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Before understanding Knee Point Voltage of Current Transformer and Current

Transformer PS Class we should recall the terms Instrument Security Factor of

CT and Accuracy Limit Factor.

Instrument Security Factor or ISF of Current

Instrument Security Factor is the ratio of Instrument Limit Primary Current to the
rated Primary Current. Instrument Limit Current of a metering Current Transformer is
the maximum value of primary current beyond which Current Transformer core
becomes saturated. Instrument Security Factor of CT is the significant factor for
choosing the metering Instruments which to be connected to the secondary of the CT.
Security or Safety of the measuring unit is better, if ISF is low. If we go through the
example below it would be clear to us.
Suppose one Current Transformer has rating 100/1A and ISF is 1.5 and another
Current Transformer has same rating with ISF 2. That means, in first CT, the metering
core would be saturated at 1.5X100 or 150 A, whereas is second CT, core will be
saturated at 2X100 or 200A. That means whatever may be the primary current of both
CTs, secondary current will not increase further after 150 & 200A of primary current of
the CTs respectively. Hence maximum secondary current of the CTs would be 1.5 &
2.0 A.
As the maximum electric current can flow through the instrument connected to the first
CT is 1.5A which is less than the maximum value of electric current can flow through
the instrument connected to the second CT i.e. 2A. Hence security or safety of the
instruments of first CT is better than later.
Another significance of ISF is during huge electrical fault, the short circuit current,
flows through primary of the CT does not affect destructively, the measuring
instrument attached to it as because, the secondary current of the CT will not rise
above the value of rated secondary current multiplied by ISF

Accuracy imit Factor or ALF of Current Transformer

For protection current transformer, the ratio of accuracy limit primary current to the
rated primary current. First we will explain, what is rated accuracy limit primary
Broadly, this is the maximum value of primary current, beyond which core of the
protection CT or simply protection core of of a CT starts saturated. The value of rated
accuracy limit primary current is always many times more than the value of instrument
limit primary current. Actually CT transforms the fault current of the electrical power
system for operation of the protection relays connected to the secondary of that CT. If
the core of the CT becomes saturated at lower value of primary current, as in the case
of metering CT, the system fault will not reflect properly to the secondary, which may
cause, the relays remain inoperative even the fault level of the system is large
enough. That is why the core of the protection CT is made such a way that saturation
level of that core must be high enough. But still there is a limit as because, it is
impossible to make one magnetic core with infinitely high saturation level and
secondly most important reason is that although the protection care should have high
saturation level but that must be limited up to certain level otherwise total
transformation of primary current during huge fault may badly damage the protection
relays. So it is clear from above explanation, rated accuracy limit primary current,
should not be so less, that it will not at all help the relays to be operated on the other
hand this value must not be so high that it can damage the relays.
So, Accuracy Limit Factor or ALF should not have the value nearer to unit and at the
same time it should not be as high as 100. The standard values of ALF as per IS
2705 are 5,10, 15, 20 & 30.

Knee Point Voltage of Current Transformer

This is the significance of saturation level of a CT core mainly used for protection
purposes. The sinusoidal voltage of rated frequency applied to the secondary
terminals of Current Transformer, with other winding being open circuited, which when
increased by 10% cause the exiting current to increase 50%. The CT core is made of
CRGO steel. It has its won saturation level.
The EMF induced in the CT secondary windings is
E = 4.44fT

Where, f is the system frequency, is the maximum magnetic flux in Wb. T is the
number of turns of the secondary winding. The flux in the core, is produced by
excitation current I . We have a non liner relationship between excitation current and
magnetizing flux. After certain value of excitation current, flux will not further increase
so rapidly with increase in excitation current. this non-liner relation curve is also called
B H curve. Again from the equation above, it is found that, secondary voltage of a
Current Transformer is directly proportional to flux . Hence one typical curve can be
drawn from this relation between secondary voltage and excitation current as shown

It is clear from the curve that, Linear relation between V & I is maintained from point A
& K. The point A is known as Ankle Point and point K is known as Knee Point.

In Differential and Restricted Earth Fault (REF) protection scheme, accuracy class
and ALF of the CT may not ensure the reliability of the operation. It is desired that,
Differential and REF relays should not be operated when fault occurs outside the
protected transformer. When any fault occurs outside the Differential Protection zone,
the faulty current flows through the CTs of both sides of Electrical Power Transformer.
The both LV & HV CTs have magnetizing characteristics. Beyond the Knee Point, for
slight increase in secondary emf a large increasing in excitation current is required.
So after this knee point excitation current of both Current Transformers will be
extremely high, which may cause mismatch between secondary current of LV & HV
Current Transformers. This phenomena may cause unexpected tripping of Power
Transformer. So the magnetizing characteristics of both LV & HV sides CTs, should be
same that means they have same knee point voltage V as well as same excitation

current I at V . It can be again said that, if both knee point voltage of current
transformer and magnetizing characteristic of CTs of both sides of Power Transformer
differ, there must be a mismatch in high excitation currents of the CTs during fault
which ultimately causes the unbalancing between secondary current of both groups of
CTs and transformer trips.


So for choosing CT for Differential Protection of Transformer, one should consider

Current Transformer PS Class rather its convectional protection class. PS stands for
protection Special which is defined by Knee Point voltage of current transformer V
and excitation current I at V .


Why CT secondary should not be kept open

The electrical power system load current always flows through current transformer
primary; irrespective of whether the Current Transformer is open circuited or

If CT secondary is open circuited, all the primary current will behave as excitation
current, which ultimately produce huge voltage. Every Current Transformer has its
won Non Linear magnetizing curve, because of which secondary open circuit
voltage should be limited by saturation of the core. If one can measure the rms
voltage across the secondary terminals, he or she will get the value which may not
appear to be dangerous. As the CT primary current is sinusoidal in nature, it zero 100
times per second.(As frequency of the electric current is 50Hz). The rate of change of
flux at every current zero is not limited by saturation and is high indeed. This develops
extremely high peaks or pulses of voltage. This high peaks of voltage may not be

measured by conventional voltmeter. But these high peaks of induced voltage may
breakdown the CT insulation, and may case accident to personnel. The actual open
circuit voltage peak is difficult to measure accurately because of its very short peaks.
That is why CT secondary should not be kept open.