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TRANSMISSION

In order to determine the AC resistance of an ACSR conductor one

must account for the following:

DC resistance: Increases with strand resistivity and length.

Temperature: DC resistance increases with temperature.

Skin effect: Alternating current forces current to the outer section

of the strands and to the outer layers of the conductor.

Core losses: Eddy current and magnetic hysteresis losses in the

steel core increase the effective resistance of the conductor.

Transformer effect: Magnetic coupling of current in the aluminium

strand layers through the steel core increases non-uniformity

of the current density in the layers, particularly for three layer

conductors.

The methods described in Cigr brochure 345 can calculate AC

resistance for both homogeneous and non-homogeneous steel core

conductors. A listing of a detailed MathCad program is included.

Bare stranded aluminium conductors, with and without steel reinforcing

cores, have been used for over 80 years for the transmission of electric

power at high voltage. These conductors consist of one or more layers

of aluminium wires stranded concentrically (with alternate right-hand

and left hand directions). When steel reinforced, the conductor core

consists of one or more galvanised steel wires. The steel core and

aluminium layers provide mechanical strength, but the aluminium

wires carry most of the current.

Whether there is a steel core or not, alternating current flowing in

the aluminium wires causes skin effect within the conductor and, at

frequencies of 50 to 60 Hz, skin effect increases the resistance by

between 1% and 10% for conductors having diameters varying from

20 to 50 mm, respectively.

In ACSR, the alternating current produces an alternating axial magnetic

flux in the steel core which further changes the current distribution

between aluminium layers, and increases the effective AC resistance

by as much as 5% to 20% for three-layer and single layer ACSR.

The conductor is not isothermal, since there will be a radial temperature

gradient, and there may also be a longitudinal temperature

gradient.

Direct current parameters

With direct current, the current density within an isothermal solid

cylindrical or tubular conductor is uniform. Provided that good contact

is made with all the strands, the distribution of the current density within

an isothermal homogeneous stranded conductor carrying direct

current is also uniform. In the case of a bimetallic conductor, such

as ACSR, the current density within each metallic section is inversely

proportional to the resistivity of that section.

The resistance per unit length R of a conductor depends on the resistivity

and the cross-sectional area A. Since the resistivity is temperature

dependent, the resistance also varies with the temperature T of the

conductor.

Alternating current parameters

In order to determine the parameters that affect AC resistance, it

is necessary to study the effects on the resistive and the internal

inductance.

Parameters that affect AC resistance

The current density distribution within any conductor carr ying

alternating current is rarely uniform. With solid cylindrical and tubular

homogeneous conductors, there are skin and proximity effects. With

stranded homogeneous conductors, variable contact resistances

between strands may also affect the current distribution. With stranded

steel-cored aluminium conductors (ACSR) the alternating magnetic

flux in the core may cause hysteresis and eddy current losses in the

core and a profound redistribution of current density in the layers of

non-ferrous wires.

The effect of frequency (skin effect)

The AC resistance of any conductor depends on the frequency of the

current, as this determines the magnitude of the skin effect. At power

frequency, there is usually negligible variation in the resistance with

frequency in the case of a monometallic conductor. With steel-cored

conductors, such as ACSR, however, there may be a significant effect

of frequency, because the radial distribution of current density in the

nonferrous section and the power loss in the steel core both depend

on the frequency.

Since not all the magnetic flux due to filaments of alternating current

near the centre of a homogeneous conductor cuts the whole

conductor, the inductance per unit area will decrease towards the

surface. Hence, the current per unit area will increase towards the

surface of the conductor. Theoretical studies give factors for skin effect

calculation, which is the ratio between the AC and DC resistances,

for an isolated non-magnetic solid circular cylinder with negligible

capacitive current as a function of conductor radius.

Theoretical studies based on measured results have proposed an

explicit solution to equation for power frequencies, where the error

varies from 1,6 % to 3,8%. In the case of a stranded non-magnetic

conductor this includes the skin effect factor, provided that the DC

resistance is calculated at the temperature of interest. For steel-cored

conductors, such as ACSR, some authors have used the diameter

of the steel core for calculation, but this neglects the effect of the

magnetic flux in the core on the skin effect.

Alternating current (AC) resistance of

helically stranded conductors

Information from Cigr

The electrical resistance of bare, helically-stranded conductors (aluminium and aluminium alloy), intended for use in overhead distribution

and transmission lines, depends on the conductor cross-section area, the conductivity of the aluminium alloy, the lay length of the aluminium

layers, and the presence or absence of a steel reinforcing core. The presence of a stranded steel core can increase the resistance due to

core magnetising effects. Cigr brochure 345 describes a process of AC resistance calculation for bare stranded aluminium conductors both

with and without a steel reinforcing core.

TRANSMISSION

energize - June 2008 - Page 32

Effect of temperature

Temperature has a significant effect on the resistance of most

aluminium (and copper) conductors. The increase in DC resistance

with temperature amounts to approximately 4% for every 10C change

in conductor temperature.

Transformer effect and iron losses

Iron losses were taken into account. It assumed that current density

was uniform in the non ferrous section and that currents followed the

spiraling wires.

Earlier analyses of the transformer effect modeled the effect of the

steel core in an ACSR conductor by employing equivalent circuits, but

these models identified the core loss with each layer of the conductor,

rather than with the core, although they did indicate non-uniform

distribution of current density between the layers of aluminium wires.

The first model to include the layer resistances and inductances due

to the circular and longitudinal magnetic fluxes employed complex

values for the layer currents, but not for the permeability of the core

and the magnetic loss angles. These discrepancies were partially

rectified and fully accounted for in subsequent studies. The effects

of the temperature and the tensile stress in the conductor on the

permeability of the core were analysed.

It has been shown both analytically and experimentally that both the

current density and its phase angle vary both within and between

layers. The steel used in the core is virtually unique for different

conductors. The curves provided in the computer programme in

Appendix A of the brochure were taken from an appropriate reference

but the programme does permit changes in steel parameters. The

curves provided are sufficiently accurate for general use.

Parameters that affect AC conductor impedance (Z)

The non uniform distribution of the current density in a conductor, due

to the skin effect and the transformer effect, also influences the internal

inductance, particularly with steel cored conductors.

The internal conductance increases sinusoidally in ASCR conductors

with increasing current to a maximum value and then decreases as

the magnetic saturation of the steel sets in. The internal inductance

decreases as the frequency increases (range 25 Hz to 60 Hz).

Increasing the tensile stress, in the range 0 - 290 MPa, will decrease

the relative permeability of the steel core.

Fig. 1: Induced voltages and currents in aluminium layers of a

three-layer ACSR conductor.

Fig. 2a: Cross section of ACSR with four layers of Aluminium Wires.

Uneven current distribution

According to the test results it was verified that the highest current density

is not in the outside layer, caused by "skin" effect, but in the middle-layer

because of the transformer effect inducing current in the wires as a

result of the magnetization of the steel core.

R

1

- R

3

: Resistance of aluminium layers

U

il

- U

i3

: Induced voltage in aluminium layers

I

AI

- I

AII

: Induced current component in aluminium layers

Electrical representation of ACSR conductor

The primary circuits substitute the aluminium layers while the secondary

circuit substitutes the steel core. In the substitutions diagram "I" symbolises

the current in the conductor, which is equal to the sum of the current

in each layer (I

1

, I

2

, I

3

, I

4

.)

According to calculation, about 80% of AC incremental loss is produced

in the Al-layers and only 20% of it arises in the steel-core. The variation

of components (RA1, and RAc) of AC resistance of conductors can

be seen in Fig. 3.

Fig. 2: Electrical representation of four layers Aluminium Wires.

TRANSMISSION

energize - June 2008 - Page 34

The cause of increase of AC resistance in comparison to the

DC resistance, is mainly uneven current distribution, which

strongly depends on the induced voltage in the Al-layers. This

voltage is the function of the stranding angles of the layers.

AC resistance calculation for 1 and 3 layer aluminium

strands

A computer programme based on the transformer model

described above, was used to calculate the AC resistance

of the following conductors. The calculated value of AC/DC

resistance ratio of one layer and three layers conductor as a

function of loading current are presented in Fig. 4 and 5.

The increase in AC resistance is not linear with current density.

Rather, a peak resistance is reached at a current density of 3 to

5 A/mm

2

after which the resistance either flattens out or

declines.

Comparison of measured and calculated values

A calculation method was developed by Muftic (Eskom) using

MathCad software. This method was based on the model in

Appendix A of the Cigr brochure 345. Another computer

program was developed by Guntner and Varga (VEIKI-VNL

Ltd.) for AC resistance calculation. This program is based on

the model shown in Appendix B of the brochure. An ACSR

500/66 conductor was used in the calculation:

The measured and the calculated values with two different

methods can be seen in Fig. 6.

From Fig. 6 it can be deduced that the measured AC

resistance values are very close to the calculated results

with both computer programs being based on the theory

of uneven current and temperature distribution of ACSR

conductors.

Conclusion

The theory surrounding the current distribution in stranded

conductors is well researched and documented. Prior to the

advent of modern day mathematical programmes, it was not

possible to rapidly calculate the AC resistance value in a short

time. This necessitated simplification of the detailed model

to allow engineers to determine approximate values of AC

resistance. This sufficed whilst the current densities used were

generally well below l A/mm

2

. However, in recent time with the

pressure to relieve congestion due to trading and other factors

being prevalent, current densities of up to 4 A/mm

2

have

been experienced. This implies that the present simplification

is not sufficient. This document has managed to describe the

model relating to the determination of AC resistance as well

as indicate the comparison of the use of the model to actual

measurements. Appendix A of the brochure allows the user to

develop programmes capable of calculating AC resistance

for any type of bare overhead conductor.

Acknowledgement

This paper was published in the April 2008 issue of Electra, the

members' journal of Cigr, www.cigre.org, and is republished

with permission.

Contact Ken King, Cigr,

Tel 011 886-6573, kingk@merz.co.za v

Fig. 3: Main components of AC resistance of a three layer ACSR conductor

(ACSR 500/65).

Fig. 4: Variation of AC/DC resistance of Penguin conductor.

Fig. 5: Variation of AC/DC resistance ratio of Falcon conductor.

Fig. 6: Measured and calculated results for ACSR 500/65 conductor.

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