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Arash H. ISFAHANI, Sadegh VAEZ-ZADEH, and Abbas N.

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Tehran

Calculation of Maximum Short Circuit Electromagnetic Forces in

the IPB Using Time Stepping Finite Element Method
Abstract. Calculation of maximum short circuit electromagnetic forces is one of the most important factors in the mechanical design and optimization
of isolated phase buses which is required by the manufacturing companies. In this paper, these forces as well as associated eddy currents and
magnetic fields are calculated using finite element method. A software program is developed to find the worst conditions at which a maximum short
circuit electromagnetic force occurs. It is shown that the maximum force strongly depends on the initial phase current angle at the instance the short
circuit occurs. Two common enclosure material i.e. aluminum and steel are also compared regarding short circuit forces.

Streszczenie..Maksymalne siáy elektromagnetyczne zwarciowe to jeden z najwaĪniejszych parametrów mechanicznych przy projektowaniu i
optymalizacji izolowanych szyn fazowych. W artykule obliczono te siáy metodą elementu skoĔczonego przy uwzglĊdnieniu prądów wirowych i i pola
magnetycznego. Oprogramowanie obliczeniowe udoskonalono aby moĪna byáo znaleĨü krytyczne warunki wystĊpujące w stanach zwarcia.
Wykazano Īe maksymalna siáa zaleĪy od początkowej fazy prądu w momencie zwarcia. Dwa typowe materiaáy obudowy – aluminium i stal zostaáy
porównane. (Obliczenia maksymalnej elektromagnetycznej siáy zwarciowej w izolowanej szynie przy wykorzystaniu metody elementów

Keywords: Isolated phase bus, Electromagnetic force, Magnetic field, Short Circuit, Finite element method, Enclosure material
Sáowa kluczowe:.

Introduction forces in several types of bus bars [23-28]. Whereas, the

Three phase isolated phase buses (IPBs) are increasingly calculation of transient short circuit forces in IPBs via FEM
used in power plants to carry electricity from generators to has not gained enough attention. Authors, has used FEM
main and auxiliary transformers. Using IPBs, instead of method to investigate the effect of IPB dimensions and its
other types of connecting buses, the magnetic field density material properties on short circuit forces [29-30]. However,
reduces and the security of system increases because of finding the worst conditions from forces point of view still
the isolation between phases. To achieve a reliable design needs to be investigated.
of an IPB, accurate understanding of its magnetic field In this paper the magnetic field distribution and the eddy
distribution, eddy current losses, thermal conditions, current characteristics as well as transient short circuit
insulation and shielding problems and short circuit forces forces of IPBs are investigated using 2D time stepping finite
are required. The magnetic fields, eddy currents and element method. A FEM based program is then developed
electrical losses in IPBs have been extensively investigated which provides easy determination of maximum force on
[1-6]. The thermal behavior of IPBs and other heavy current IPB systems under the worst conditions. The results are
busbars is also consider in many researches so far [7-15] useable for the mechanical design of IPBs.
Short circuit forces are the most important factor in
mechanical design of IPBs since they may cause System structure and model
permanent damage to IPBs. Therefore, these forces must A real IPB carrying current to a transformer is shown in
be considered accurately. Different methods can be Fig. 1. The IPB system consists of three tubular conductors
employed to calculate the forces, e.g. the empirical method, housed in three cylindrical shaped enclosures. The
the image current method, the complex vector potential conductor is supported by insulators made of porcelain or
method, and numerical methods. The empirical method has epoxy materials. The conductors and enclosures are
been used to evaluate the forces by certain companies and formed by rolling aluminum sheets and welding the joints.
researchers [16, 17]. This method uses a scaled down
experimental system and is very costly and difficult. Also,
using the scaled model rather than the real model may lead
to inaccurate results. Imaging method has been applied to
calculate the forces on IPBs in many researches [18-19].
However, this method cannot consider the distribution of
eddy currents and may cause erroneous results at large
currents [20]. An analytical method has been developed for
the IPB field and force computation [20]. This method uses
the complex potential and solves the Maxwell equations
analytically. Some simplifications, e.g. neglecting enclosure
thickness and assuming conductors as current filaments,
are used in the method causing a reduction of computation
Numerical methods are one of the best solutions for field
and force computation in IPBs, as they can consider the
real shape of conductors and enclosures as well as their Fig. 1: A real IPB structure (courtesy of MAPNA Company, Tehran,
thicknesses. These methods can also take into account the Iran)
skin effect, eddy current distribution and nonlinearity of
The enclosures are connected together at both ends by
materials. Finite element method (FEM) is a widely used
bonding plates and are grounded at one end. The cross
and well suited numerical method for electromagnetic
section of one phase is shown in Fig. 2. Enclosures,
problems [21]. FEM has been successfully applied to IPBs
conductors and insulators are seen in this figure.
for fields, eddy currents and losses calculations [7, 9, 12and
22]. It is also used to compute transient electromagnetic

PRZEGLĄD ELEKTROTECHNICZNY (Electrical Review), ISSN 0033-2097, R. 85 NR 7/2009 31