Single phase earth faults in high impedance grounded netwotrks: Characteristics, indication and location: Dissertation

Seppo Hänninen

    Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles


    The subject of this thesis is the single phase earth fault in medium voltage distribution networks that are high impedance grounded. Networks are normally radially operated but partially meshed. First, the basic properties of high impedance grounded networks are discussed. Following this, the characteristics of earth faults in distribution networks are determined based on real case recordings. Exploiting these characteristics, new applications for earth fault indication and location are then developed. The characteristics discussed are the clearing of earth faults, arc extinction, arcing faults, fault resistances and transients. Arcing faults made up at least half of all the disturbances, and they were especially predominant in the unearthed network. In the case of arcing faults, typical fault durations are outlined, and the overvoltages measured in different systems are analysed. In the unearthed systems, the maximum currents that allowed for autoextinction were small. Transients appeared in nearly all fault occurrences that caused the action of the circuit breaker. Fault resistances fell into two major categories, one where the fault resistances were below a few hundred ohms and the other where they were of the order of thousands of ohms. Some faults can evolve gradually, for example faults caused by broken pin insulators, snow burden, downed conductor or tree contact. Using a novel application based on the neutral voltage and residual current analysis with the probabilistic method, it is possible to detect and locate resistive earth faults up to a resistance of 220 kW. The main results were also to develop new applications of the transient based differential equation, wavelet and neural network methods for fault distance estimation. The performance of the artificial neural network methods was comparable to that of the conventional algorithms. It was also shown that the neural network, trained by the harmonic components of the neutral voltage transients, is applicable for earth fault distance computation. The benefit of this method is that only one measurement per primary transformer is needed. Regarding only the earth faults with very low fault resistance, the mean error in absolute terms was about 1.0 km for neural network methods and about 2.0 km for the conventional algorithms in staged field tests. The restriction of neural network methods is the huge training process needed because so many different parameters affect the amplitude and frequency of the transient signal. For practical use the conventional methods based on the faulty line impedance calculation proved to be more promising.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor Degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Lehtonen, Matti, Supervisor, External person
    Award date17 Dec 2001
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    Print ISBNs951-38-5960-6
    Electronic ISBNs951-38-5961-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2001
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • power distribution
    • distribution networks
    • earth faults
    • detection
    • positioning
    • fault resistance
    • arching
    • neutral voltage
    • residual current
    • transients


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