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Simulation of VFTO by ATP/EMTP with various arc models

Article · August 2014

DOI: 10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMM.602-605.245


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3 authors, including:

Hang Dai Wei Zhang

University of Wisconsin–Madison Sichuan University


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Simulation of VFTO by ATP/EMTP with Various Arc Models

Dai Hang1, a,Liu Xiaofan2,b and Zhang Weidong3,c *

School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, NCEPU, Beijing, China, 102206
leoholmes@163.com, bliuxiaofanhd@163.com, czwd@ncepu.edu.cn

Keywords: Arc model, digital simulation, ATP/EMTP, VFTO, GIS.

Several arc models representing a disconnector’s closing operation in a 252kV gas insulated
switchgear(GIS) are implemented with a computer program ATP/EMTP to simulate very fast
transient overvoltage(VFTO). Arc models are used as black box models in connection with a test
circuit. Theoretical bases, formulas and realizations of these models are described. Arc models’
parameters are mainly pinpointed by fitting their simulation results with VFTO waveforms measured
in a real 252kV GIS test setup. Comparisons between arc models’ simulation results and
measurement indicate that dynamic arc models based on Cassie and Mayr theories give more realistic
results with particular regard to VFTO’s peak value and frequency spectrum.

Gas insulated switchgear(GIS) has been widely used in modern power systems. During the
opening or closing of disconnectors in high-voltage GIS, arc can arise between gaps of
disconnectors’ electrodes. This often results in very fast transient overvoltage(VFTO). VFTO is
characterized by high peak value and short rise time, and it poses serious threat to the insulation of
GIS and other equipments connected to it. It is of great importance to investigate VFTO.
The most reliable way of studying VFTO is via performing disconnectors’ switching operations in
an operating GIS. However, the cost as well as potential damage of such experiments are very
undesirable. Thus, it is demanded to study VFTO by computer simulation.
In this paper, we have presented several arc models and implement them in simulating VFTO in a
circuit of a real 252kV GIS test setup by the ATP/EMTP computer program.

252kV GIS Test Setup

A 252kV GIS test setup is built to investigate VFTO. Besides arc models, other components in GIS
are also important for VFTO simualtion. Since the composition of GIS produced by different
manufacturers are largely the same, we have referred to the recommendation of CIGRE in modeling
these GIS components[1]. Former works have shown the recommended modeling can give satisfying

Arc Models’ General Explanations and Realization In ATP/EMTP

Black Box Models. Black box arc models are most suitable for network studies[3]. In ATP/EMTP,
black box arc models can be represented by either controlled voltage source or controlled variable
resistance[4]. In this paper, we describe black box arc models as variable resistance, and divide them
into two categories. In one category, arcs are stand-alone. In another, arcs are dynamic.
Realization in ATP/EMTP. Arc models in these two categories are realized by MODELS in the
program. The MODELS can control the TACS(R) resistance. For the stand-alone category, equations
in MODELS control the resistance of the arc. For the other, equations in MODELS, together with the
input voltage across the arc channel, control the resistance.
Since VFTO on the load side is of great interest, we will simulate VFTO on the load side of the GIS.
The whole simulation circuit is shown in Fig. 1.
Figure 1. Simulation circuit of the 252kV GIS test setup.
(the voltage on the load side is denoted as “UL”)

Stand-alone Arc Models

Fixed Value Resistance (Model 1). As has been used in [5], arcs are modeled as a fixed value
resistance in series with an ideal switch. The resistance is set as 2Ω. The simulation result is shown in
Fig. 2(a).
Exponential Time-varying Arc Resistance (Model 2). It is recommended by [2] to represent arcs
during a disconnector’s closing operation as an exponential time-varying resistance in series with a
static resistance.

R=Rf + R0e-t/T, (1)

with Rf=0.5Ω, R0=1012Ω and T=1ns. The simulation result is shown in Fig. 2(b).

Dynamic Arc Models

General Forms. Arc models in this category are based on energy balance theory concerning the
difference between the input energy and the power loss of an arc channel. The most famous and
widely used arc models based on the energy theory are proposed by Cassie and Mayr in the last
Cassie model:

dg c 1 u ⋅ i
= ( − gc ) . (2)
dt τ c U 0 2

Mayr model:

dg m 1 i 2
= ( − gm ) . (3)
dt τ m P0

In Eq. 2 and Eq. 3, g is the conductance of the arc, u, i are the arc voltage and arc current, τ is the
arc’s time constant, U0 is the static arc voltage and P0 is the power loss of the arc channel. Subscripts
c and m denote variables for Cassie model and Mayr model respectively. Arc models in this section
are all derived from these two models.
Cassie-Mayr Series-connected Arc Model (Model 3). Cassie model is suitable for large current and
Mayr model for small current, and there exists difficulty of determining what is “large ” and “small”.
Hence, some scholars proposed to connect these two model in series as[6]

1 1 1
= + . (4)
g gc gm

g is the total conductance of the arc channel. With modified Euler method, we apply Eq. 2, Eq. 3, and
Eq. 4 in the MODELS of ATP/EMTP. The simulation result is shown in Fig. 2(c).
Modified Mayr Arc Model (Model 4). To expand Mayr model in large current region, some
scholars proposed a modified Mayr arc model as[7]

dg 1 i2
= ( − g) , (5)
dt τ ( g ) P( g )

where the time constant and power loss are no longer constant. And P(g)=P0·gß, τ(g)=τ0·gα. The
simulation result is shown in Fig. 2(d).
KEMA Arc Model (Model 5). KEMA arc model is created by KEMA group. It is based on Cassie
and Mayr theories and thousands of measurements. This model is valid in both large and small
currents region. The model comprises three models as

dgi 1 1
= ⋅ gi λi ⋅ ui 2 − gi , =
i 1, 2,3. (6)
dt ∏i τ i τi

The relationship among variables in Eq. 6 and their physical meaning can be found in [8]. The total
resistance of the arc is defined by

1 1 1 1
= + + . (7)
g g1 g 2 g3

The simulation result is shown in Fig. 2(e).

Simulation Results
Time-domain Results. In Fig. 2, simulation results of VFTOs from all arc models discussed earlier
are shown.

150 160
VFTO of Exponential Time-Varying

100 VFTO of Fixed Value Resistance 120

Arc Model Resistance Model
us us
-100 -60
0 2 4 6 8 10 0 2 4 6 8 10
(a) Model 1 (b) Model 2

VFTO of Cassie-Mayr VFTO of Modified Mayr Model

120 120
Series-Connected Arc Model
60 60

0 0

us -60
0 2 4 6 8 10 0 2 4 6 8 10
(c) Model 3 (d) Model 4
120 VFTO of KEMA Arc Model
0 2 4 6 8 10

(e) Model 5 (f) Onsite measurement

Figure 2. VFTO simulation results and measurement at load side(UL)

Peak values of different models’ VFTOs are listed in Table 1.

Table 1 VFTO’s peak value

Arc Models/Measurement Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Measurement
Peak value of VFTO [p.u.] 0.766 0.607 0.614 0.550 0.648 0.641

From Table 1 we can see that VFTOs’ peak values given by Model 2 to 5 are in good agreement with
measurement, while the result of Model 1 deviates noticeably from measurement. Analysis of each
model reveal that arc resistances of Model 2 to 5 all start from a large value(greater than 1×108Ω).
However, arc resistance of Model 1 remains 2Ω during the whole simulation process. Since a larger
arc resistance is more effective in suppressing VFTO’s amplitude, Model 1 with smaller arc
resistance consequently has higher peak value[9].
Frequency Analysis. The Fourier Transform in ATP/EMTP cannot get detailed information of the
frequency distribution of VFTO. Therefore, we first convert the pl4. format file of ATP/EMTP to
MAT. format file of MATLAB, and then use Fast Fourier transform to analyze VFTO. The dominant
frequency distribution results are shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Dominant frequency distributions of VFTO

Arc models/ Dominant frequency distributions of VFTO
Measurement [MHz]
Model 1 4.40 20.60 27.70 41.80 49.20 128.4 214.0
Model 2 4.25 20.00 27.80 41.70 95.30
Model 3 2.55 13.80 20.90 106.5
Model 4 4.70 12.00 20.20 27.60 41.65 49.00
Model 5 3.16 6.00 8.40 12.55 28.50
Measurement 3.75 14.38 27.88 44.06

From Table 2, we can see that VFTOs of Model 3 to 5 and measurement have same dominant
frequencies (nearly 13.0MHz and 28.0MHz), while VFTOs of Model 1 and 2 have no dominant
frequency near 13.0MHz. Since dominant frequencies between 10~30MHz are the most important
part of VFTO[10], we conclude that simulation results of Model 3 to 5 are more realistic than those of
Model 1 and 2.
However, we also find different dominant frequency distributions among Model 3 to 5, and
remarkable difference can be seen in Model 5, whose dominant frequencies are all below 30MHz.
This may be the result of unreasonable settings for the model’s parameters.

Several black box arc models were developed in the ATP/EMTP computer program to simulate
VFTO of a 252kV GIS. An advantage of representing arcs as black box models is that they can be
easily connected with test circuit and demand few understandings of arcs’ complex underlying
process. Comparisons between arc models’ simulation results and onsite measurement show that
dynamic arc models based on Cassie and Mayr theories can give more reasonable results concerning
VFTO’s peak value and frequency spectrum than the fixed resistance arc model or the exponential
time-varying resistance arc model.
Nevertheless, parameters of dynamic arc models are hard to pinpoint. Developments and evaluations
of these dynamic arc models actually require knowledge of arcing’s physical process and a strong
reliance on comparing their simulation results with measurement. Thus, dynamic arc models in this
paper can be classified as black box arc models only when they are used in an electric circuit. Also,
the applicability of these arc models’ parameters to simulate VFTOs of other GIS need to be further

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