# Three-phase systems

1. Introduction
Three-phase systems are commonly used in generation, transmission and distribution of
electric power. Power in a three-phase system is constant rather than pulsating and three-phase
motors start and run much better than single-phase motors. A three-phase system is a
generator-load pair in which the generator produces three sinusoidal voltages of equal
amplitude and frequency but differing in phase by 120 from each other.
The phase voltages va(t), vb(t) and vc(t) are as follows
v a  Vm cos t

v b  V m cos t  120 

v c  Vm cos t  240

(1)

,

whereas the corresponding phasors are
Va  Vm
Vb  Vm e  j120

Vc  Vm e  j240 .

(2)

Va

Ia

Za

Vb

Ib

Zb

Vc

Ic

Zc

In
Fig.1
A three-phase system is shown in Fig 1. In a special case all impedances are identical
Za
(3)

=

Zb

=

Such a load is called a balanced load and is described by equations
V
Ia  a
Z

V
Ib  b
Z

V
Ic  c .
Z

1

Zc

=

Z

.

(5) Since the current flowing though the fourth wire is zero. we obtain In  0 . 2 . 3). 2 The system of connecting the voltage sources and the load branches. as depicted in Fig. In the Y-system shown in Fig. whereas the line-to-line voltages ( or simply line voltages ) are not equal to the phase voltages. the wire can be removed (see Fig. (4) where     Va  Vb  Vc  Vm 1  e  j120  e  j240   1 3 1 3   0. is called the Y system or the star system. The wires connecting the supply to the load are called the lines.  Vm 1  cos 120   j sin 120   cos 240   j sin 240   Vm  1   j  j 2 2 2 2     Setting the above result into (4). Each branch of the generator or load is called a phase. we have I n  Ia  I b  Ic  1  Va  Vb  Vc  Z . 2.2) n Va Ia Z Vb Ib Z Vc Ic Z n’ Fig. 2 each line current is equal to the corresponding phase current. 2 Y-connected systems Now we consider the Y-connected generator sources ( see Fig.Using KCL. Point n is called the neutral point of the generator and point n’ is called the neutral point of the load.

we obtain   3 1 3  3  Vab  Va  Vb  Va  1   j  Va  j   2 2  2    2  3   2  Va  2     3  2  2 e j tan 1 3 3   Va 3e j30 . Vca ( see Fig. Vab  Va 3 e j30 o . Thus. o (6) We determine the line voltages Vab.3). Vbc.3 The phasors of the phase voltages can be generally written as follows Va  V  Vme j o Vb  Ve  j120 Vc  Ve  j240 .Va a Vb b Vc c n Vab Vca Vbc Fig. Using KVL. (7) holds and similarly we obtain Vbc  Vb 3 e j30 o (8) Vca  Vc 3 e j30 (9) 3 o . .

Vbc. the line voltages Vab.4 Thus.The phasor diagram showing the phase and line voltages is shown in Fig. a Za=Z Va Vab Vca Zc=Z Zb=Z Vc Vb b Vbc c Fig. Vab  Vbc  Vca  3 Va .5). (10) The same conclusion is valid in the Y connected load ( see Fig. Vab Vc 30 Va 30 Vca 30 Vb Vbc Fig. Vca form a symmetrical set of phasors leading by 30 the set representing the phase voltages and they are 3 times greater.5 4 .4.

we obtain the node equation Vn Va  Vn Vb  Vn Vc  Vn    0 Z n Za  Z p Z b  Z p Zc  Z p Solving this equation for Vn. Ib. The method consists of three steps as follows: 5 .1 contains perfectly conducting wires connecting the source to the load. The system of Fig.6). we express the currents I a. we have Va Vb Vc   Za  Zp Zb  Zp Zc  Zp Vn  .3. Zn (14) Hence. Now we consider a more realistic case where the wires are represented by impedances Zp and the neutral wire connecting n and n’ is represented by impedance Zn ( see Fig. Ic and In in terms of the node voltage Vn Ia  Va  Vn Za  Zp (11) Ib  Vb  Vn Zb  Zp (12) Ic  Vc  Vn Zc  Zp (13) In  Vn . 1 1 1 1    Zn Za  Zp Zb  Zp Zc  Zp (15) The above relationships enable us to formulate a method for the analysis of three-phase systems.1.6 Using the node n as the datum. an unbalanced system is produced. Three-phase systems calculations When the three phases of the load are not identical. Va n Zp a Ia Vb b Ib Vc c Zp Zp Ic Zn a’ Za b’ Zb c’ Zc n’ In Vn Fig. An unbalanced Y-connected system is shown in Fig.

In such a case we set Z n   into (15) Va Vb Vc   Za  Zp Zb  Zp Zc  Zp Vn  .7. (17) Consequently. When the neutral wire is removed. Hence. where Z a = Zb = Zc = Z.(14). 1 1 1   Za  Zp Zb  Zp Zc  Zp (16) The balanced system can be considered as a special case of the unbalanced system. Z  Zp (20)     Since Vb  Va e  j120 and Vc  Va e  j240 . which can be made applying the one-phase circuit described by equation (18) shown in Fig. Ia Zp Va Z n Va n’ Fig. Find the phase and line voltages using Kirchhoff’s and Ohm’s laws. Ib. the relationships (11)-(13) reduce to Ia  Va Z  Zp (18) Ib  Vb Z  Zp (19) Ic  Vc . Using (16). we obtain Vn  1  Va  Vb  Vc  Z  Zp 3 Z  Zp 0 . Ic and In applying (11) .7 This means that the analysis of a balanced three-phase system can be reduced to the analysis of one-phase system depicted in Fig.(i) ( ii ) ( iii ) Determine Vn using (15) Calculate the currents Ia. we have I b  Ia e  j120 and Ic  I a e  j240 . the system contains three connecting wires and is called a three-wire system. we need to calculate Ia only using (18).7. Example 6 .

56  j269. we find 220 2   155. Vc  Va e  j240  220 2    j 2 2   Using (16).68  j54.5  j61.2    23. the impedance of any connecting wire is Z p   2  j2  and the phase impedances of the load are Za   2  j4   . Zc   2  j4   .18  j34. We wish to determine the line currents. The effective value of the generator phase voltage is 220V.63 A .5  j61.8 Since the circuit of Fig. Zb   4  j2   . whereas the load is unbalanced. n Va Zp Vb Zp Vc Ia  Vab Ib b  Vca Zp Za a Ic c Zb n’  Vbc Zc Vn Fig. The phase generator voltages are Va  220 2 V   1 3     155.44  97.2   18. The system is supplied with a balanced three-phase generator.44    155.49  j19.5  j61.Let us consider three-phase system shown in Fig.44    4  j6 6 4  j6 Vn    97.56  j269.94  A Za  Z p 2  j4  2  j2 Ib  Vb  Vn  155.2  V .44  97. we compute the line currents using (11)-(13) Ia  Va  Vn 220 2  97.56  j269.56  j269.44  V .44  V Vb  Va e  j120  220 2    j  2 2     1 3     155. we apply equation (16) to compute Vn.70  A Zb  Zp 4  j2  2  j2 Ic  Vc  Vn  155.56  j269. 1 1 1   4  j6 6 4  j6 Next.8. Zc  Z p 2  j4  2  j2 7 .5  j61.2     42.8 is a three-wire system.56  j269.

Hence.9. we obtain Pav  3  Veff  L 3  Ieff  L cos   3  Veff  L  Ieff  L cos  (23) Similarly. The reading of the wattmeter W1 is PW1    1 1 Re Va I a   Vm  a  I m  a cos  a   Veff  a  I eff  a cos  a  Pa .  Veff  L  3Veff . Ieff is the effective value of the phase current and  is the angle of the impedance. we use three wattmeters connected as shown in Fig. we have ~ Pav  3Pav  3Veff I eff cos  (22) In the balanced Y systems. The total average power consumed by the load is the sum of those consumed by each branch. (24) In the unbalanced systems. we add the powers of each phase Pav   Veff  a  I eff  a cos  a   Veff  b  I eff  b cos  b   Veff  c  I eff  c cos  c (25) Px   Veff  a  I eff  a sin  a   Veff  b  I eff  b sin  b   Veff  c  I eff  c sin  c . using (22). (26) In order to measure the average power in a three-phase Y-connected load. the phase current has the same amplitude as the line current Ieff   I eff  L . the average power consumed by each load branch is the same and given by ~ Pav  Veff I eff cos  (21) where Veff is the effective value of the phase voltage.4 Power in three-phase circuits In the balanced systems. hence. we derive Px  3 Veff  L  I eff  L sin  . whereas the line voltage has the effective value  Veff  L which is 3 times greater than the effective value of the phase voltage. 2 2 8 .

* a * Vac Ia W1 * b * Vbc c Ib Load W2 Ic Fig. Thus.10) and the asterisk terminals of each wattmeter are short-circuited ( see Fig. W2 and W3 measure the average power of the load branch b and c. the sum of the three readings will give the total average power. Note that in the case of a balanced Y-connected load all three readings are identical and therefore we use only one wattmeter. we can use a method exploiting two wattmeters.* a’ * Ia Za W1 Va Ib * b’ Zb W2 * n’ Vb * c’ * Zc Ic W3 Vc Fig.10). In this method two wattmeters are connected by choosing any one line as the common reference for the voltage coils of the wattmeters. 2 (28) 9 . For measuring average power in a three-phase three-wire system. (27) PW2  1 Re Vbc I b . 9 Similarly. This method of the average power measurement is valid for both balanced and unbalanced Y-connected loads. The current coils are connected in series with the other two lines ( see Fig. respectively.10 The indications of the wattmeters are     PW1  1 Re Vac I a 2 .

it holds I a + I b + I c = 0 or Ia + Ib = . Va Ia a Vac b Ib Vbc c Ic Za Vb Zb Vc Zc Fig. (32) . 2 2 PW1  PW2 The sum of PW1 and PW2 gives PW1  PW2     1 Re Va I a  Vb I b  Vc I a  I b .I c .Vc. 2 2 1 1  Re  Vb  Vc  Ib    Vb Ib  Vc Ib  .11. we obtain 1 1 Re  Va  Vc  Ia    Va Ia  Vc Ia  . 2 (29) Currents Ia.Vc and Vbc = Vb . Ic satisfy KCL Ia + I b + I c = 0 Hence. 2 (31) Equation (31) says that the sum of the two wattmeters readings in a Y-connected system equals the total average power consumed by the load. .The load is shown in Fig. Ib.11 Since Vac = Va . (30) Substituting (30) into (29) we have PW1  PW2    1 Re Va I a  Vb I b  Vc I c  Pav . Let us consider a balanced Y-connected load and calculate the instantaneous power delivered by the generator to the load p t   va  t  ia  t   v b  t  i b  t   vc  t  i c  t  where 10 .

v b  t  . i b  t   Vm cos t  120   i c  t   Vm  (34) where v a  t  . 11 . the total instantaneous power p(t) delivered by a three-phase generator to the balanced load is constant and equals the average power consumed by the load. i b  t  . v c  t  are the voltages of the load branches. i c  t  are the currents of the load branches and  is the angle of the load impedance. We substitute (33)-(34) in (32)     p t   VmI m[cos t cos t     cos t  120o cos t  120o         cos t  240o cos t  240o   ] and use the trigonometric identity cos x  cos y  1 cos x  y  cos x  y .v a  t   Vm cos t   cos t  240  v b  t   Vm cos t  120o v c  t   Vm and (33) o i a  t   Vm cos t    cos t  240    .   2 Since     cos 2t    cos 2t  240o    cos 2t  480o    0 we obtain p t   3 Vm I m cos  3Veff I eff cos  Pav 2 (35) Thus. i a  t  . 2   finding p t       1 VmI m  3 cos   cos 2t    cos 2t  240o    cos 2t  480o    .