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Iranian Journal of Science & Technology, Transaction B, Vol. 28, No. B3 Printed in Islamic Republic of Iran, 2004 © Shiraz University
DERATING OF DISTRIBUTION TRANSFORMERS FOR NONSINUSOIDAL LOAD CURRENTS USING FINITE ELEMENT METHOD ^{*}
J. FAIZ ^{1} , ^{*}^{*} M. B. B. SHARIFIAN ^{2} , S. A. FAKHERI ^{3} AND E. SABETMARZOOGHI ^{1}
^{1} Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, I. R. of Iran Email: jfaiz@ut.ac.ir ^{2} Department of Electrical and Engineering, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, I. R. of Iran ^{3} Tabriz Electrical Power Distribution Company, Tabriz, I. R. of Iran
Abstract– Transformers are normally designed and built for use at rated frequency and prefect sinusoidal load current. Nonlinear loads on a transformer lead to higher losses, early fatigue of insulation, premature failure and reduction of the useful life of the transformer. To prevent these problems, the rated capacity of a transformer, which supply nonlinear loads must be reduced. In this paper a 50kVA threephase distribution transformer is modeled using the finite element (FE) method and its losses are estimated under rated frequency and load conditions, as well as under nonlinear loads. An equivalent rating of the transformer is estimated based on the harmonic loss factor and is compared to the recommended standard rating. This comparison shows that the estimation of derating of the transformer supplying nonlinear loads using the standard recommendations is acceptable, but slightly conservative.
Keywords – Transformer, nonlinear load, finite element method
1. INTRODUCTION
Nowadays, electricity distribution companies are concerned about assigning ratings to transformers for non sinusoidal load current operation. The envisaged mass production of electric vehicles in future decades may lead to increased nonlinear domestic loads due to the large number of battery chargers. Uses of other non linear domestic loads such as variable speed thermal pumps are increasing. In addition, due to the wide spread use of nonlinear loads such as computers, variable speed drives in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and electronic ballasts of fluorescent lamps, harmonic distortion is increasing in the commercial user and services. Additional load losses due to nonsinusoidal voltage yield higher hot spot temperatures in transformers. The temperature rise of transformers due to nonsinusoidal load currents was discussed in the IEEE transformer committee meeting, in March 1980. This meeting recommended providing a standard guide for estimation of the loading capacity of the transformers with distorted currents. Kline presented a procedure in which the eddy current losses vary with the square of the current and harmonic order [1]. Finally, an IEEE C57110 entitled “Recommended practice for establishing transformer capability when supplying non sinusoidal load currents” has been published [2]. The aim in publishing this standard was to provide a procedure for the determination of the capacity of a transformer under nonsinusoidal loads. This procedure determines the reduction in the rated current for the harmonics present. Reducing the maximum apparent power called derating has been proposed in many papers [310]. This paper reviews the effects of nonlinear loads on a transformer, as well as the standard IEEE procedure for derating a transformer that is under distorted currents. The equivalent capacity of a typical 50 kVA transformer is then evaluated using analytical and finite element (FE) methods and the results are compared.
^{∗} Received by the editors September 25, 2002 and in final revised form January 3, 2004 ^{∗}^{∗} Corresponding author
316
J. Faiz / et al.
2. EFFECT OF NONLINEAR LOADS ON THE TRANSFORMER LOSSES
Transformer losses consist of noload losses (or core losses) and load losses:
(1)
The noload losses are due to the core excitation. The harmonic currents passing through the transformer leakage impedance and system impedance may distort the transformer output voltage slightly. Experience shows that the temperature rise of the core is not the limiting factor in determining the permissible current for nonlinear loads. IEEEC57110 standard also ignores the increase in core losses due to the nonlinear loads. The load losses are
P
T
= P + P
C
L
(2)
The value of I ^{2} R expresses the ohmic losses of the transformer windings. If the rms value of the load current increases due to the harmonic components in the current, these losses also will increase. There is no definite test procedure for determining eddy current and stray losses separately. However, the total losses can be obtained by the impedance test. The eddy and stray losses may be obtained by subtracting the ohmic losses from the total load losses. With the rated eddy current losses known, the eddy current losses due to any nonsinusoidal load current can be calculated [2]
P
L
= I
2
R + P
EC
+ P
SL
P
EC
=
P
EC
−
R
h max
∑ [
h = 1
I
h
/ I
R
]
2
h
2
(3)
Stray losses or total eddy current losses plus other stray losses can be determined for any nonsinusoidal load using a similar procedure. In the standard 1561, 1562 of UL laboratory, factor K is defined as follows:
K
Factor
_
∞
= ∑
h =1
[
I
h
/
I
R
]
2
h
2
(4)
K_Factor shows the influence of amplitude and frequency of the harmonic current upon the increase of the eddy current losses of the transformer under nonsinusoidal loads. In the revised version of the standard IEEE C57110 [11], the factor of harmonic losses (F _{H}_{L} ) has been defined as follows:
F
HL
=
h = h max
∑
2
h
I
h
2
P EC
h = 1 h = h max
∑ I
P
EC − R
2
h
=
h = 1
(5)
If the numerator and denominator of Eq. 5 are divided by the rated rms current, the current values will be in pu. The harmonic loss factors differ with K_Factor and the following equation holds:
K
_
Factor
=
h
=
h
max
∑
h = 1
I
2
h
(
Pu
)
F
HL
(6)
If the rms current of the load is equal to the rated current of the transformer, the numerical value of factor K will be equal to the harmonic loss factor.
3. EQUIVALENT POWER OF TRANSFORMER UNDER NONLINEAR LOADS
The equivalent power of a transformer is the power that the transformer can supply to a nonlinear load with an arbitrary harmonic current content. This has been carried in such a way that the total load losses, load losses in any winding and density of losses in the region with maximum eddy current losses, do not exceed the designed values with a sinusoidal waveform at rated frequency and load. The equivalent power of a transformer is determined by the maximum eddy current losses that can be dissipated in a region of the winding.
Iranian Journal of Science & Technology, Volume 28, Number B3
June 2004
Derating of distribution transformers for nonsinusoidal…
317
There are two methods of determining the equivalent power of a transformer for nonlinear load [12]. The first method is used where complete data concerning the density of the transformer losses are available. The second method is less accurate and is employed where only the test data of the transformer exists. Designers, therefore, generally use the first method, whilst users use the second method. The following assumptions are made in the second method:
1. All stray losses are equal to the eddy current losses of winding.
2. Ohmic losses of any winding are distributed uniformly.
3. For all transformers having rated currents lower than 1000 A, the distribution of the eddy current losses is 60% for the internal winding and 40% for the external winding. This distribution will be 70% and 30% for transformers having rated currents larger than 1000 A.
4. Maximum density of eddy current losses in any winding is equal to 400% of the average density of eddy current losses.
Considering the above assumptions, the maximum density of the eddy current losses P _{E}_{C}_{}_{R} in pu, for a threephase 20 kV/0.4 kV distribution transformer, under nominal conditions, is obtained as follows [2, 13]:
for S< 630 kVA:
for S> 630 kVA:
P
EC
−
R
P
EC
−
R
(
pu
) =
(
pu
) =
0.8 P
EC
−
R
I
2
2
R
L
2.8 P
EC
−
R
3 I
2
2
R
L
(7)
(8)
Maximum permissible nonsinusoidal load current of transformer (I _{m}_{a}_{x} ) in pu is the current at which the maximum loss density is equal to the designed loss density for the rated conditions. It is calculated as follows [2]:
I
(
) =
max
pu
P
LL − R
(
pu
)
1
+
h = h
max
∑
h = 1
2
f h
h
2
/
h = h
max
∑
h = 1
2
f
h
.
P
EC − R
pu )
(
1/ 2
(9)
The I ^{2} R losses at the rated load are 1 pu, and it is assumed that all stray losses are equal to the eddy current losses of the windings. Eq. (8) can be simplified as follows:
I
max
(
pu
) =
1
+ P
EC − R
(
)
pu
1
+ k
(
/
I
).
P
EC − R
(
)
pu
1/ 2
(10)
4. ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE
The equivalent kVA rating of a distribution transformer with specifications given in Table 1 is obtained for a nonsinusoidal load current with an rms value of 1 pu and the harmonic distribution given in Table 2.
Table 1. Specifications of the proposed transformer
Table 2. Distribution of load current harmonics
Rated power 
50 
kVA 
H 
1 
5 
7 
11 

HV 
voltage 
20 
kV 
I _{h} (pu) 
0.975 
0.171 
0.108 
0.044 

LV 
voltage 
400 V 
H 
13 
17 
19 

HV 
current 
1.44 A 
I _{h} (pu) 
0.028 
0.015 
0.0098 

LV 
current 
72 
A 

Load losses 
1250 W 

HV 
winding resistance 
121.5 
Ω 

LV 
winding resistance 
0.03 
Ω 
June 2004
Iranian Journal of Science & Technology, Volume 28, Number B3
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a) Conventional method
J. Faiz / et al.
The eddy current losses of the transformer can be obtained by subtracting the ohmic losses from the load losses under nominal conditions as follows:
P _{E}_{C}_{}_{R} =12503[1.44 ^{2} (121.5)+72 ^{2} (0.03)]=27.62W
The peak density of eddy current losses is calculated in pu using Eqs. (78) as follows:
P
EC
−
R
(
pu
)
=
0 8
.
×
27 62
.
155 52
.
= 0 142
.
pu
In order to compute K_Factor, Table 3 is obtained.
Table 3. Computation table for K_factors
h 
I 
h 
I 
h 
2 
h 
^{2} 
I 
_{h} ^{2} h ^{2} 
1 
0.978 
0.957 
1 
0.957 

5 
0.171 
0.929 
25 
0.731 

7 
0.111 
0.012 
49 
0.571 

11 
0.044 
0.002 
121 
0.234 

13 
0.080 
0.00078 
169 
0.133 

17 
0.015 
0.00023 
289 
0.065 

18 
0.0098 
0.0001 
361 
0.035 

Σ 
1.00 
K=2.726 
The permissible peak rms nonsinusoidal load current is determined using Eq. (10) as follows:
I
max
(
pu
) =
I
_{m}_{a}_{x}
1
+
0 142
.
1
+
(
2 726
.
×
0 142
.
)
1
/
2
= 0 9073 × 72 = 65 32
.
.
= 0 9073
.
A
and kVA can then be estimated as follows:
Equivalent kVA = 50 × 0.9073 = 45.36 kVA
The equivalent kVA is only an estimation of the total kVA of the transformer. If the harmonic content of the load is changed considerably, this kVA must be reevaluated.
b) Finite element method
The ANSYS 5.4 software for FE modeling of the proposed transformer is used. A twodimensional crosssection of the threephase transformer is first introduced to the FE software. The transformer load losses under linear and nonlinear loads are then computed based on the circuit model of the transformer and a short circuit test. As long as the size of the conductor is smaller than the local skin effect, the superposition of the eddy currents and other losses is allowed [14, 15]. On the other hand, the flux level is lower than the saturation level. So the principle of superposition is used to determine the load losses under nonsinusoidal current. The total load losses are, thus, the sum of the transformer losses due to the different harmonic current components of the nonlinear load. For every component, the equivalent sinusoidal current of the transformer and the transformer winding losses are evaluated. The FE software calculates these losses based on the leakage flux and resistivity of the windings. Figures 1 and 2 show the twodimensional crosssection and meshed model of the transformer, respectively. Certainly finer mesh leads to a better result, but it takes a longer computation time. Therefore, in the analysis for different harmonics a compromise has been made between the accuracy and the computation time.
Iranian Journal of Science & Technology, Volume 28, Number B3
June 2004
Derating of distribution transformers for nonsinusoidal…
319
Fig. 1. Twodimensional crosssection of the transformer
Fig. 2. Twodimensional meshed model for the transformer
In order to obtain the FE results, the transformer is exited by the rms current of each harmonic. The relevant flux distribution within the core and windings are then evaluated. The induced currents produced by the distributed flux in each part of the core are determined next. The resistivity of the windings is introduced to the software and the eddy current losses are then calculated based on the I ^{2} R equation. If the transformer operates under rated frequency and load conditions, the load losses using the FE method are as summarized in Table 4.
Table 4. Load losses using FE method
Load losses in HV (W) 
Load losses in LV (W) 
Total load 
losses (W) 

844.71 
437.6 
1282.3 
Figure 3 shows the magnetic flux distribution in the transformer magnetic circuit. In this case, conditions are very similar to the short circuit of the transformer (by harmonic or eddy current analysis in the ANSYS 5.4 software), and magnetization current and the flux amplitude are also very low. Due to the short circuit of the transformer phases, considerable flux leaks through the windings. This represents a major factor in such operations. For calculation of the losses under nonsinusoidal operation, the load losses for each current harmonic is obtained and summarized in Table 5.
Fig. 3. Flux distribution of magnetic circuit of the transform
As indicated in Table 5, the total load losses for the given nonsinusoidal current are 1364.66 W. Thus the increase in the losses compared to the rated frequency and load is
1364.66 −1282.31 = 82.35W
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J. Faiz / et al.
Table 5. Losses calculations for nonsinusoidal case
h 
I _{h} (pu) 
P _{H} (W) 
P _{L} (W) 
P _{L} (W) 
1 
0.9780 
807.95 
418.56 
1226.51 
5 
0.1710 
56.38 
28.71 
86.09 
7 
0.1080 
25.87 
13.89 
39.76 
11 
0.0440 
5.33 
2.74 
8.07 
13 
0.0280 
2.35 
1.19 
3.54 
17 
0.0150 
0.78 
0.38 
1.16 
19 
0.0098 
0.36 
0.17 
0.53 
∑ 
1 
899.02 
465.64 
1364.66 
The winding eddy current losses for sinusoidal and nonsinusoidal conditions are obtained by subtracting the winding dc losses from the total load losses. The total load current in both sinusoidal and nonsinusoidal conditions are assumed 1 pu. The winding DC losses in sinusoidal conditions with rated frequency and current (having total rms value of 1 pu and the given harmonic content) are as follows:
3[1.44
The winding eddy current losses are
2
×
121.5
+
72
2
×
0.03]
=
1222.38W
1282.31−1222.38 = 59.93W
Eddy current losses of the winding at nonlinear load current are as follows:
1364.66 −1222.38 = 142.28W
The factor of harmonic losses (F _{H}_{L} ) based on Eq. (5) is equal to the ratio of winding total eddy current losses at nonsinusoidal load current, and winding eddy current losses at the rated frequency and current
F
HL
142.28
=
59.93
= 2.37
Since the total rms load current is equal to the rated current of the transformer (1 pu), the numerical value of the F _{H}_{L} is equal to the numerical value of K_Factor. Thus: K= F _{H}_{L} =2.37. The value obtained using the FE method is compared to the analytical method in Table 6.
Table 6. Comparison of harmonic losses factor computed by FE and analytical methods
Analytical 
FEM 

F 
HL 
2.726 
2.37 
A comparison of applying the two methods shows that the FE method predicts a smaller harmonic loss factor than the analytical method. The reason is that in the analytical method the eddy current losses are assumed proportional to the square of the harmonic orders. This represents a slightly conservative result. The permissible peak rms current of the transformer based on Eq. (10) is
I
max
(
pu
)
=
1
+
0.142
1
+
(2.37)(0.142)
1 / 2
= 0.9243
I
max ^{=}
0.9243
^{×}
72
^{=}
66.54 A
The equivalent kVA of the transformer is
0.9243× 50 = 46.21 kVA
The results of two analytical and FE methods have been compared in Table 7. The comparison shows that the predicted values using the analytical and FE methods are close, and although the recommended kVA of the transformer based on the analytical method is slightly conservative, it is a reasonable estimation of the derating of the transformer for nonlinear loads.
Iranian Journal of Science & Technology, Volume 28, Number B3
June 2004
Derating of distribution transformers for nonsinusoidal…
321
Table 7. Comparison of calculated equivalent kVA transformer using analytical and FE methods
Analytical 
FEM 

I _{m}_{a}_{x} (A) 
65.32 
66.54 
kVA 
45.36 
46.21 
5. CONCLUSIONS
Effects of nonlinear loads upon transformer losses based on the conventional method, have been studied for a derating purpose. An FE method has been used to estimate the load losses of a threephase 50 kVA distribution transformer at sinusoidal and nonsinusoidal loads. The harmonic losses factor has been computed in order to evaluate the equivalent kVA of the transformer for supplying nonlinear loads. The estimated kVA of the transformer has been compared to that calculated by the available standard method. A summary of the results is as follows:
1. The most significant effect of nonlinear loads upon the transformer is due to the winding eddy current losses and load losses.
2. An increase in the transformer losses under nonsinusoidal loads leads to early fatigue of insulation, premature failure and a reduction in the useful life of a transformer. The kVA of the transformer must therefore be reduced under nonsinusoidal loads.
3. The assumption of an increase in the winding eddy current losses with the square of the frequency in the analytical methods and the available standards is somehow less accurate.
4. The existing standard for derating a transformer provides a slightly conservative estimate of the derating of the transformer under nonlinear loads.
5. The FE method as a very precise method for transformer loss calculation under linear and nonlinear losses, and can be used for the final stage of the derating of a transformer.
Acknowledgment The authors thank the Azarbaijan Regional Electricity Company, Tabriz, Iran for financial support of the project.
NOMENCLATURES
F _{h}
H harmonic order
I
I
I
I
P
P
P
P
P P _{T} , P _{c} , P _{L}
ratio of harmonic number h to fundamental component at nominal frequency
rms load current in A rms current of LV winding in A rms value of the hth harmonic current rms value of sinusoidal load current at rated frequency in A eddy current losses of winding in W max. density of winding eddy current losses under rated conditions rated eddy current losses of winding in W max. density of load losses under rated conditions stray losses in W transformer, core and load losses in W
_{2}
_{h}
_{R}
_{E}_{C}
_{E}_{C}_{}_{R}
_{E}_{C}_{}_{R}
_{L}_{L}_{}_{R}
_{S}_{L}
R 
DC resistance in Ω 
R _{2} 
DC resistance of LV winding in Ω 
REFERENCES
1. Kline, A. D. (1981). Transformer in SCR converter circuits. Conference Records of 1981 IEEE Industry Application Annual Meeting, 456458.
2. IEEE recommended practice for establishing transformer capability when supplying nonsinusoidal load currents (1986). ANSI/IEEE Standard C57, 110.
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Iranian Journal of Science & Technology, Volume 28, Number B3
322 
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3. 
Kerszenbaum, I. (1991). Specifying drytype distribution transformers for solidstate applications. IEEE Trans. on Industry Applications, 27(1), 173178. 
4. 
Massey, G. M., (1994). Estimation methods for power system harmonic effects on power distribution transformers. IEEE Trans. on Industry Applications, 30(2), 485489. 
5. 
Pieree, L. W. (1996). Transformer design and application considerations for nonsinusoidal load currents. IEEE Trans. on Industry Applications, 32(3), 633645. 
6. 
Bishop, M., Baranowki, J., Heath, D. & Benna, S. (1996). Evaluating harmonic induced transformer heating. IEEE Trans. on Power Delivery, 11(1), 305311. 
7. 
Hwang, M. D., Grady, W. M. & Sanders, H. W. (1988). Calculation of winding temperatures in distribution transformers subjected to harmonic currents. IEEE Trans. on Power Delivery, 3(3). 
8. 
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9. 
Driesen, J., Belmans, R. & Hameyer, K. (1999). Finite element modeling of thermal contact resistance and insulation layers in electrical machines. Proc. IEEE International Electric Machines and Drives Conference (IEMDC’99), Seattle, Washington, USA, 912.05.99, 222224. 
10. 
IEEE recommended practice for establishing transformer capability when supplying nonsinusoidal load currents (1998). ANSI/IEEE Standard C57, 18.10. 
11. 
Yidirium, D. & Fuches, E. F. (1999). Measured transformer derating and comparison with harmonic loss factor approach. IEEE Trans. on Power Delivery, Paper No. PE084PWRD003. 
12. 
Faiz, J., Sharifian, M. B. B. & Fakheri, S. A. (2001). Research report on effect of non linear loads upon distribution transformers and correction factor estimation for optimal operation of transformerPart I. (in Persian), Azarbaijan Regional Electricity Company, Tabriz, Iran. 
13. 
Driesen, J., Deliege, G., Belmans, R. & Hameyer, K. (2000). Coupled thermomagnetic simulation of a foil winding transformer connected to a nonlinear load. IEEE Trans. On Magnetics, 36(4), 13811385. 
14. 
Driesen, J., Van Craenenbroeck, T., Brouwers, B., Hameyer, K. & Belmans, R. (2000). Practical method to determine additional load losses due to harmonic currents in transformers with wire and foil windings. IEEE PES Winter Meeting 2000, Singapore, 23062311. 
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June 2004
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