely to occur. SIMULATION RESULTS The proposed arc furnace model is tested by using a sample power system whose Simulink model is shown in Fig. The voltage waveforms. Arc furnace transformer is connected to an equivalent representing the power system behind. Flicker severity level indices are calculated both in short term and long term in this block. Fig. First the probability distribution function (PDF) is formed by accumulating the number of elements at each level of the flicker. The flicker associated with the simulated voltage waveform at the PCC. More detailed information about the IEC flickermeter can be found in [7]. while the second task is performed in Block 5. and 4. 4. the flicker severity over the short term. 5. can be calculated by using the following expression [14]: TABLE I PERFORMANCE TESTING (5) where is the weighting coefficient. V. and the results are displayed. all values generated by the developed flickermeter lie within the error tolerance range of IEC standards.OZGUN AND ABUR: FLICKER STUDY USING A NOVEL ARC FURNACE MODEL 1161 Fig. The output of this block is divided into suitable subclasses (at least 64 classes) according to the instantaneous flicker level. The point of common coupling (PCC) corresponds to the primary of the arc furnace transformer. All of the weighting coefficients and the corresponding time percentages can be found in [7]. at the secondary and primary of the arc furnace transformer. In summary. the flickermeter model has two main parts [7]: • simulation of the response of the lamp-eye-brain chain. then the cumulative probability function (CPF) can be formed by integrating flicker distribution over the flicker range. These values are taken from the cumulative distribution curve CPF (6) is a particular percent of the observation period. System data for this configuration can be found in the Appendix. Note that in Table I. The test signals and corresponding values be that are obtained by running the flickermeter model are given in Table I. [14]. block 5 performs the online statistical analysis of the instantaneous flicker level. a value calculated by using this function. 6 shows the furnace current waveform obtained at the end of simulation. 8 shows the CPF of the signal permanence in classes one to 4096. exceeding 1. Before performing any flicker analysis by using the flickermeter model. The standard provides the amplitudes and frequencies of the six regular series of rectangular should voltage changes for which the flicker severity index . The first task is accomplished by Blocks 2. [14]. • online statistical analysis of the flicker signal. Fig.

7. 4. model should also be tested in terms of the harmonic spectrum. Fig. 9. CPF of signal permanence in classes one to 4096. Harmonic analysis of simulated voltage waveform. 8. OCTOBER 2002 Fig. Although the previous models are able to capture the odd harmonics. Arc current obtained by simulation. 17. Since the production of harmonics is also a major problem that arc furnaces introduce to the power systems. 6. 5. the proposed Fig. Voltage at the secondary and primary of the arc furnace transformer. Note that even harmonics are captured by the proposed model as well. VOL. Fig. they have difficulty in capturing the even ones. . Arc furnace connection to the sample power system. Fig.1162 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY. The magnitudes of the harmonics change from cycle to cycle during the simulation. Fig. 9 shows a snap shot of the harmonic spectrum of the simulated voltage waveform. NO.

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