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You are on page 1of 4

Electrical Engineering

The use of simple drawings to determine

fault currents

Er. Lee Wai Meng outlines an easier

alternative to the complicated

calculations normally used.

Introduction

Te method of symmetrical components is

used to analyse the behaviour of electrical

power systems during unbalanced

conditions. Typical unbalanced

conditions include single phase to ground

fault, double phase to ground fault, and

double phase fault. Te calculation of

these fault currents needs cumbersome

mathematics involving phasors. Tis

can lead to the situation where one can

see the trees but not the forest. A better

overall understanding of the magnitude

and direction of these fault currents is

obtained from simple drawings.

Single phase to ground fault

Assuming a single phase to ground fault

at the red phase, the boundary conditions

are:

I t

fault

= I

R

I t

Y

= 0

I t

B

= 0

Te 3 conditions can be written as:

I t

R

= I

R1

+ I

R2

+ I

R0

= I

fault

I t

Y

= I

Y1

+ I

Y2

+ I

Y0

= 0

I t

B

= I

B1

+ I

B2

+ I

B0

= 0

where

I

R1

, I

Y1

, I

B1

are the positive sequence

currents

I

R2

, I

Y2

, I

B2

are the negative sequence

currents

I

R0

, I

Y0

, I

B0

are the zero sequence currents

Te use of phasors is not required, to solve

these equations. Instead, the equations

can be solved using simple drawings.

Intuitively, the solution to the equations

is represented by drawing 1A and 1B.

Te key to arrive at drawing 1A is the

zero value of the boundary condition:

I

Y

= 0 and I

B

= 0

Tis is equivalent to:

(I

Y1

+ I

Y2

) = - I

Y0

and

(I

B1

+ I

B2

) = - I

B0

.

IB1

IR1

IY1

IR2

IY2 IB2

IR0 IY0 IB0

Drawing 1A: Single phase to ground fault-positive, negative and zero sequence currents.

IB0

IY1

IY0

IY2

IB1

IB2

s

Z1 Z2 Z0

IR1 IR2 IR0

Drawing 1C: Single phase to ground fault - positive, negative and zero sequence impedance for the

faulted red phase.

Te magnitude of (I

Y1

+ I

Y2

) is equal and

opposite to I

Y0

. (I

Y1

+ I

Y2

) is at the position

of 6 on a clock. I

Y0

is at the position of

12 on the clock. Tis is illustrated in

drawing 1B. Te same reasoning will

apply to the non-faulty blue phase. As

a result, the magnitude and direction of

the faulty red phase will be xed. From

drawing 1A, it can be concluded that the

single phase to ground fault current at the

red phase consists of positive, negative,

and zero sequence currents, of equal

magnitude and in the same direction,

with their summation equalling the single

phase to ground fault current. It can also

be concluded that there must be a series

connection between the positive, negative,

and zero sequence network, as illustrated

in drawing 1C. Drawing 1C describes the

faulty red phase.

Te individual magnitude of I

R1

or I

R2

or I

R0

is V divided by ( Z

1

+ Z

2

+ Z

0

).

V is the phase to neutral voltage t

Z t

1

is the positive sequence impedance

Z t

2

is the negative sequence

impedance

Z t

0

is the zero sequence impedance

THE SINGAPORE ENGINEER Nov 2009 13

Electrical Engineering

positive sequence network must be series

connected to the non-faulty red phase

negative sequence network, as illustrated

in drawing 2C.

Te value of I

R1

=

Te fault current at the yellow phase will

have a magnitude and is at

the position of 3 on the clock. Te fault

current at the blue phase will have the

same magnitude of and is at

the position of 9 on the clock. Tis is

expected for a double phase fault as the

fault current is expected to ow to the

Te fault current at the red phase will t

be:

I

R

= I

R1

+ I

R2

+ I

R0

=

=

It can be assumed that V=1 pu and Z

1

=

1 pu. In most applications, Z

2

will also

be 1 pu. Te value of Z

0

is usually larger

than Z

1

and is assumed to be 1.5 pu. With

these values, the single phase to ground

fault current will be 0.86 pu.

Double phase fault

Assuming a double phase fault at the

yellow and blue phases, the boundary

conditions are:

I t

R

= 0

I t

fault

= I

Y

= I

B

Te 3 conditions can be written as:

I t

R

= I

R1

+ I

R2

= 0

I t

Y

= I

Y1

+ I

Y2

= I

fault

I t

B

= I

B1

+ I

B2

= I

fault

Te zero sequence current does not exist

for a double phase fault. It exists only for

faults that involve a ground. Intuitively,

the solution to the equations is represented

by drawings 2A and 2B. Te key to arrive

at drawing 2A is the zero value to the

boundary condition of the non-faulty

red phase I

R

= 0. Tis is equivalent to I

R1

= - I

R2

. Te magnitude of I

R1

is the equal

and opposite to that of I

R2

. I

R1

is at the

position of 12 on the clock and I

R2

is at

the position of 6 on the clock. Owing to

the xed magnitude and xed direction of

the non-faulty red phase, the magnitude

and direction of the faulty yellow phase

and faulty blue phase will be as illustrated

in drawing 2B.

Te yellow phase fault current is

equal and opposite to the blue phase fault

current. Te magnitude of the yellow

phase fault current is 3 x I

R1

and is at the

position of 3 on the clock. Te magnitude

of the blue phase fault current is 3 x I

R1

and is at the position of 9 on the clock.

From drawing 2B, the positive sequence

current of the non-faulty red phase is equal

and opposite to the negative sequence

current of the non-faulty red phase. For

this to happen, the non-faulty red phase

IB1

IR1

IY1

IR2

IY2 IB2

IB1

IR1

IY1

IR2

IY2 IB2

pu 3 pu 3

s

Z1 Z2

IR1 IR2

Drawing 2A: Double phase fault positive and negative sequence currents.

Drawing 2B: Double phase fault phase current.

Drawing 2C: Double phase fault positive and negative sequence network for the unfaulted red

phase.

fault location by one phase, and return by

the other phase. If Z

1

= Z

2

= 1 pu, then

the double phase fault current will be

0.87 pu.

Double phase to ground fault

Assuming a double phase fault at the

yellow and blue phases. Te boundary

conditions are:

I t

R

= 0

I t

fault

= I

Y

+ I

B

Te above conditions can be written as:

I t

R

= I

R1

+ I

R2

+ I

R0

= 0

I t

Y

= I

Y1

+ I

Y2

+ I

Y0

I t

B

= I

B1

+ I

B2

+ I

B0

14 THE SINGAPORE ENGINEER Nov 2009

Electrical Engineering

Tere are 3 fault currents - I

Y

, I

B

, and

(I

Y

+ I

B

). Fault current (I

Y

+ I

B

) will be

detected by protection CT located at the

neutral of the transformers or generators.

Fault current I

Y

or I

B

will be detected by

protection CT located at the line side. Te

3 equations for the double phase to ground

fault, do not have a unique solution, as

in the case for the single phase to ground

fault, and the double phase fault. One

possible solution is represented by drawing

3A and 3B. Tere will be innite solutions

to satisfy I

R1

= - (I

R2

+ I

R0

). Intuitively,

the positive, negative, and zero sequence

network is illustrated in gure 3C, where

the I

R1

current is split into I

R2

and I

R0

. Te

magnitude of I

R2

and I

R0

is determined by

the impedance dividers Z

2

and Z

0

. Te

positive sequence network has a driving

voltage in series with the positive sequence

impedance Z

1

. Tere is no driving voltage

for both the negative and zero sequence

network. With this in mind, we arrive at

the drawing 3C.

I t

R2

= ( ) I

R1

I t

R0

= ( ) I

R1

I t

R1

=

Where Z

0

//Z

2

=

Assume Z

1

= Z

2

= 1 pu and Z

0

= 1.5 pu,

then we have:

I t

R1

= 0.625 pu

I t

R2

= 0.375 pu

I t

R0

= 0.25 pu

Te fault current I

Y

= I

Y1

+ I

Y2

+ I

Y0

or I

B

=

I

B1

+ I

B2

+ I

B0

cannot be obtained by simply

adding (0.625 + 0.375 + 0.25) pu, to get

1.25 pu. Tis is obvious from drawing 3B.

Te fault current I

Y

is the length AB, and

fault current I

B

is the length CD.

Fault current I t

Y

= 0.94 pu.

Fault current I t

B

= 0.94 pu.

Single phase to ground fault with

transformer

Analysing a single phase to ground fault

at the red phase, of magnitude 3 pu, with

an upstream delta/star transformer, as

illustrated by drawing 4A, it is necessary

to determine the magnitude of the fault

current at the delta and star sides of the

transformer. A delta/star transformer will

introduce a 30 phase angle dierence

for the delta current and star current.

Te positive sequence current at the

star side will be 30 phase shifted in the

anticlockwise direction when reected

to the delta side of the transformer. Te

negative sequence current at the star side

will be 30 phase shifted in the clockwise

direction when reected to the delta side

of the transformer. Te zero sequence

current at the star of the transformer will

have zero phase shift when reected to

the delta side of the transformer. Tese

reected zero sequence currents will

be trapped by the delta windings and

will not appear at the line side of the

delta windings which will contain only

positive and negative sequence currents.

From drawing 4A, the yellow phase fault

current at the delta side of the transformer

is zero. Te red phase fault current at

the delta side of the transformer has a

magnitude 3 pu at the position of 12

on the clock. Te blue phase fault current

at the delta side of the transformer has a

magnitude 3 pu at the position of 6 on

the clock.

A single phase to ground fault of

magnitude 3 pu at the star side of the

transformer is seen as a double phase

fault of magnitude 3 pu at the delta

side of the transformer.

Double phase fault with transformer

Drawing 5A illustrates a double phase fault

of magnitude 3 pu with an upstream

delta/star transformer. Te positive

sequence fault current at the star side will

be 30 phase shifted in the anticlockwise

direction when reected to the delta side

of the transformer. Te negative sequence

fault current at the star side will be 30

IB1

IR1

IY1

IR2

IY2 IB2

IR0 IY0 IB0

Drawing 3A: Double phase to ground fault - positive, negative and zero sequence current.

IB1

IR1

IY1

IR2

IY2 IB2

IR0

IB0

IY0

A

B

C

D

AB = 0.94 pu

CD = 0.94 pu

Drawing 3B: Double phase to ground fault phase current.

s

Z1 Z2 Z0

IR1

IR2 IR0

IR0 IR2

IR1

Drawing 3C: Double phase to ground fault - positive, negative and zero sequence network for the

unfaulted red phase.

THE SINGAPORE ENGINEER Nov 2009 15

Electrical Engineering

phase shifted in the clockwise direction

when reected to the delta side of the

transformer. Tere is no zero sequence

current for double phase fault. Te yellow

phase fault current at the delta side has

a magnitude of 2 pu at the position of 3

on the clock. Te blue phase fault current

at the delta side has a magnitude of 1 pu

at the position of 9 on the clock. Te red

phase fault current at the delta side has

a magnitude of 1 pu at the position of

9 on the clock. A double phase fault of

magnitude 3 pu at the star side of the

transformer is seen as a three phase fault

of magnitude with a ratio of 1:1:2 at the

delta side of the transformer.

Double phase to ground fault with

transformer

Drawing 6A illustrates a double phase to

ground fault with an upstream delta/star

transformer. Te positive sequence fault

current at the star side will be 30 phase

shifted in the anticlockwise direction

when reected to the delta side. Te

negative sequence fault current at the

star side will be 30 phase shifted in the

clockwise direction when reected to

the delta side. Te zero sequence current

at the star side will have zero phase shift

when reected to the delta side. Tese

zero sequence currents will be trapped by

the delta windings and will not appear at

the line side of the delta windings. Only

positive and negative sequence currents

will appear at the line side of the delta

windings. Drawing 6B illustrates the use

of simple drawings to determine the fault

current. Te yellow phase fault current is

1 pu. Te blue phase fault current and red

phase fault current are 0.55 pu.

Conclusion

Te article illustrates the use of simple

drawings to determine the magnitude and

direction of unbalanced fault currents.

Once the method is understood, there is

no need to use phasors to calculate single

phase to ground faults, double phase

faults, and double phase to ground faults.

[Er. Lee Wai Meng is Principal Consultant/

Director of J.M. Pang & Seah (Pte) Ltd,

an electrical and mechanical consultancy. A

Singapore-registered professional engineer, he

has a 230 kV switching licence from Energy

Market Authority (EMA)].

Secondary

R

B

Y

R

B

Y

Primary

pu 3

IR1

IY1

IR2

IY2 IB2

IR0 IY0 IB0

IB1

IR1

IY1

IR2

IY2

IB2

IB1

1:1

IR1

IY1

IR2

IY2 IB2

IB1

pu 3

Secondary

1:1

R

B

Y

R

B

Y

Primary

pu 3

IR1

IY1

IB1 IR2

IY2

IB2

IB1

IR1

IY1

IR2

IY2 IB2

IR0 IY0 IB0

IR1

IY1

IB1

IR2

IY2

IB2

Secondary

R

B

Y

Primary

R

B

Y

Drawing 4A: Single phase to ground fault with transformer.

Drawing 5A: Double phase fault with transformer.

Drawing 6A: Double phase to ground fault with transformer.

Drawing 6B: Double phase to ground fault with transformer phase current.

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