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Chapter 5

Overvoltages and Insulation Co-ordination

Insulation Co-ordination

Insulation coordination : The correlation of the insulation of electrical equipment with the characteristics of protective devices such that the insulation is protected from excessive overvoltages. Conventional approach: Protection margin must be sufficient Statistical approach: - Overvoltage distribution: the stress - Insulation breakdown probability: the strength.

Conventional Insulation Approach

Statistical Approach

Typical Standard Insulation Levels

Nominal and highest (in brackets) system voltage, Um, kVrms, line to line 6.6 (7.2) 11 (12) 22 (24) 66 (72.5) 132 (145) 275 (300) 400 (420) 22 28 50 140 275 460 630 75 95 150 350 650 1050 1425 _ _ _ _ _ 850 1050 Standard power frequency shortduration withstand voltage kVrms Standard lightning impulse withstand voltage kVpeak Standard switching impulse withstand voltage KVpeak

Power System Overvoltages and Insulation Levels

Surge arrester: protection level

Table 6.1: Typical magnitudes and durations of overvoltages Magnitude (p.u.) Temporary (50 Hz) Switching overvoltage Lightning overvoltage 1.5 4.0 6.5 Duration 50 s 10 ms 100 s

Temporary Overvoltages (TOVs)

Type Earth fault occurrence Load rejection Description Voltage increase due to method of neutral grounding. Ferranti effect Generator loss of load Line energizing and auto- Travelling waves, trapped charge reclosing Resonance effects Resonance at fundamental frequency or harmonic frequency. Non-linear resonance between line capacitance and transformer magnetising reactance.

TOVs: Load Rejection

Ferranti effect on a line: end voltage > beginning voltage

- V0 > E : - Voltage increases at end of line - Remedy: Series capacitors or shunt reactor compensation


L (transformer) C (cable) Vo

VL Vo= E - VL

TOVs: Earth Faults

Earth faults: effect of neutral earthing Sound phase voltages to earth depend on neutral earthing impedance, ZN
ZN=0 ZN ZN =


E,F Earth Fault on Phase C

Switching Overvoltages

Fault clearing Transformer magnetising current Capacitance switching Energizing of unloaded transmission lines, Travelling waves.

Switching Overvoltages: Fault Clearing L

- Arc across CB and fault while fault current, I, flows. - When current ceases at current zero, a high frequency transient voltage occurs (2Vm) - Solution: Tripping resistors
2 1 R

V cb


Vm I


a) Tripping resistor 2 1 b)Closing resistor R



The Nature of Lightning - Charge separation in clouds - Downward leader develops from cloud - Leader is invisible, zigzags, 100 A - Positive leaders form from sharp points on earth. - Final discharge, 20 100 kA

Stepped downward leader

Moves in 30 m steps, zigzags Current approx. 100 A Not visible to naked eye Induces positive charge on projecting objects Final discharge , return stroke, typically 50 kA.

Lightning Protection

Rolling sphere concept Striking distance 40 130 m Ground Flash Density Shielding Angle Overhead ground wire to intercept leader Importance of Grounding Impedance Attractive radius: RA= 0.84 I0.74 h0.6 RA = 14 h 0.6 (for I =35 kA)



Lightning Protection


Lightning Over-voltages

Direct Stroke V = I Zc /2 Zc= (L/C) L henry/m C farad/m Typically: Zc= 350 ohm

i i/2 i/2

Lightning Overvoltages

Step or touch potential Indirect: induced Capacitively or inductively

Distance from object


Lightning Overvoltages

The current flowing through the earthing impedance raises the tower potential to cause a flashover from the tower to the phase conductor Importance of a low tower footing resistance.

V = Ri +Ldi/dt (high)

V: medium voltage

L i

back flashover

earthed tower


Insulation Coordination

Correlation of the insulation strength of electrical equipment with the characteristics of protective devices such that the insulation is protected from excessive overvoltages 50 % Impulse flashover Voltage Time to flashover (on front/ tail, withstand)

Overvoltage Protection

Rod and horn gaps: Flash over with overvoltage - Fault current flows - Outage- Poor protection for short , high impulses Silicon carbide gapped lightning arresters: Nonlinear resistor in series with gap - gap flashes over - current and voltage limited by resistor - power arc goes out at current zero magnetic blow out coils.

Overvoltage Protection

Gapless ZnO arresters: High resistance below knee point - no gap required. Well defined knee point Suitable to protect transformers against steep pulses. Placing of Arrestors: As close to protected apparatus as possible.

Impulse Tests

The purpose is to generate a voltage impulse to simulate a ligtning overvoltage Typical standard 1,2/ 50s wave. Typical circuit to generate impulse Capacitor C1 charged and discharges when spark gap G flashes over.
Rs HV DC Supply

100 %


50 %

T1 T2

Time Time


alternative position for R1

C1 R2


Test object

In impulse testing each test produces a single impulse that can result in either a flashover or a withstand. In order to quantify the flashover voltage a number (say 10) tests are done at each voltage level in order to obtain the 50% (probability) flashover voltage. The withstand level is defined as that voltage where only 3 flashovers occur during a series of 15 consecutive impulses.

Laboratory Impulse Testing

critical flashover voltage (50 %) flashover on front

no flashover


100 %

50 %

0% V50 Impulse voltage


Insulation Coordination encompasses all aspects of the power system and attempts to ensure uninterrupted supply of power under the worst overvoltage and environmental conditions. Surge arresters play an important role in reaching this goal.