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Guide to Sheath Bonding Design, in Distribution and Transmission Lines with
HV Underground Cables

LCOE, 2Gas Natural Fenosa


Power electrical networks using HV underground cables are continuously increasing in the big cities. In
order to avoid or reduce transmission losses in cable sheaths provoked by solid-bonding connections
special sheath bonding techniques, such as cross-bonding (CB) or single-bonding (SB) connections, are
commonly used for the HV cable systems. Nevertheless experience has proven that clear design rules are
required to achieve safe and reliable sheath bonding and earth connection systems.

Maintenance and operation experiences in the 220 kV network have showed that failures in the cable
system are not negligible when a short-circuit occurs in the power network. Continuous growing of the
short-circuit power in the high voltage network and progressive increasing of elementary cable section
length between two consecutive accessories require to apply more efficient bonding design criteria.
Sheath overvoltages depend on different factors: place where an eventual short-circuit appears (inside
cable grid, in a substation or in an overhead line), earth resistance value at each earthing point and
architecture used to link elementary cable sections (SB, continuous CB and sectionalised CB). The design
of the bonding system must take into account not only to select sheath voltage limiters but also to
determine the insulation level of the oversheath, joints, terminations and link boxes.

This paper presents the application guide to be applied to sheath bonding design of high voltage power
cable systems in the range between 45 kV and 220 kV. This guide shows temporary over-voltages in
sheaths when different kinds of short-circuits occurs for different sheath bonding configurations. The
results obtained by the guide allow a reliable selection of sheath voltage limiters and insulation level in
order to assure a suitable protection level against eventual short-circuit overvoltages. Different specific
methods have been used to determine overvoltages and they have been compared for a wide range of
cases in order to have an easy and generic numerical tool GSBD adapted to cable systems. The software
package developed allows to define any arbitrary architecture to link elementary cable sections (SB,
continuous CB and sectionalised CB) in order to determine continuous over-voltages in accessory sheaths
and in overvoltages limiters. The programme is used when the architecture applied is not close to the
cases studied in the Guide.


Cables, sheath, overvoltages, link boxes, cross bonding, single bonding, ATP.

Although ATP software can be used to determine temporary overvoltages. the relative position between short circuit point and the voltage supply allows to establish different short circuit scenarios: a) substation-substation short circuit (figure 2) where the main short circuit current returns through a conductor (sheaths or earth continuity conductor “ecc”). provoke significant stress to be considered in insulation coordination of cables. earth connection values. c) far away short circuit (figure 4) where the short circuit current returns through both earth and conductors (sheaths or ecc). (e. temporary overvoltages must be determined for a correct selection of overvoltage limiters. However.) on temporary overvoltages for specific sheath architectures. In the first instants a transient damped overvoltage of several teens of kilohertz’s of up to several teens of kilovolts is superimposed to a temporary overvoltage of power frequency that disappears when the short-circuit is removed by switchgear (see figure 1).1 INTRODUCTION When a single phase short-circuit occurs in a high voltage network significant overvoltages appear on power cable sheaths. 30 [kV] 20 10 0 -10 -20 -30 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 [ms] 80 (f ile Transitorio50ns80ms. because the induced overvoltage on sheaths is not balanced by currents of others phases. In practice. Voltage evolution on a cable sheaths due to single short circuit. cable arrangements. In particular. data tables or alternative flexible numeric tools are required to analyze different influence parameters. it does not have a user interface simple enough for project engineers dedicated to high voltage cable projects. etc. transient and temporary.g. length of cable sections. 1 . especially in the cable terminations that are not connected to the earth of SB configurations and in the sheaths of cross zones of cross-bonding configurations. x-v ar t) v :E1IA v :E1IB v :E1IC Figure 1. A special attention must be paid to single phase short circuits in comparison to three phase short circuits. 2 DIFFERENT KINDS OF SHORT CIRCUITS In high voltage grids different kinds of short circuits can appear. link boxes and overvoltage limiters. it is very important to determine the absolute overvoltages that appear in cable outer sheat and the local temporary overvoltages that appear on overvoltage limiters. b) Siphon short circuit (figure 3) where the main short circuit current returns through earth. Consequently. The rated voltage of overvoltage limiters must be chosen taking into account temporary overvoltage and its residual voltage is selected in order to get an appropriate protection level. Both overvoltages.pl4. according to transient withstand voltage of insulation media involved.

in a similar way as in solid bonging configurations. etc. In this paper the same electrical scheme is used for solid-bonding and for cross-bonding configuration. it is necessary to use numeric calculation tools. b) Single-bonding configuration. Siphon short circuit: a) Solid-bonding or Cross-bonding configuration. In the following paragraphs the zero sequence formulas of a single-bonding configuration with earth continuity conductor are developed. cross bonding sectionalized. Differences of both methods in comparison with results obtained by means of ATP software are negligible.) the zero sequence circuit of each section is derived in order to interconnect them in the correct way as the real arrangement used in the system cable. B IF Conductor equipotencial IF A A .1 Circuit analysis by symmetrical components For each section of bonding connection (solid-bonding. Substation-substation short circuit: a) Solid-bonding or Cross-bonding configuration. C + R1 R2 R1  IF R2 IF  IF  IF Figure 2. In the following paragraphs a general method of circuit analysis (GMCA) and a circuit analysis by symmetrical components (CASC) are presented. 3 CALCULATION METHOD TO LINK DIFFERENT SHEATHS CONFIGURATIONS It is impossible to establish simple formulas to determine local and absolute sheath overvoltages in an arbitrary interconnection architecture of sheaths configurations when a single phase short circuit occurs. single-bonding. In these cases. Overvoltage on the earth cable Umn is given by the superposition of the induced voltages provoked by the currents of the three phase conductors [Jc(abc)] and the current through the earth continuity conductor Jt:    U mn  Z tc( abc ) J c( abc )  Z tt J t (1) 2 . IF IF B Iecc A IF A Conductor equipotencial C IF - + R1 R2 R1 R2 IF Figure 3. b) Single-bonding configuration. because in a CB there is a sheath circuit for short circuit current circulation with both ends of the circuit earthed. b) Single-bonding configuration. 3. B Conductor equipotencial C IF - + IF R1 R2 R1 R2 IF ´IF ´) IF Figure 4. Far away short circuit: a) Solid-bonding or Cross-bonding configuration.

Ja Jb Jc J’m Jt J’n m n Umn Rtm Rtn Figure 5. Taking into account the electric scheme shown in figure 5 and assuming J’tn = 0 the following expression can be written: U mn  Rtm ( J 't  J t )  Rtn J t (2) where . Replacing expression (1) in expression (2) the following equation can be written:     Z tc( abc ) J c( abc )  ( Rtm  Rtn  Z tt ) J t  Rtm J t' (3) Applying symmetric components analysis:  3Z tc0 J c0  ( 3Rtm  3Rtn  3Z tt ) J t 0  3Rtm J t' 0 (4) where: .Rtn earth resistance of the ecc on the right side. . Z tt self impedance of the ecc calculated by the Carson’s formulas. J t  3 J t 0 . . J F  3 J c0 .Jt’= J’tm current through ecc of the previous section on the left side. Z tc( abc )  coupling impedances between the earth continuity conductor (ecc) t and each phase conductor calculated by the Carson’s formulas. The equivalent electric circuit associated to equation (4) is shown in figure 6: 3 .Rtm earth resistance of the ecc on the left side. Z tc0 sequence zero coupling impedance between the three phase conductors and the ecc. . JF single phase short circuit current. Electric scheme associated to single-bonding configuration with an earth conductor.where: . . J t'  3 J t' 0 .

the resistance earth. which unknown variables are sheaths currents J  . CB) with overhead lines (with or without skywires). In addition. Z p( abc ) t  coupling impedances between the phase sheaths and the ecc. and current through phase conductors [Jc(abc)] are known. Z pc( abc )  coupling impedances between the phase conductors and each phase sheath. -3·Ztc0 ·J c0 3·Ztt J’t0 Jt0 + m J’t0 Jt0 3·Rtm 3·Rtn Figure 6. For each single-bonding configuration equation (1) can be written. 3. 4 . Figure 7. If the short circuit current JF . can be determined applying (1) and the following equations: U p( abc )   Z pc( abc ) J c( abc )   Z p ( abc ) t J t (5) where: . Umn across a major CB section. . Electric circuit of bonding connection. Upb y Upc. for each bonding configuration the following equation must be satisfied: U mn  Rtm· J'm  Rtn· J'n ( Rtm  Rtn )·( J  J   J  ) (6) The resolution of the linear equation system allows determine the unknown variables. which unknown parameters are the current through the ecc Jt and the voltage through the ecc. the current of the ecc J t 0 can be determined by means of the equation (4). and voltage. For each cross-bonding configuration a system of three equations can be written. Rtm y Rtn. Sequence zero circuit of the earth continuity conductor. The electrical bonding circuit composed by two CB sections in series with two SB sections shown in figure 7 with cable arrangement of figure 8 is analyzed by means of the GCA.2 General circuit analysis method A software application that uses the general theory of analysis of circuits has been developed. later Umn and sheath voltages Upa. J  y J  . Umn. The software application allows linking many sections with different bonding connections (SB.

0 0. Sheath overvoltages due to a single phase short circuit of 1 kA in a far short circuit scenario. Comparison between GCA and ATP method for figure 7 short circuit.3 SP2 347. Voltage (V/kA) GCA (V/kA) ATP (V/kA) Difference (V/kA) CB1_1 119.2 CB2_1 252. a) Single-bonding formation section. No relevant differences were obtained using both methods. Sheath overvoltages due to a single phase short circuit of 1 kA in a substation-substation short circuit scenario.9 302. Figure 10.7 SP1 328.9 252. Cable arrangement.2 157.2 0.1 0. c) Ecc section. b) Power cable transversal section. Table I. Figure 8.3 CB1_2 157.8 119.5 347. Table I shows a comparison between the GCA method and ATP method for far short circuit scenario.5 0.5 0.7 CB2_2 302. Figure 9.8 328.2 0. Figures 9 and 10 show sheaths overvoltages corresponding to a single phase short circuit in substation- substation and far away short circuit scenarios respectively.4 5 .

5 absolute arrangement y y y y y y y y y y y y 0. However. for three different short-circuit scenarios: substation-substation.with ecc transposed in the middle. siphon and far away short-circuit. for the cables arrangements (flat formation -A-. local voltages are bigger than absolute overvoltages for a substation. trefoil formation -B.25 0. Table II. Considering a substation-substation short-circuit scenario.12 159 175 182 182 186 196 196 196 196 197 197 197 197 T-A S/d=2.5 10 10 0.with 2 ecc transposed in the middle) used by Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF).25 0.29 290 335 350 350 358 379 379 379 379 380 380 380 380 T-D S/d=2. trefoil formation -C.25 0.with an ecc laid in the geometric center of the equilateral triangle. or trefoil formation -D. -C. D) trefoil formation with 2 ecc transposed in the middle).4 APPLICATION GUIDE 4.12 225 192 162 210 181 74 79 279 274 174 138 211 174 T-C S/d=2.12 225 253 263 263 269 285 285 285 285 285 285 285 286 T-C S/d=2. continous CB). U R1/R2 local / Phase conductor and ecc 0 0.29 290 335 350 350 358 379 379 379 379 380 380 380 380 local T-C S/d=1.5 0. 0. Induced overvoltages per unit increase when the sum R1 + R2 of increases and when the ratio S/d increases also.93 214 189 169 198 181 119 121 233 231 175 155 195 175 6 . corresponding to local and absolute overvoltages for a single-bonding configuration in a short circuit scenario substation-substation. in general.29 290 261 226 285 252 125 130 373 366 247 203 291 247 T-D S/d=2.5 0. C) trefoil formation with ecc transposed in the middle.12 159 125 99 138 113 28 28 192 188 107 76 137 107 T-A S/d=2.5 10 20 10 20 T-A S/d=1.93 214 226 229 229 231 236 236 236 236 237 237 237 237 T-A S/d=1. An example is shown in table II. -B.25 0. Different cables arrangements used by GNF: A: flat formation.25 0 0.1 Overvoltage tables in different sheaths configurations in different laying types In order to have a fast magnitude order of sheath overvoltages the guide includes many different result tables with sheath overvoltage values for different sheath configurations (SB. overvoltages decrease for trefoil formation if the earth conductor is on the geometrical center in comparison with the results obtained for other ecc positions. sectionalised CB. during a single phase short-circuit in a cable of 220kV-2000mm2 Cu.25 y 0. In addition.75S S d s s S S -A. B) trefoil formation with an ecc laid in the geometric center of the equilateral triangle.5 10 10 10 10 20 20 0.29 220 187 158 204 176 70 75 272 267 169 133 206 169 absolute T-C S/d=1.substation short-circuit scenario. Temporary overvoltages (V/kA·km) for a single-bonding section of 500 m. -D- Figure 11. and using different section cable lengths (500 m y 1000 m) and for different earth resistance values on cable ends.

5 () () () () Caso 4 4 0.000 . overvoltages are proportional to section lengths when the short circuit appears between substations. CB). flat formation. Pasante lejana 3500 Tensiones de pantalla absolutas. the correct way to know temporary overvoltages is using the software tools described in section 3. In addition. CBS + CBS + CBS. Ut that appears between sheaths and earth.5 1 1 0. should withstand temporary overvoltages. Temporary overvoltages on cable sheaths depend on the architecture created. Must be headline that overvoltages increases signigicantly when the earth value on the cable end increase to 5  or 10 ).5 75 Caso 1 2500 2 0.5 V/kA V/kA 1000 Caso 3 4 0.000 -1.5  to 20 . CBS + CBS + CBS. Local overvoltages per unit (V/ kA) on crosses of 3 CB linked.500 .5 5 10 0.5 5 5 0.5 10 5 0.) and for a specific bonding connection (SB. Pasante lejana 46 2000 R1 R2 R3 R4 Case 1800 () () () () 44 1 0.5 10 10 0.5 36 Caso 4 800 Caso 5 34 Caso 6 600 32 400 30 200 28 CB1_1 CB1_2 CB2_1 CB2_2 CB3_1 CB3_2 0 CB1_1 CB1_2 CB2_1 CB2_2 CB3_1 CB3_2 Tensiones de pantalla absolutas. Table III.5 V/kA 6 0.5 1 1 0. Falta monofásica fase C. This overvoltage depends on induced local voltage ulocal (V/kA) and on the short circuit current value that is foreseen in the grid for a specific short circuit scenario (substation-substation short circuit. Falta monofásica fase C.5 Caso 2 3 0. Substation-substation short-circuit Far away short-circuit Length R1 R2 R3 R4 R1 R2 R3 R4 Tensiones de pantalla absolutas.5 10 10 0.5 4 0.5 60 1000 Caso 5 Caso 6 55 500 50 0 CB1_1 CB1_2 CB2_1 CB2_2 CB3_1 CB3_2 CB1_1 CB1_2 CB2_1 CB2_2 CB3_1 CB3_2 5 SELECTION CRITERIA FOR OVERVOLTAGE LIMITERS AND OUTER SHEATH PROTECTION For a specific laying arrangement (trefoil formation.5 2 0.5 Caso 2 V/kA 65 4 0. siphon short circuit or far away short circuit). CBS + CBS + CBS. the length does not affect significantly on sheaths overvoltages (less than 10%) for far away short circuit scenarios. however.5 5 10 0.5 10 10 0. Table III shows local overvoltages per unit (V/ kA) in the different sheaths crosses of three cross-bonding linked for a substation-substation short circuit scenario when a far away short occurs.5 10 10 0.5 10 5 0.5 500 .5 2 0. Greater overvoltages are obtained for far away short-circuits than for substation- substation short circuits. Elemental different bonding sections (SB. sheath overvoltage limiters (SVL) used for outer sheath protection.5 Caso 2 R1 R2 R3 R4 Caso 3 Case 3 0. U t (V)  u local ·I cc kA (7) 7 . it is very important to study some examples in order to have general design criteria.5 10 5 0. considering length cable section of 500 m and 1.5 5 10 0. Falta monofásica fase C.5 5 10 0. S/E-S/E 1.5 10 10 0.000 m for each CB section. etc.5 10 5 0.5 Caso 1 1200 38 6 0.5 5 0.000 (m) 80 3000 R1 R2 R3 R4 Case () () () () 1 0.5 10 10 0. S/E-S/E Falta monofásica fase C.5 1 1 0.5 1500 Caso 3 5 0.2 Overvoltages examples for different sheath connection architectures.5 Caso 4 1400 40 1 0.5 5 5 0.5 2000 5 0.5 5 5 0.4.5 5 5 0. Although. The resistance earth value has been changed between 0.5 10 10 0.500 (m) Caso 1 42 Caso 2 R1 R2 R3 R4 1600 2 0.5 70 1 0.5 Caso 4 6 0.5 Caso 3 Case () () () () 3 0.1. CBS + CBS + CBS. Tensiones de pantalla absolutas. CB) are linked in order to create different interconnection architectures.5 Caso 1 3 0.

8 18 108 3.2/50 µs Ures: Residual voltage of the SVL´s.g. overvoltage during short circuit).0 14 239 127/220 47.7 10 200 36/66 30 5 4.3 2.0 14 168 6 4. must be determined for each project.3 2.3 2.7 10 275 76/132 37. U  MP %    pt  1  100 (9)  U res  where: Up-t: withstand voltage sheath-earth. SVL selected for each voltage level of the system must assure an appropriate protection margin taking into account the insulation level for transient overvoltages. that is recommended a class 3.In order to have a security margin the rated voltage of the overvoltage limiter Ur (withstand power frequency voltage for 10 s) is chosen greater or equal to the temporary overvoltage (e.2/50 Protection level (kV) (kV) Uc Ures MP (%) =100∙(Upt/Ures-1) Ur (kV) (kV) (kV) 3. except for overvoltage limiters of rated voltages of 3. Table IV. An additional energy analysis performed for the GNF grids allowed to recommend overvoltage limiter of class 2.0 14 114 3. Table IV shows the characteristic values of the SVL´s used by GNF and the protection margin considering the withstand voltage required for each voltage level in order to compensate the distance effect between limiter and the insulation protected.7 10 375 5 4. U r  u local ·I cc kA (8) Local voltages per unit. and considering the effect of distance between the SVL´s and the insulation to be protected. either by means of table data included in the Guide either by means of a software application developed for this purpose.3 kV. On the other hand the maximum short circuit currents must be evaluated taking into account the specific performances of the grid. Limiter characteristics Uo/U Up-t 1.6 131 9 8 24.6 93 8 . for lightning impulses 1.5 6 4.0 14 114 3. ulocal . Protection margin.5 5 4.7 10 200 26/45 30 5 4.3 2.8 18 164 6 5 20.

Application guide and software packages have allowed improve bonding configurations and the SLV selection of existing underground cables of GNF utility and new underground lines. 9 . specific short circuit studies must be performed for each project of a new cable system. In addition application guide has been elaborated with overvoltage tables for different sheaths configurations used by GNF utility for different laying types. one of them applying circuit analysis by symmetrical components (CASC) and other by a general method of circuit analysis (GMCA). continuous cross-bonding and sectionalised cross-bonding) in order to determine continuous over-voltages in accessory sheaths and in overvoltages limiters for the different short-circuit scenarios (substation-substation.On the other hand. Specific software packages have been developed to determine sheath overvoltages of cable systems. it is not usually used by the project designers of underground cable lines. Although ATP package is a good numerical tool to determine transient and temporary overvoltages. Both software packages allow to define any arbitrary architecture to link elementary cable sections (single-bonding. the outer sheath should withstand temporary overvoltages that appears between sheaths and reference earth. siphon short circuit or far away short circuit): U outer sheath 50Hz  u absolute·I cc ( kA) (10) As a reference. Taking into account that temporary and transient overvoltages on cable sheaths depend on the sheath connection architectures. Siphon and far away fault). a typical value for the power frequency (50 Hz/1 min) insulation level for the outer sheath is 10 kV. This overvoltage depends on induced absolute voltage uabsolute (V/kA) and on the short circuit current value that is foreseen in the grid for a specific short circuit scenario (substation- substation short circuit. CONCLUSION Significant overvoltages can appear in cable sheaths when short circuits occur in high power grids.

Young-Hua Song. Ensayo de cubiertas exteriores de cables que tienen una función especial de protección y que se aplican por extrusión. Requisitos y métodos de ensayo. Working Group 07.BIBLIOGRAPHY [1] “Estudio de sobretensiones en las pantallas de los cables de alta tensión de los circuitos Mazarredo-Mediodía y Cerro de la Plata-Mediodía en caso de cortocircuito monofásico en la subestación de Mediodía”. de tensión asignada superior a 150 kV (Um=170kV) hasta 500 kV (Um =550 kV). [6] Characteristics and reduction of sheath circulating currents in underground power cable systems. 1973. issue 1. [9] UNE 21-143-85. J. Working Group 07. ELECTRA nº 128. Working Group 07. [5] IEEE Guide for the Application of Sheath-Bonding Methods for Single-Conductor Cables and the Calculation of Induced Voltages and Currents in Cable Sheaths. Lee. [10] UNE 211004.K. [3] The design of specially bonded cable systems. Report nº 200612300541. of study Committee nº 21 (HV insulated cables). C. LCOE-FFII. Working Group B1. ELECTRA nº 47. Part II. Kang. ANSI/IEEE Std 575-1988. [7] “Special Bonding of High Voltage Power Cables”. International Journal of Emerging Electric Power Systems. Article 1005. Volume 1.B. 1976. of study Committee nº 21 (HV insulated cables). 2004. of study Committee nº 21 (HV insulated cables). CIGRE BROCHURE Nº 283. [8] “Slim Cables compact cross-bonding and corrected distance protection” B1-112 Session 2004 CIGRE. Xinheng Wang. October 2005. Cables de potencia con aislamiento extruido y sus accesorios.18. 10 . ELECTRA nº 28. J. [2] The design of specially bonded cable systems.W. Jung and. Equivalente a CEI 60229. [4] Guide of the protection of specially bonded cable systems against sheath overvoltages. 1990.