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Experiment 01

Introduction to Protective Relays

Aim: To study basic terminology of protective relays
Need of power system protection:
Inspite of all necessary precautions taken in the design and installations of power systems, they
do encounter abnormal conditions or faults. These faults or abnormal conditions can be
extremely damaging for not only the faulty component but to the neighboring components and to
the overall power-system network. Protection means to isolate the faulty section quickly without
disturbing the operation of the rest of the system.
Types of faults
The flow of current to the undesired path and abnormal stoppage of current are termed as faults.
These faults are classified as:
(a) Symmetrical (balanced) faults and
(b) Asymmetrical (unbalanced) faults
Symmetrical faults are those faults which involve all the three phases
Triple (L-L-L) and triple-line to ground (L-L-L-g) faults are symmetrical faults.
The faults involving only one or two phases are categorized as asymmetrical or unbalanced
faults, Single line to ground (L-g), double line to ground (L-L-g) faults are asymmetrical faults.
Causes of faults
A symmetrical triple line to ground fault can occur in case of switching ON of a circuit breaker
when the earthing switch is inadvertently kept ON. Two phases can be bridged together either in
the machines or in the transformer because of failure of insulation between phases, particularly
when conductors of different phases are in the same slot of a stator of a machine. In transmission
lines, two phase wires may get shorted together by birds, kite strings or tree limbs. Moreover, in
monsoon, the tow phase conductors may swing due to winds and storms. Also, the dielectric
strength of air reduces in monsoon. When the distance between these conductors is reduced due
to swinging, a power-arc may occur between them causing a line-to-line fault. A line-to-ground
fault can occur in machines and transformer too.
Consequences of the faults?
The damage caused by faults is of two kinds: (i) thermal damage, and (ii) electrodynamics
damage to the electrical equipment. Fault current ranging from approximately two times to about
8-10 times the rated full load current (Continuous Maximum Rating CMR) of the equipment to
be protected will heat the conductor and hence the insulation around it. The equilibrium
temperature thus reached exceeds the temperature withstand value of the insulation used. The
insulation will thermally breakdown resulting into another fault if remedial steps are not taken.
This is known as thermal breakdown. When fault current exceeds 8-10 times the full-load

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rating of the equipment, the repelling forces generated due to this large current would reshape
and destruct the whole equipment structurally. This is called electrodynamic damage.
During certain situations, a power system behaves abnormally. Some of these abnormalities in a
generator are unbalanced loading, field failure, overloading, overvoltage, prime-mover failure,
pole-slipping, etc. A transformer may behave abnormally due to over-heating or over-fluxing. An
induction motor can run abnormally due to under voltage, overloading, unbalanced loading,
stalling, etc.


Functions of protective relay schemes

Protective relay schemes have to sense a fault and perform the following four broad
To operate the correct circuit breakers so as to disconnect only the faulty equipment from
the system as quickly as possible, thus minimizing the trouble and damage caused by
faults when they do occur.
To operate the correct circuit breaker to isolate the faulty section from the healthy section
in case of abnormalities like overloads, unbalance, under voltage, etc.
To clear the fault before the system becomes unstable
To identify distinctly as to where the fault has occurred.

Basic tripping circuit with system transducers (CT/PTs)

Basic connection of a protective relaying system is shown in Fig. 1.1. Whenever a fault occurs
on a feeder, the current transformer transmits the fault current to current coil of a protective relay.
The relay operates as per its characteristic and its contacts close. The closure of the contact
energizes the coil of an auxiliary relay.

Fig. 1.1 Tripping

circuit relay and
circuit breaker
Fig. 1.2 DC control

The auxiliary
provided for
Firstly, if the
relay contact
is required to carry a high trip coil current, it will be required to be sturdy enough

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and hence the weight of the moving system of the protective relay will increase.
This will reduce its sensitivity. Hence, a protective relay is reserved for only
sensing the fault and the auxiliary relay contact does the function of carrying the
high trip coil current. Secondly, many other functions such as annunciations,
alarms, inter locks, etc., are required to be performed when the relay operates.
This requires many contacts to be simultaneously operated. A multi contact
auxiliary relay does these functions.

On operation of the auxiliary relay, the trip coil of a circuit breaker is energized
and the breaker trips. Thus the faulty section is isolated from the rest of the
healthy system.

The following definitions include terminology and nomenclature in common use in the
relay industry. They have been compiled using information from the IEEE and the
National Association of Relay Manufacturers. In instances where different terms are
used synonymously, one has been defined and others have been cross-referenced to it.
When the phrase "sometimes used for" is employed, a preference is implied for the
terminology following the phrase, when "same as" is used; no strong preference is
All-or-nothing relay. - An electrical relay, which is intended to be energized by a
quantity whose value is either, higher than that at which it picks up or lower than
that at which it drops out.
Ampere-Turns. -The product of the number of turns in a magnetic coil and the
rms current in amperes passing through the coil.
Armature. - Hinged or pivoted moving part of the magnetic circuit of an
electromagnetic relay. Sometimes used in a general sense to means any moving
part which actuates contacts in response to a change in coil current.
Armature Contact. - Sometimes used for Movable Contact.
Armature Relay. - A relay operated by an electromagnet which, when energized,
causes an armature to be attracted to a fixed pole (or poles).
Auxiliary Relay. - A relay, which operates in response to opening and closing of
its operating circuit to assist another relay or device in performance of a function.
for example a measuring relay, for the purpose of providing higher rated contacts
or introducing a time delay.
Backstop. - The part of a relay, which limits movement of the armature away from
the pole piece or core.
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Backup Relaying. - Supplementary relaying designed to operate if a primary relay

should malfunction or a circuit breaker fails to operate. Backup relaying usually
disconnects more of the power system than just the part with the faulty element
as this is necessary in order to remove the abnormal condition and to minimize
effect on the remainder of the system.
Back-up protection. - A protective system intended to supplement the main
protection in case the latter should be ineffective, or to deal with faults in those
parts of the power system that are not readily included in the operating zones of
the main protection.
Biased relay. - A relay in which the characteristics are modified by the
introduction of some quantity other than the actuating quantity, and which is
usually in opposition to the actuating quantity
Break-before-make Contacts. - Contacts which interrupt one circuit before
establishing another.
Burden. - The loading imposed by the circuits of the relay on the energizing
power source or sources, expressed as the product of voltage and current (voltamperes, or watts if d.c.) for a given condition, which may be either at setting or
at rated current or voltage. The rated output of measuring transformers,
expressed in VA, is always at rated currant or voltage and it is important, in
assessing the burden imposed by a relay. to ensure that the value of burden at
rated current is used.
Characteristic angle.- The angle between the vectors representing two of the
energizing quantities applied to a relay and used for the declaration of the
performance of the relay.
Characteristic curve.- The curve showing the operating value of the characteristic
quantity corresponding to various values or combinations of the energizing
Characteristic quantity.- A quantity, the value of which characterizes the operation
of the relay, for example, current for an over current relay voltage for a voltage
relay, phase angle for a directional relay, time for an independent time delay
relay, impedance for an impedance relay.
Characteristic impedance ratio (C.I.R.).- The maximum value of the System
Impedance Ratio up to which the relay performance remains within the
prescribed limits of accuracy

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Chatter. - A sustained rapid opening and closing of contacts caused by variations

in the coil current, mechanical vibration and shock or other causes.

Power System Protection - 170903