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The level of harmonic voltages and currents in electrical power systems are increasing .
The principle cause is the proliferation of devices which produce harmonics ( mainly static converters , variable speed
drives , traction systems etc.)

The single largest cause of severe harmonic distortion is resonance. A “normal “harmonic can be amplified by about 10 to
25 times if resonance occurs at or close to critical frequencies . In most cases this results from the indiscriminate
application of power factor correction capacitors, or from incorrect application , tuning or control of harmonic filter

The effect of harmonics on electrical equipment is widespread, including the catastrophic failure of capacitors ( with
consequential losses in respect of increased maximum demand charges ) , failures of power cables , interference with
electronic circuits and controls etc.

The power system is likely to deteriorate to the extent where operation of individual consumer networks will be very
seriously affected.

Similarly , the widespread increase in the use of power factor correction capacitors is causing overall system capacitances
to increase , and resonant frequencies to decrease to the more severe lower order harmonics ( mostly 3rd, 5th and 7th ).

It is time therefore that responsible action to be taken to control harmonics in power systems, firstly through creating a
better understanding of this phenomenon and secondly through the implementation of realistic controls applicable to
consumers and supply authorities.


The term “harmonic” originates from acoustics, where it signifies the vibration of a string or column of air at frequency
.which are integer multiples of that frequency .

These harmonics can occur at any frequency. Including frequencies below fundamental frequency, depending on the
operating speed of the drive.
This phenomenon introduces a totally new dimension , as “traditional harmonics” were always assumed to occur at specific
frequencies only .

A distorted AC supply signal can be seen as a pure sinusoidal waveform ( supply frequency component ) with noise or
pollution signals ( harmonics) imposed .The degree of distortion is given by magnitudes of individual harmonics present
and/or by total harmonic distortion (THD)
The Fouurier series transformation of the current consumption shows :

A sinusoidal term at a 50 Hz supply frequency , the fundamental .

Sinusoidal terms with frequencies which are multiples of the fundamental frequency , the harmonics .

According to the equation

Irms = I ²1 + ∑
I ²h
h =2

∑ = sum of all harmonic currents from rank2(50 Hz*2 ) to last rank n=50 Hz*n

These harmonic currents circulate in the source . The harmonic impedances induced give rise to harmonic voltages
according to the equation

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The harmonic currents induce most of the harmonic voltages causing the global harmonic distortion of the supply voltage

Urms = U ²1 + ∑
U ²h
h =2

Mechanism of Harmonic current and voltage Production

The Electricity Supply Authority generates sinusoidal voltages and currents at nominal frequency . The question arises as to
how harmonic voltages and currents occur
Although some distortion is produced by transmission equipment (e. g Transformers) the majority is produced by end users
Non – linear loads (i .e converters , arc furnaces etc.) require non-sinusoidal currents to flow at their terminals. Thus these
loads absorb fundamental frequency current and generate harmonic currents, and as such are seen as harmonic current

Accordingly, in the case of a harmonic current source , the corresponding harmonic voltage is equal to the current
multiplied by the network impedance at each harmonic frequency.
The harmonic current flowing into the consumer network is given by the supply harmonic voltage divided by the consumer
impedance ( as seen from the supply) at each harmonic frequency.

Harmonic Filters


Harmonic filters are installed so as to absorb harmonic currents by choosing the inductive and capacitive components to
resonate at the required frequency.
The imp edance at fundamental frequency will still be predominately capacitive . At the resonant frequency , the harmonic
currents are presented with a virtual short circuit.
Thus the voltage at the frequency , across the terminals of the filter will be close to zero.

Filters are installed by consumers to prevent excessive amounts of internally generated harmonic current passing into the
supply system .Other applications are to attenuate voltage distortion to reduce the potential damage caused by harmonic
over voltages or to provide tuning for power factor correction capacitors for the sole purpose of avoiding harmful resonance
with internal or external harmonic sources.

With the exclusion of very large harmonic generators (e . g open arc furnace), most harmonic sources do not require
harmonic filtering . However , if resonance occurs due to the presence of plain capacitors ( including extensive cable
network) , “ normal “ harmonics are amplified typically 10 to 25 times , in which case one or more harmonic filters may be

The most common applications of harmonic filters can therefore be summarized as follows :

a) To reduce equivalent harmonic generation levels in the case of very large non-linear loads ( arc furnace and very
large rectifier/converter installations)
b) Ti “tune” a PF correction capacitor bank so to avoid resonance.
c) To counteract resonance caused by uncontrolled capacitances in extensive cable network( i . e broadband
“damping filter”)

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In order to control the impedance in a electrical system with harmonic current generation filter circuits are used. They allow
to fix a low impedance at defined fixed frequency independent of the network.

In order to build such filters the traditional electro technical offers the use of capacitors and inductors. By connecting this
two elements in various configuration a well defined frequency response can be achieved. How ever the available
components do have a very high quality factor, that means very low losses. This results in a system which is also very
susceptible for undesired resonance’s, or poor performance with variable frequency.

In this cases resistors can help to improve the behaviour. They act as damping elements in a oscillating system, similar to
the shock absorbers in the suspension of a car, where the springs and the mass of the car can be compared to the reactors
and the capacitors in the electrical system.

With adequate circuit design losses at fundamental frequency can be avoided and optimum results at harmonic frequency
can be achieved. In general they smoothen the response at the tuning frequency in order to increase the immunity to
frequency variation and component tolerances due to manufacturing and temperature. At the parallel resonance frequency
they control the dynamic behaviour of the filter in order to avoid critical amplification of residual non typical harmonics
and general noise.

At this point a resistance with variable resistance value can have a significant positive influence on the filter characteristic.

At low harmonic distortion the resistance shall have a low value. This increases the damping of the system during
unpredictable transient phenomena in the network like energizing of parallel circuits, transformers or the filter itself. With a
low value in the resistor the switch on transient of the filter can be kept very short and we have maximum security in the

At increasing harmonic currents the resistor should have a high value in order to reduce the impedance of the filter at the
tuning frequency and improve the voltage quality for steady state harmonic current.

This behaviour can be achieved by using a resistor with a high positive thermal coefficient for the resistivity. At low
harmonic loads the resistor does not have any loss and is therefore at a low value. With increasing absorption of harmonic
currents the resistive value increases and the filter quality improves.

Now it is up to the designer to chose the right compromise between transient damping and harmonic absorption. But it
general it can be said it is always useful to have a positive coefficient even if it is only for the transient of filter energizing.

How to improve The Damping RESISTORS ?

The important parameters of resistors which can modify price and size of resistors.

Resistance value and tolerance

RESISTANCE material used for Damping Resistors are made from Nickel Chromium stainless steel , the resistance value
can easily be obtained at ambient temperature.


There are 3 kinds of tolerances (see Fig 1).

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A=Tolerance of resistance value at operating

t = f(θ)
θ2 B=Tolerance of resistance value at ambient
A C =Tolerance of resistance value from cold to
hot stage
θ1 =Ambient temperature , θT =63.2% of

θ2 =maximum temperature
T = Time constant

By calculation and simulation tests results

and data, A, B & C can be obtained easily.
T B Time

Taps on Resistor

The resistance value of resistor cannot be adjusted easily (it is not a variable rheostat).
The adjustment must be made internally by modification of connections.

When different resistance values are given the resistor is designed to withstand the same power with the lowest resistance
The other values are obtained by adding resistance elements.

Exemple P = 40 kW - R = 10, 15 & 20 ohms

Case 1 P = 40 kW - R = 10 ohms - I = 63.2 A

Case 2 P = 40 kW - R = 15 ohms - I = 51.6 A
Case 3 P = 40 kW - R = 20 ohms - I = 44 A

Case 1 must be considered first.

Example : = temperature coefficient

ð AISI 304 0,001
(18% Chromium - 10% Nickel)
ð NICROFER 32/20 0,0004
(20% Chromium - 32% Nickel)
ð NICROFER 63/20 0,00008
(20% Chromium - 63% Nickel)
ðOHMALLOY or 0,00012
(Aluminium chromium steel)
ðKONSTANTAN 0,000022


The "reasonable" inductance value can be easily obtained (from 50 to 500 ì H).
The inductance value can be adjusted to lowest value by using specific resistance material, internal arrangement.

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Load, over-load & Energy pulse

The damping Resistor as other components of Harmonic Filter (capacitors, reactor) must withstand the same stress in terms
of voltage, current and environment conditions with a thermal stress in addition due to energy dissipation.

This energizing is a combination of a permanent current Irms

W= ∫
R Irms 2 x dt = m c ∆θ

Irms = I 1 2 + I 2 2 + In 2

From time to time an additional overload as result of a temporary over current.

In case of high overload and short time between events, the resistor will be designed to withstand the overload as
continuous power.
Insulation and BIL level of resistor

B Typical design of Filter Resistor

H A =outdoor insulators
B =housing of resistors under voltage
C =life parts of resistor
D =BIL level terminal to terminal
E =BIL level low voltage terminal to earth
F =BIL level high voltage terminal to earth
G =link connection between mid point of resistance
and housing
H =In high voltage terminal bushing
I I =Out low voltage terminal bushing


The life parts comprise several resistor banks. One resistance bank can withstand up to 50 kV BIL.

Creepage and Air distance (See enclosed table).

Mechanical withstanding and external arrangement

- Housing finishing and protection degree
There are different kind of protection degree for resistance :

As per IEC standard 528, there is no air circulation into cubicle which is an IP 54 protection degree.
In such case, the air into cubicle is subject to be heated and pressure increasing, an exploding risk occurs if no
safety protection such valves or others.

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Protection degree Protection Comments

IP00 No protection Suitable for indoor installation

IP23 Protected against solid - Suitable and recommended for indoor or outdoor
objects greater than 12 installation ,cooling time is approximately 10 to 30
mm and against spraying the heating time .
IP43 Protected against solid - Suitable for outdoor installation. The cooling
objects greater than 1 mm time is approximately 20 to 50 minutes .
and against spaying water.
IP54 Dust protection and water - Not recommended
splashing - The cooling time is approximately 40 to 60
- Exploding risk if no safety protection against
pressure rise
- The hot spot mu st be reduced to very low value.
- A space heater must be installed which required
an AC (380, 220 or 115) or DC supply.


- The hot dip galvanizing finishing of housing is the best protection against corrosion or aggressive environment
such acid pollution.

- For installation near the sea, the housing can be made from Nickel chromium stainless steel sheets AISI 316.
The Nickel Chromium stainless steel must be AISI 316
- We do not recommend painting housing.


Hot dip Galvanizing - best corrosion resistance,
- best acid pollution resistance,
- recommended for indoor or outdoor,
- recommended for installation near the sea.
Nickel Chromium stainless steel - not recommended for installation near the sea ( salt and humidity).
AISI 304
Nickel Chromium stainless steel - recommended for installation near the sea.
AISI 316
Mill Galvanizing - not recommended due to corrosion risk.
Painted - not recommended ( painting destruction, due to the elevation of temp erature of
housing and corrosion risk. )

Mill Galvanizing & Painting - better than only painting.

Side by side or stacked phases

In normal conditions the filter resistor must be installed side by side but if required, the phases can be designed to be
stacked or installed in the top of capacitor banks to be specified at tender stage.

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For voltage range I: 1 kV < Um < 52 kV For voltage range I: 52 kV Um < 300 kV

Non-reduced values Reduced values Earth-fault factor Earth-fault factor less

greater than 1.4 than 1.4
Rated lightning impulse

Rated lightning impulse

Minimum clearances

Minimum clearances
Maximum voltage for

withstand voltage

withstand voltage



phase-to-phase phase-to-earth N

phase-to-phase phase-to-earth S
Maximum voltage for apparatus
Nominal Voltage

withstand voltage UrB kV

withstand voltage UrB kV


Rated lightning impulse

Rated lightning impulse

Minimum clearances

Minimum clearances
Nominal voltage
Un Um UrB Indoor Outdoor UrB Indoors Outdoor
kV kV kV N N kV S S

Um kV
Un kV


mm mm mm mm

45 52 250 480 _ _
3 3.6 40 60 120 20 60 120
60 72.5 325 630 _ _
6 7.2 60 90 120 40 60 120
110 123 550 1100 450 900
10 12 75 120 150 60 90 150
150 170 750 1500 650 1300
220 245 1050 2100 950 1900
850 1700
20 24 125 220 95 160
30 36 170 320 145 270


Minimum Minimum
Pollution Examples of typical environments creepage Pollution Examples of typical environments creepage
level distance level distance
mm/kV mm/kV
- Areas without industries and with low
density of houses equipped with heating plants
- Areas with low density of industries or - Areas with high density of industries and
houses but subjected to frequent winds and/or suburbs of large cities with high density of
I Light rainfall 16 III Heavy heating plants producing pollution.
- Agricultural areas - Areas close to the sea or in any case exposed to 25
- Mountainous areas relatively strong winds from the sea.
All these areas shall be situated at least 10 to
20 Km from the sea and shall not be exposed
to winds directly from the sea.

- Areas with industries not producing - Areas generally of moderate extent, subjected to
particularly polluting smoke and/or with conductive dusts and to industrial smoke
average density of houses equipped with producing particularly thick conductiv e deposits.
II Medium heating plants. IV Very - Areas generally of moderate extent, very close
- Areas with high density of houses and/or 20 heavy to the coast and exposed to sea-spray or to very 31
industries but subjected to frequent winds strong and polluting winds from the sea.
and/or rainfall. - Desert areas, characterized by no rain for long
- Areas exposed to wind from the sea but not periods, exposed to strong winds carrying sand
too close to the coast (at least several and salt , and subjected to regular condensation.
kilometres distant).

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System Voltage KV

Resistance value at continuous rating Ω +- %

Inductance / Frequency µH

Continuous power kW or A

Overload kW or A

Time between events Sec


High Voltage Terminal to Earth

Across resistor kV

Low Voltage Terminal to Earth kV


Wind Speed km/h

Seismic conditions
Vertical acceleration g
Horizontal acceleration g


Outdoor or Indoor use

Stacked 3 phases resistors

Side by side 3 phases resistors

Housing Finishing

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