Fault Analysis in Power Systems

fault analysis in power systems

Usually, a power system operates under balanced conditions with all equipment’s carrying normal load currents and also the bus voltages inside the prescribed limits. This condition can be disrupted because of fault within the system. If the electrical fault current exceeds the interrupting rating of the protective device, the consequences can be devastating. It can be a serious threat to human life and is capable of causing injury, extensive equipment damage.

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Types of Faults in Power System​

The faults in the power system are mainly categorized into two types:

  1. Open Circuit Fault
  2. Short Circuit Fault

1. Open Circuit Fault:​

The open circuit fault happens due to the failure of one or two conductors. These faults take place in series with the line so referred as series fault. Such types of faults have a strong impact on the reliability of the system. The open circuit fault is classified as:

  • Open Conductor Fault
  • Two conductors Open Fault
  • Three conductors Open Fault
open circuit fault
open circuit fault

​2. Short Circuit Fault:

The short-circuit fault is commonly divided into symmetrical and asymmetrical types. These faults are further categorized as one of five types into symmetrical and asymmetrical faults.

short circuit fault
short circuit fault

Steps to perform a Fault Analysis in a Power System:

The steps required to perform fault analysis in a power system comprises of seven steps which are discussed here in detail.

Causes of Power System Faults

Causes of power system faults
Causes of power system faults

Weather Conditions

Lightning strikes, accumulation of snow transmission, heavy rains, high speed winds, earthquakes, salt pollution deposition on overhead lines and conductors are some factors that can cause power system faults in a system.

Equipment Failures

Electrical equipment like machines, motors, generators, transformers, cables, reactors, switch devices, etc. causes electrical faults.

Human Errors

Electrical faults are also caused due to human errors like choosing improper rating of equipment or devices, forgetting metallic or electrical conducting components once coupling or maintenance, switching the circuit while its below servicing.

Smoke of Fires​

The smoke of fires under overhead lines consists of tiny particles results in spark between the lines or between conductors to insulator. This arc causes insulators to lose their insulting capability because of high voltages. The hot air in the flames of a fire has a much lower insulation strength than air at close temperature.

Let us know if you have any queries regarding this topic and do provide us with your feedback in the comments.

Hiring a professional electrical engineer to conduct an Arc Flash Analysis and Short Circuit Study is a great way to ensure the safety of your facility and workers against unwanted incidents.

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About The Author

Abdur Rehman is a professional electrical engineer with more than eight years of experience working with equipment from 208V to 115kV in both the Utility and Industrial & Commercial space. He has a particular focus on Power Systems Protection & Engineering Studies.

Abdur Rehman is the CEO and co-founder of allumiax.com and creator of GeneralPAC by AllumiaX. He has been actively involved in various roles in the IEEE Seattle Section, IEEE PES Seattle, IEEE Region 6, and IEEE MGA.

Leaders in Industrial & Commercial Power Systems Engineering