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 Electric power systems in industrial

plants and commercial and

institutional buildings are
designed to serve loads in a safe
and reliable manner.
 One of the major purpose of
designing power system is to
control short circuit or fault
A current that flows from one
conductor to ground or to another
conductor owing to an abnormal
connection (including an arc)
between the two.
 A short circuit is an abnormal
connection between two nodes of
an electric circuit intended to be at
different voltages
 service outage with accompanying
production downtime and associated
 interruption of essential facilities or vital
 extensive equipment damage
 personnel injury or fatality
 possible fire damage
A short-circuit current generates
heat that is proportional to the
square of the current magnitude,
I2R. The large amount of heat
generated by a short-circuit
current may damage the
insulation of rotating machinery
and apparatus that is connected
into the faulted system, including
cables, transformers, switches,
and circuit breakers
 Other important effects of short-
circuit currents are the strong
electromagnetic forces of attraction
and repulsion to which the
conductors are subjected when
short-circuit currents are present.
These forces are proportional to the
square of the current and may
subject any rotating machinery,
transmission, and switching
equipment to severe mechanical
stresses and strains
 A common type of short circuit occurs
when the positive and negative
terminals of a battery are connected
with a low-resistance conductor, like
a wire. With low resistance in the
connection, a high current exists,
causing the cell to deliver a large
amount of energy in a short time.
 A large current through a battery can
cause the rapid build-up of heat,
potentially resulting in an explosion or the
release of hydrogen gas
and electrolyte (an acid or a base), which
can burn tissue, cause blindness or even
death. Overloaded wires can also
overheat, sometimes causing damage to
the wire's insulation, or a fire. High current
conditions may also occur with electric
motor loads under stalled conditions, such
as when the impeller of an electrically
driven pump is jammed by debris; this is
not a short, though it may have some
similar effects.
 In electrical devices, unintentional short
circuits are usually caused when a
wire's insulation breaks down, or when
another conducting material is
introduced, allowing charge to flow
along a different path than the one
 In mains circuits, short circuits may occur between
two phases, between a phase and neutral or
between a phase and earth (ground). Such short
circuits are likely to result in a very high current and
therefore quickly trigger an overcurrent protection
device. However, it is possible for short circuits to arise
between neutral and earth conductors, and
between two conductors of the same phase. Such
short circuits can be dangerous, particularly as they
may not immediately result in a large current and are
therefore less likely to be detected. Possible effects
include unexpected energisation of a circuit
presumed to be isolated. To help reduce the
negative effects of short circuits, power distribution
transformers are deliberately designed to have a
certain amount of leakage reactance. The leakage
reactance (usually about 5 to 10% of the full load
impedance) helps limit both the magnitude and rate
of rise of the fault current.
 A short circuit may lead to formation of
an Electric arc. The arc, a channel of hot
ionized plasma, is highly conductive and
can persist even after significant amount of
original material of the conductors was
evaporated. Surface erosion is a typical
sign of electric arc damage. Even short arcs
can remove significant amount of materials
from the electrodes. The temperature of the
resulting electrical arc is very high (tens of
thousands of degrees Fahrenheit), causing
the metal on the contact surfaces to melt,
pool and migrate with the current, as well
as to escape into the air as fine particulate
 circuit breaker: A switching device
capable of making, carrying, and
breaking currents under normal circuit
conditions and also making, carrying for
a specified time, and breaking currents
under specified abnormal conditions
such as those of short circuit.
fuse: A device that protects a circuit
by melting open its current-carrying
element when an overcurrent or short-
circuit current passes through it.