Cahier
technique
no. 158
Calculation of shortcircuit
currents
B. de MetzNoblat
F. Dumas
C. Poulain
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Section: Press
Foreword
The author disclaims all responsibility subsequent to incorrect use of
information or diagrams reproduced in this document, and cannot be held
responsible for any errors or oversights, or for the consequences of using
information and diagrams contained in this document.
Benot de METZNOBLAT
Graduate Engineer from ESE (Ecole Suprieure dElectricit), he
worked first for SaintGobain, then joined Schneider Electric in 1986.
He is now a member of the Electrical Networks competency group
that studies electrical phenomena affecting power system operation
and their interaction with equipment.
Frdric DUMAS
After completing a PhD in engineering at UTC (Universit de
Technologie de Compigne), he joined Schneider Electric in 1993,
initially developing software for electrical network calculations in the
Research and Development Department. Starting in 1998, he led a
research team in the field of industrial and distribution networks.
Since 2003, as a project manager, he has been in charge of the
technical development of electrical distribution services.
Christophe POULAIN
Graduate of the ENI engineering school in Brest, he subsequented
followed the special engineering programme at the ENSEEIHT
institute in Toulouse and completed a PhD at the Universit Pierre et
Marie Curie in Paris. He joined Schneider Electric in 1992 as a
research engineer and has worked since 2003 in the Electrical
Networks competency group of the Projects and Engineering Center.
Summary
1 Introduction p. 4
1.1 The main types of shortcircuits p. 5
1.2 Development of the shortcircuit current p. 7
1.3 Standardised Isc calculations p. 10
1.4 Methods presented in this document p. 11
1.5 Basic assumptions p. 11
2 Calculation of Isc by 2.1 Isc depending on the different types of shortcircuit p. 12
the impedance method
2.2 Determining the various shortcircuit impedances p. 13
2.3 Relationships between impedances at the different
voltage levels in an installation p. 18
2.4 Calculation example p. 19
3 Calculation of Isc values in a radial 3.1 Advantages of this method p. 23
network using symmetrical components
3.2 Symmetrical components p. 23
3.3 Calculation as defined by IEC 60909 p. 24
3.4 Equations for the various currents p. 27
3.5 Examples of shortcircuit current calculations p. 28
4 Conclusion p. 32
Bibliography p. 32
Electrical installations almost always require and 4 are used. Two values of the shortcircuit
protection against shortcircuits wherever there current must be evaluated:
is an electrical discontinuity. This most often c The maximum shortcircuit current, used to
corresponds to points where there is a change determine
in conductor crosssection. The shortcircuit v The breaking capacity of the circuit breakers
current must be calculated at each level in the v The making capacity of the circuit breakers
installation in view of determining the v The electrodynamic withstand capacity of the
characteristics of the equipment required to wiring system and switchgear
withstand or break the fault current. The maximum shortcircuit current corresponds
The flow chart in Figure 1 indicates the to a shortcircuit in the immediate vicinity of the
procedure for determining the various short downstream terminals of the protection device.
circuit currents and the resulting parameters for It must be calculated accurately and used with a
the different protection devices of a lowvoltage safety margin.
installation. c The minimum shortcircuit current, essential
In order to correctly select and adjust the when selecting the timecurrent curve for circuit
protection devices, the graphs in Figures 2, 3 breakers and fuses, in particular when
Upstream Ssc
HV / LV
transformer rating usc (%)
Isc
at transformer
terminals
Fig. 1 : Shortcircuit (Isc) calculation procedure when designing a lowvoltage electrical installation (ST = short time; Inst. = instantaneous)
i
2
dt i k 2 A 2 (see Fig. 2, 3, and 4)
IB Ir Iz Isc BC I
t 1 2 (tri)
Fig. 3 : Circuit protection using a circuit breaker.
Cable or I2t
characteristic
a5 s
I2t = k2S2
Furse timecurrent
curve
Transient
overload
L3 L3
L2 L2
L1 L1
Ik" 3 Ik" 2
L3 L3
L2 L2
L1 L1
Ik" E2E
Shortcircuit current,
Partial shortcircuit currents in conductors and earth.
Fig. 5 : Different types of shortcircuits and their currents. The direction of current is chosen arbitrarily
(See IEC 60909).
iac = I sin (t + ) 
R t
idc =  I sin ( ) e L
I
t

i = iac + idc
Fault initiation
Fig. 7 : Graphical presentation and decomposition of a shortcircuit current occuring far from the generator.
E 2
R
 t
i = sin (t +  )  sin (  ) e L
u Z
with its two components, one being alternating with a shift
equal to with respect to the voltage and the second
aperiodic and decaying to zero as t tends to infinity.
Hence the two extreme cases defined by:
c = / 2, said to be symmetrical (or balanced)
(see Fig. a )
b) Asymmetrical E 2
The fault current can be defined by: i = sin t
Z
i idc which, from the initiation, has the same shape as for
steady state conditions with a peak value E / Z.
ip c = 0, said to be asymmetrical (or unbalanced)
(see Fig. b )
The fault current can be defined by:
E 2
u R
 t
i = sin (t  ) + sin e L
Z
Its initial peak value ip therefore depends on on
the R / X cos ratio of the circuit.
Fig. 8 : Graphical presentation of the two extreme cases (symmetrical and asymmetrical) for a shortcircuit current .
Figure 8 illustrates the two extreme cases for The transient currentdevelopment conditions
the development of a shortcircuit current, are in this case modified by the variation in the
presented, for the sake of simplicity, with a electromotive force resulting from the
singlephase, alternating voltage. shortcircuit.
R
For simplicity, the electromotive force is
t assumed to be constant and the internal
The factor e L is inversely proportional to the
reactance of the machine variable. The
aperiodic component damping, determined by reactance develops in three stages:
the R / L or R / X ratios. c Subtransient (the first 10 to 20 milliseconds of
The value of ip must therefore be calculated to the fault)
determine the making capacity of the required c Transient (up to 500 milliseconds)
circuit breakers and to define the electrodynamic
c Steadystate (or synchronous reactance)
forces that the installation as a whole must be
capable of withstanding.
Its value may be deduced from the rms value of
the symmetrical shortcircuit current a using the
equation:
2.0
ip = . r . Ia, where the coefficient is
indicated by the curve in Figure 9 , as a function 1.8
of the ratio R / X or R / L, corresponding to the
expression: 1.6
R 1.4
3
= 1.02 + 0.98 e X
1.2
Fault near the generator
1.0
When the fault occurs in the immediate vicinity of 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 R/X
the generator supplying the circuit, the variation
in the impedance of the generator, in this case Fig. 9 : Variation of coefficient depending on
the dominant impedance, damps the shortcircuit R / X or R / L (see IEC 60909).
current.
a) 0 t (s)
b) 0 t (s)
c) 0 t (s)
d) 0 t (s)
e) 0 t (s)
Subtransient Transient Steadystate
Fig. 10 : Total shortcircuit current isc (e), and contribution of its components:
a) subtransient reactance = Xd
b) transient reactance = Xd
c) synchronous reactance = Xd
d) aperiodic component.
Note that the decrease in the generator reactance is faster than that of the aperiodic component. This is a rare
situation that can cause saturation of the magnetic circuits and interruption problems because several periods
occur before the current passes through zero.
i
Symmetrical
2rI"k ip
2rIk
R + X
2 2
U/ 3
sc 3 = Zsc = where
Zcc
where U (phasetophase voltage) corresponds R = the sum of series resistances,
to the transformer noload voltage which is 3 to
5% greater than the onload voltage across the X = the sum of series reactances.
terminals. For example, in 390 V networks, the It is generally considered that threephase faults
phasetophase voltage adopted is U = 410 V, provoke the highest fault currents. The fault
and the phasetoneutral voltage is current in an equivalent diagram of a polyphase
U / 3 = 237 V . system is limited by only the impedance of one
Calculation of the shortcircuit current therefore phase at the phasetoneutral voltage of
requires only calculation of Zsc, the impedance thenetwork. Calculation of Isc3 is therefore
equal to all the impedances through which Isc essential for selection of equipment (maximum
flows from the generator to the location of the current and electrodynamic withstand capability).
Threephase fault ZL
Zsc
U/ 3
sc 3 =
ZL V Zsc
ZL
U
U sc 2 =
ZL 2 . Zsc
Zsc
U/ 3
ZLn V sc1 =
Zsc + ZLn
ZLn
U/ 3
sc o =
V Zsc + Z o
Zo Zo
Rating (kVA) of the MV / LV transformer 630 800 1,000 1,250 1,600 2,000
Shortcircuit voltage usc (%) 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 7
Isc/Isc
(%)
0
500 1,000 1,500 2,000 Sn
(kVA)
Fig. 14 : Resultant error in the calculation of the shortcircuit current when the upstream network impedance Zup
is neglected.
Wiring system Busbars Threephase Spaced singlecore Touching single 3 touching 3 d spaced cables (flat)
cable cables core cables (triangle) cables (flat) d = 2r d = 4r
d d r
Diagram
Reactance per unit length, 0.08 0.13 0.08 0.09 0.13 0.13
values recommended in
UTE C 15105 (m/m)
Average reactance 0.15 0.08 0.15 0.085 0.095 0.145 0.19
per unit length
values (m/m)
Extreme reactance 0.120.18 0.060.1 0.10.2 0.080.09 0.090.1 0.140.15 0.180.20
per unit length
values (m/m)
1 usc
Z TR = A
Sn 100
c For rotating machines, the equation is Fig. 20 : Calculating Ssc at point A.
identical, with x representing the impedance
Upstream network
U1 = 20 kV
Ssc = 500 MVA
Overhead line
3 cables, 50 mm2, copper 3L
length = 2 km
G
Generator
1 MVA A
xsubt = 15%
2 transformers
1,000 kVA
secondary winding 237/410 V
usc = 5%
Main LV
switchboard 10 m
3 bars, 400 mm2/ph, copper B
length = 10 m
Cable 1
3 singlecore cables, 400 mm2,
aluminium, spaced, laid flat, 3L
length = 80 m
LV subdistribution board C
neglecting the length of the busbars
Cable 2
3 singlecore cables 35 mm2,
3L
copper 3phase,
length = 30 m
Motor D
50 kW (efficiency = 0.9 ; cos = 0.8)
x = 25% M
Solution
Section Calculation Results
(the circled numbers X indicate where explanations may be found in the preceding text)
20 kV X () R ()
( )
2
1. upstream network Zup = 20 x 103 / 500 x 106 1
( )
2
15 20 x 103
3. generator XG = x 10 60
100 106
RG = 0.1 X G 11 6
20 kV X (m) R (m)
Fault A
1 5 4102
4. transformers ZT = x x 3 5
2 100 106
ZT on LV side
XT ZT 4.2
R T = 0.2 X T 4 0.84
410 V
5. circuitbreaker X cb = 0.15 15 0.15
Rm = 0.2 Xm 121
I3(0)
t
= I2
t
I3(2)
I2(1) t t
Fig. 23 : Graphical construction of the sum of three balanced threephase systems (positivesequence, negativesequence and zerosequence).
c Un 3 c Un 3
Phasetoearth I"k1 = I"k1 =
Z(1) + Z( 2) + Z(0) 2 Z(1) + Z(0)
c Un 3 Zi c Un 3
Phasetophasetoearth I"kE2E = I"kE2E =
(Zsc between phases = 0) Z(1) Z( 2) + Z( 2) Z(0) + Z(1) Z(0) Z(1) + 2 Z(0)
(see fig. 5c)
Z
c Un Z(0) aZ( 2) c Un (0) a
I"k2EL2 = Z(1)
Z(1) Z( 2) + Z( 2) Z(0) + Z(1) Z(0) I"k2EL2 =
Z(1) + 2 Z(0)
Z
c Un Z(0) a 2 Z( 2) c Un (0) a 2
I" = Z(1)
k2EL3
Z(1) Z( 2) + Z( 2) Z(0) + Z(1) Z(0) I"k2EL3 =
Z(1) + 2 Z(0)
Symbol used in this table: c phasetophase rms voltage of the threepase network = Un c shortcircuit impedance = Zsc
c modulus of the shortcircuit current = I"k c earth impedance = Ze.
c symmetrical impedances = Z(1) , Z(2) , Z(0)
Fig. 26 : Shortcircuit values depending on the impedances of the given network (see IEC 60909).
The main differences between these two cases v The resistances per unit length RL of lines
are: (overhead lines, cables, phase and neutral
c For shortcircuits far from the generator conductors) should be calculated for a
temperature of 20 C
v The initial (I"k), steadystate (Ik) and breaking
(Ib) shortcircuit currents are equal (I"k = Ik = Ib) c Calculation of the minimum shortcircuit
currents requires
v The positivesequence (Z(1)) and negative
sequence (Z(2)) impedances are equal (Z(1) = Z(2)) v Applying the voltage factor c corresponding to
the minimum permissible voltage on the network
Note however that asynchronous motors may also
add to a shortcircuit, accounting for up to 30% of v Selecting the network configuration, and in
the network Isc for the first 30 milliseconds, in some cases the minimum contribution from
which case I"k = Ik = Ib no longer holds true. sources and network feeders, which result in the
lowest shortcircuit current at the fault location
Conditions to consider when calculating the
maximum and minimum shortcircuit v Taking into account the impedance of the
currents busbars, the current transformers, etc.
c Calculation of the maximum shortcircuit v Considering resistances RL at the highest
currents must take into account the following foreseeable temperature
points RL = 1 +
0.004
(e  20 C) x RL20
v Application of the correct voltage factor c C
corresponding to calculation of the maximum where RL20 is the resistance at 20 C; e is the
shortcircuit currents permissible temperature (C) for the
v Among the assumptions and approximations conductor at the end of the shortcircuit.
mentioned in this document, only those leading The factor 0.004 / C is valid for copper,
to a conservative error should be used aluminium and aluminium alloys.
xT = XT
SrT
2
UrT
(
ZSO = K SO tr2ZG + Z THV )
with the correction factor:
and cmax is the voltage factor related to the
rTLV (1 p T )
UnQ U cmax
nominal voltage of the network connected to the K SO =
lowvoltage side of the network transformer. UrG (1+ pG ) UrTHV 1+ x''dsin rG
The impedance correction factor must also be ZSO is used to calculate the shortcircuit current
applied to the transformer negativesequence for a fault outside the power station unit without
and zerosequence impedances when an onload tapchanger.
calculating unbalanced shortcircuit currents.
Impedances ZN between the transformer c Factors KG,S, KT,S or KG,SO, KT,SO are used
starpoints and earth must be introduced as 3ZN when calculating the partial shortcircuit currents
in the zerosequence system without a for a shortcircuit between the generator and the
correction factor. transformer (with or without an onload tap
c Factors KG and KS or KSO are introduced when changer) of a power station unit
calculating the shortcircuit impedances of v Power station units with an onload tap
generators and power station units (with or changer
without onload tapchangers) cUrG
The subtransient impedance in the positive I''kG =
sequence network must be calculated by: 3K G,SZG
(
ZGK = K GZG = K G RG + jX''d ) where:
cmax
with RG representing the stator resistance of a K G,S =
synchronous machine and the correction factor 1+ x''dsin rG
Un cmax cmax
KG = K T ,S =
UrG 1+ x''dsin rG 1 x T sin rG
It is advised to use the following values for RGf v Power station units without an onload tap
(fictitious resistance of the stator of a changer
synchronous machine) when calculating the cUrG
peak shortcircuit current. I''kG =
3K G,SOZG
RGf = 0.05X''d for generators with
where:
UrG > 1kV et SrG u 100 MVA
RGf = 0.07X''d for generators with 1 cmax
K G,SO =
UrG > 1kV et SrG < 100 MVA 1+ pG 1+ x''dsin rG
RGf = 0.15X''d for generators with K T,SO =
1
cmax
UrG i 1000 V 1+ pG 1 x T sin rG
1.0
Minimum the delay tmin
0.02 s
0.9
0.05 s
0.8
0.1 s
0.6
0.5
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Fig. 27 : Factor used to calculate the shortcircuit breaking current Ib (see IEC 60909).
0.2 0.5
0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Solution:
c Threephase fault at F1
v Impedance of the supply network (LV side)
2
c QUnQ U 1.1 20 0.41
2
ZQt = rTLV = = 0.534 m
3 I''kQ UrTHV 3 10 20
RQ
Failing other information, it is assumed that = 0.1, hence:
XQ
Solution:
c Threephase fault at F1
v Impedance of the transformer
2
ukr UrTHV 15 2402
Z THV = = = 34.56
100 SrT 100 250
2
UrTHV 2402
RTHV = PkrT 2
= 0.52 x = 0.479
SrT 2502
SrG > 100 MVA, therefore RGf = 0.05 X"d, hence ZGf = 0.015 + j0.2999
2 2
UnQ UrTLV cmax 2202 212 1.1
KS = = = 0.913
2
UrG 2
UrTHV 1+ x''d x T sin rG 212
2402 1+ 0.17 0.15 0.6258
240 2
ZS = K S ( tr2ZG + Z THV ) = 0.913 (0.0025 + j0.2999) + (0.479 + j34.557)
21
ZS = 0.735 + j67.313 (ZSf = 2.226 + j67.313 if we consider ZGf (to calculate ip))
cUnQ , 220
11
I''kS = = = 0.023 j2.075
3 ZS 3 (0.735 + j67.313)
I''kS = 2.08 kA
c Threephase fault at F2
cUrG
I''kG =
3K G,SZG
where:
cmax 1.1
K G,S = = = 0.994
1+ x''dsin rG 1+ (0.17 0.626)
cUrG 1.1 21
I''kG = = = 44.74 kA
3K G,SZG 3 0.994 0.2999
The peak shortcircuit current ipG is calculated by:
ipG = G 2 I''kG
Based on impedance ZGf, it is possible to calculate RGf / X"d = 0.05, hence G = 1.86
Various methods for the calculation of short All computer programs designed to calculate
circuit currents have been developed and shortcircuit currents are predominantly
subsequently included in standards and in this concerned with:
Cahier Technique publication as well. c Determining the required breaking and making
capacities of switchgear and the electro
A number of these methods were initially
mechanical withstand capabilities of equipment
designed in such a way that shortcircuit currents
could be calculated by hand or using a small c Determining the settings for protection relays
calculator. Over the years, the standards have and fuse ratings to ensure a high level of
been revised and the methods have often been discrimination in the electrical network
modified to provide greater accuracy and a Other software is used by experts specialising in
better representation of reality. However, in the electrical network design, for example to study
process, they have become more complicated the dynamic behaviour of electrical networks.
and timeconsuming, as is demonstrated by the Such computer programs can be used for
recent changes in IEC 60909, where hand precise simulations of electrical phenomena over
calculations are possible only for the most time and their use is now spreading to include
simple cases. the entire electromechanical behaviour of
With the development of ever more sophisticated networks and installations.
computerised calculations, electricalinstallation Remember, however, that all software, whatever
designers have developed software meeting its degree of sophistication, is only a tool. To
their particular needs. Today, a number of ensure correct results, it should be used by
software packages comply with the applicable qualified professionals who have acquired the
standards, for example Ecodial, a program relevant knowledge and experience.
designed for lowvoltage installations and
marketed by Schneider Electric.
Bibliography
1105
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