Concept of Series and Shunt Faults

Electrical Faults can be classified into two categories: Shunt Faults and Series Faults. Shunt faults include power conductor or conductors to ground or short circuit between the conductors.

Series type of fault is basically unbalance in system. Suppose we have used Fuse / Breaker to protect the circuit. If one or two phases open while the third phase remain in circuit, such kind of fault is called Series Fault. Notice that Series Fault may also occur in case of one or two Broken Conductor. Here broken conductor is like breaking of jumper on the tower of transmission line which is not touching the grounded tower body.

Shunt faults are characterized by increase in current and decrease in voltage and frequency whereas Series faults are characterized by increase in voltage and frequency and decrease in current in the faulted phase.

Shunt faults are classified as:

1)    Line-to-Ground Fault

2)    Line-to-Line Fault

3)    Double Line-to-Ground Fault

4)    Three phase fault

Of the above faults, first three faults are unsymmetrical fault as the symmetry is disturbed in one / two of the phases. The method of Symmetrical Components shall be applied for the analysis of such unbalance and fault.

Three phase fault is balanced fault which can also be analyzed using concept of symmetrical components.

Series faults are classified as:

1)    One Open Conductor

2)    Two Open Conductors

These faults also disturb the symmetry and therefore these faults are unbalanced faults and hence shall be analyzed using concept of symmetrical components.

Neutral Voltage during Fault:

The potential of neutral when it is grounded through some impedance or is isolated will not be at ground potential under unbalance condition as in unsymmetrical fault rather it will have some finite value with respect to ground.

The potential of neutral is given as Vn = -InZn where Zn is neutral grounding impedance and In is neutral current. Notice the negative sign before the expression of neutral voltage Vn, it indicates the flow of current from ground to the neutral point and therefore the potential of neutral point will be less than the ground potential.

For a three phase system we know that,

Ia + Ib+ Ic = 3Ia0

You may also like to read Calculation of Symmetrical Components


Vn = -3Ia0Zn

Notice that only zero sequence current flows through the neutral and therefore voltage drop across neutral will be only due to zero sequence currents.

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