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Magnetic Field of Air Core Reactors:

Causes, Effects and Solutions

Tech News

AREVA T&Ds Expertise

INTRODUCTION Nowadays, dry-type air-core reactors are consecrated in a vast range of applications, including among others: current limiting reactors, reactors for capacitor banks and harmonic lters, shunt reactors for static compensators, etc... The absence of iron core results in a simple, light weight equipment. On the other hand, there is no iron core to capture the magnetic eld that will occupy the space around the reactor. This requires taking some precautions in relation to the in uence of intense magnetic elds. These precautions prevent against thermal and/or mechanical efforts that can damage structures of metallic elements when exposed to these elds. Figure 2 shows some curves showing the magnetic eld B for some typical shapes of reactors. The relation h/D (height / diameter) is the most important parameter in the de nition of the contour of the eld lines, where the relation h/D is typically between 0.5 and 1.5. It can be seen from the curves of gure 2 that the value of the magnetic eld decreases rapidly when the distance from the reactor increases. In all cases, the value of the magnetic eld at half diameter from reactor surface will be around 10% or less the value of the magnetic eld at the center of the reactor (point where the magnetic eld is maximum).

MAGNETIC FIELD OF AIR-CORE REACTORS Problems of induction in non-magnetic environments can be formulated using the following integral equation: (1)

For air-core reactors, this equation allows to calculate the magnetic eld in any point of the space de ned by cylindrical coordinates (r,z), where the integral is calculated over the volume v of the reactor winding. J : current density in the winding (A/mm2) : distance between any point ( r, z ) of the winding and the location x (r,z) where we want to calculate the magnetic eld. : unit vector (indicated in gure 1)

Fig. 1 Reactor winding and calculation of the magnetic eld of air-core reactors

Fig. 2 Magnetic eld of typical shapes of air-core reactors

EFFECTS OF THE MAGNETIC INDUCTION The magnetic induction on a metallic structure (magnetic or nonmagnetic) induces currents in the structure in accordance with the relations established by the Maxwells equations. The intensity of these currents depends, besides the value of the magnetic eld density, on the following: > Field frequency; > Resistivity and permeability of the conducting material that constitutes the structure; > Geometric elements that are function of the structures geometry; > Position of the structure in relation to the reactor. Where is called penetration depth of the magnetic eld, and is a measure of how much the magnetic eld penetrates effectively the material. The induced current density is calculated from the magnetic eld strength equation, which gives: (3) where: Hix = external eld tangent to the plate

magnetic permeability of the material electric conductivity of the material angular frequency of the eld

It is not always possible to establish analytical relations to calculate these currents. The usual procedure consists of doing estimates based on situations of simpli ed geometry that permit us to use simpli ed relationships for the calculation of currents, losses, etc. Figure 3 shows a conducting metallic plate of thickness 2b. This could be, for example, the wall of an enclosure as shown in gure 10.

the losses per area-unit of the plate is given by: (4)

Resulting in: (5)


Fig. 3 Magnetic eld on a metallic plate

It is interesting to observe that in many applications the equation above can be simpli ed in function of the value of the relation 2b/. For example, in a metallic enclosure of aluminum, where we have the penetration depth , at 60 Hz, around 20 mm and therefore bigger than the usual thickness of the wall of an enclosure (around 5 mm), allowing us to say that 2b<<. For these conditions the solution of equation 5 yields the following: (6)

Imagine the time-harmonic magnetic eld which is incident on the plate. This eld can be decomposed in two components: tangent and normal to the plate, where the problem can be independently analyzed for each one of the components and the total losses obtained by superposition of effects (This is possible because the eld components are in quadrature).

Table 1 presents the values of penetration depth of the magnetic eld at 60 Hz for the materials most used, where the condition 2b<< applies in most cases.

Solution for the tangent magnetic eld to the plate Applying Maxwells equations and appropriate boundary conditions, it can be demonstrated that the magnetic eld strength is given by the following expression: (2) Table 1

Solution for the normal magnetic eld to the plate As mentioned before, it is usual to have the relation 2b<< for metallic enclosures. For these conditions, the effect of induced currents is negligible and the magnetic eld crosses the material without signi cant disturbances. The induced currents will be in the direction of z, and from the Maxwells equations we can demonstrate that: (7)

Resulting in the following current density: (8) Fig. 4 Conductors exposed to the magnetic eld of air-core reactors Finally, using the equation 4, losses per areaunit (result of the normal eld to the plate) can be calculated as follows: (9)

In accordance with the Lorentz force equation, the resultant force per unit length on the conductor is: (10)

The equations (6) and (9) can be used to estimate the losses and the heating generated on the walls of metallic enclosures. Although the magnetic eld is not constant throughout the walls of the enclosure, it can be divided in imaginary sections, and the losses calculated for each section, based on the average value of the eld throughout these sections. Similar solutions can be done for practically all the situations, for example, for metallic beams exposed to magnetic elds and others. In all cases, independently of considered geometry, a quadratic variation of the losses with the incident eld is observed, as can be seen in the expressions presented for the calculation of the losses of the considered example.

resulting, for the example considered, in: (11)

which gives: (12)

MECHANICAL EFFORTS In addition to the thermal efforts created by induced losses, we will also have the mechanical efforts already mentioned previously. A signi cant example is the case of a conductor exposed to the eld of the reactor and high currents during a short-circuit, as shown in gure 4.

where , , are the unit vectors of the cylindrical coordinate system, im the amplitude of the current in the conductor and Bm the amplitude of the magnetic eld density created by the reactor (in the space occupied by the conductor) in the normal direction of the conductor. The calculation of the force can be done cutting the conductor into imaginary sections and considering the magnetic eld is constant along each section. The value of the magnetic eld is calculated as shown previously. The value of the resultant force in the cable is given by the sum of the forces acting on each section. This calculation is important for the design of busbars, connectors and conductors connected to the reactors.

MAGNETIC CLEARANCES With the knowledge of the calculated magnetic eld distribution, and based on measurements carried out in laboratory, provision must be made for minimum clearances between reactors and metallic parts as shown in gure 5.




Fig. 6 Use of non-magnetic metallic spacers

De Triangle arrangement



The distances indicated in gure 5 are general guidelines and can be complemented by speci c procedures for each project, as will exempli ed in the next subjects on enclosures, grounding, etc. Anyway, detailed analysis is recommended for each case. For installations where it is not possible to avoid the presence of closed loops, a detailed magnetic clearance analysis must be done to con rm that the guidelines may be reduced. In more dif cult cases, other solutions can be used for the reduction of the required clearances, such as the use of shields of appropriate materials and geometry.

Side by side arrangement

Insulators and non-magnetic support structures are recommended to be supplied with the reactor to provide the required magnetic distance. Non-magnetic materials as aluminum may often be used in place of steel to reduce the severity of heating problems.


FOUNDATION The effect of the magnetic eld shall be considered in the design of support structures, as well as in the placement of auxiliary equipment such as circuit breakers, lightning arresters, etc. Additionally, any other required structures shall be installed in areas where the effect of the magnetic eld will not create excessive heating. Besides the clearance guidelines mentioned above, the creation of metallic loops must be avoided. The closed loops offer a preferential way for induced currents that create heating to concrete reinforcing rods and building support beams. The circulation of these currents can damage the concrete foundations or reinforced walls in irreparable ways.

Fig. 5 Guidelines for magnetic clearances As can be seen from gure 5, the required clearance to closed loops is approximately double that required for metallic parts that do not form closed loops. For this reason, in the case of new installations, the design of structures to be installed close to reactors must be done in such a way as to avoid the formation of closed loops.

The solution to prevent this problem consists of insulating crossover points of rebar. The crossover points should be electrically isolated with pieces of hose or isolation tape. Another solution would be the use of bars made from non-magnetic materials or stainless steel. However, if the clearances are greater that the reactor diameter, the above mentioned precautions are not necessary.

GROUNDING Special care should be taken in the installation of the station ground grid in the vicinity of air-core reactors. The ground grid should be designed so without closed loops; otherwise, currents could be induced in the grid. Grounding of the support structures or equipment installed close to the reactor should be accomplished without creating closed loops in the grounding system. (see gure 7).

Fig. 9 Example of installation with fencing - Indoor

METALLIC ENCLOSURES Fig. 7 Earthing of the metallic reactor supports For metallic enclosures, closed loops must be avoided on all four sides. If you insulate the rear panel from the side and top panels, you can open the closed loops (remember that all panels shall be grounded). If you install the reactor in an enclosure with closed loops, you get higher losses and the enclosure may heat up. The insulation doesnt need to be thicker than 1/8, but the securing bolts between the rear panel and side panels, and between the top panel and side/ front panels must be insulated by means of insulating bushings and washers. Its interesting to have a door for inspection and the presence of louvers to allow the air ow through the reactor for self-cooling by natural air convection. See sketch below about grounding and insulating. The thicker lines indicate the insulated boltings.

FENCING When fencing is employed, provision must be made to assure that the reactors magnetic eld does not induce high currents in metallic fencing components. All metallic fencing must be broken up into electrically isolated sections if it is located very near the reactor. It is also necessary to assure that all portions of a metallic fence are grounded because of capacitive coupling that can exist between the reactor which is at high potential and the fence in another. Another alternative is to use nonmetallic fencing, such as wood, plastic or berglass.

Fig. 8 Example of installation with fencing and other structures - Outdoor Fig. 10 Special care for reactors mounted inside metallic enclosures

SOFTWARE AREVA T&D magnetic eld calculation tools are able to provide several graphics and reports for magnetic eld for speci c and purpose-oriented graphics and reports, such as point-to-point gures, eld limited regions, curves B x R and B x Z, etc. Usage of the magnetic eld plot: > Considerations the effect of magnetic eld on human body; > Establish clearances for safety and installation purposes; > Analysis of interference in metallic structures or equipment sensitive to magnetic eld. > Lay-out optimization, allowing the necessary reduction in clearance requirements for new and existing installations. > Design of shielding. It is possible to provide aluminum magnetic shields around and below the reactors. A part of the magnetic eld is constrained by the shields resulting in lower values in the installation. These are mainly used for existing installations that are being upgraded or modernized, and ambient conditions with electronic devices and safety rules for substation personnel.

REFERENCES [1] R. L. Stoll; The Analysis of Eddy Current, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1974. [2] P. E. Burke, T. H. Fawzi, T. Akinbiyi; The Use of Asymptotes to Estimate TE and TM Losses in Long Conductors., IEEE Transactions, Vol. MAG 14, # 5, Setember 1978. [3] T. H. Fawzi, P. E. Burke, M. Fabiano Alves; Use of Surface Integral Equations for Analysis of TM Induction Problems, Proc. IEE, Vol. 121, #10, 1974. [4] L. E. Sauer; Air Core Type Reactor Fields, AIEE Transaction, Vol. 43, June 1924. [5] IEEE Power Engineering Society; IEEE C57.16 Standard Requirements, Terminology, and Test Code for Dry-Type Air-Core Series-Connected Reactors, 1996.

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Fig. 11 Example: Magnetic eld x axial distance

Fig. 12 Example: Field limited regions

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