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Knee Point Voltage of Current

Transformer PS Class
Current Transformer PS Class
Before understanding Knee Point Voltage of Current Transformer andcurrent transformer PS class we
should recall the terms instrument security factor of CT and accuracy limit factor.

Instrument Security Factor or ISF of Current Transformer

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 100/1 A 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 1.5 100 or 150 A,
whereas is second CT, core will be saturated at 2 100 or 200 A. That means whatever may be the
primary current of both CTs, secondary current will not increase further after 150 & 200 A of
primary current of the CTs respectively. Hence maximum secondary current of the CTs would be 1.5 & 2.0
As the maximum current can flow through the instrument connected to the first CT is 1.5 A which is less
than the maximum value of current can flow through the instrument connected to the second CT i.e. 2 A.
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 Limit Factor or ALF of Current Transformer

For protection current transformer, the ratio of accuracy limits primary current to the rated primary current.
First we will explain, what is rated accuracy limit primary current?.
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
E2 = 4.44fT2
Where, f is the system frequency, is the maximum magnetic flux in Wb. T2 is the number of turns of the
secondary winding. The flux in the core, is produced by excitation current Ie. 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 below.
It is clear from the curve that, linear relation between V & I e is maintained from point A & K. The point A is











of current transformer"



Point Voltage of Current Transformer" class="alignright"/>

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 Vk as well as same excitation current Ie at Vk/2. 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 Vk and excitation current Ie at Vk/2.

Why CT Secondary Should Not Be Kept Open?

The electrical power system load current always flows through current transformer primary; irrespective of

the current transformer








at its


If CT secondary is open circuited, all the primary current will behave as excitation current, which ultimately
produce huge voltage. Every currenttransformer 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 voltageacross 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
thecurrent is 50 Hz). 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 ofvoltage may not be
measured by conventional voltmeter. But these high peaks of inducedvoltage 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.

CT burden, Knee point voltage, core

saturation- Details of current transformer
pplication and choosing of current transformer for metering and protection is an important
and critical task. There are some basic characteristics of conventional current transformer is
to take in to consideration before choosing a current transformer in any application.
This characteristics are Current transformer burden, knee point voltage,

saturation of current transformer. As the current transformer has two windings, in

some cases it is confusing about the load of it. But the fact should be clear that-

The current of primary circuit is the load of a current transformer.

CT or current transformer burden:

CT burden is an impedance of secondary circuit expressed in ohms and power
factor.This power factor is not the power factor of secondary load. CT Burden can be
expressed in two terms- as example

.5 ohm impedance


10 VA at 5A.(British method)- here 5A is rated secondary current and 2Volt

across secondary.

Knee point voltage of Current transformer:

Knee point voltage of a current transformer is the magnitude of secondary of current
transformer. After or beyond this voltage the linearity between primary and
secondary circuit that is the desired property of Current transformer does not work
any more.
In saturation zone -the error in transformation ratio is high, the secondary current
is distorted by saturation. This is called core saturation of current transformer.

Significance of Magnetization or excitation curve for

a Current transformer
A CT has a unique magnetization curve (for a given temperature and frequency).
With the transformation ratio, this characterizes its operation. This magnetization
curve (voltage Vo, magnetizing current function Im) can be divided into 3 zones:

Non-saturated zone: Im is low and the voltage Vo (and therefore Is)

increases virtually proportionately to the primary current.


Intermediary zone: there is no real break in the curve and it is

difficult to situate a precise point corresponding to the saturation voltage.


Saturated zone: the curve becomes virtually horizontal; the error in

transformation ratio is high, the secondary current is distorted by saturation.

Magnitization or excitation curve

for a Current transformers

Current transformer Schematic

I1: primary current.I2 = Kn I1: secondary current for a perfect CT. Is: secondary
current actually fl owing through the circuit. Im: magnetizing current. E: induced

electromotive force. Vo: output voltage.

Lm: magnetization inductance (saturable) equivalent to the CT. Rct: resistance at
the CT secondary. Rwir: resistance of the connection wiring. Rc: load resistance.

Current I2 is a perfect image of the primary current I1 in the transformation ratio.

However, the actual output current (Is) is subject to an error due to the
magnetization current (Im).
I2 = Is + Im if the CT was perfect, we would have Im = 0 and Is = I2.