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# Notes 5: Symmetrical Components

5.0 Introduction
When performing steady-state analysis of
high voltage transmission systems, we make
use of the per-phase equivalent circuit.
For distribution systems, however, there are
two major impediments to using per-phase
equivalent circuits for steady-state analysis.
These impediments are
!. The flows are not balanced.
". The mechanical design of the conductors
is asymmetric.
The meaning of #" needs some elaboration.
\$ symmetric mechanical design is one in
which each phase conductor sees e%actly the
same inductive effects as every other
conductor comprising the circuit. The
equilateral configuration, shown in Fig. !, is
a symmetric mechanical design.
!
Fig. ! &quilateral 'onfiguration
(ecause of many different influences on
design of conductor configuration )e.g., cost
of right-of-way, clearance between phases,
costs and strength of tower*pole and
corresponding supports, etc.+, the equilateral
configuration is not often utili,ed.
-onetheless, it is possible to achieve the
effect on inductance of a symmetric design
by transposing the conductors so that each
conductor resides in the same physical
location for !*. the total length of the line.
/et, transposition costs money, and because
distribution systems typically operate
unbalanced anyway, it is usually not done
for distribution feeders.
"
The effect of asymmetry is often ignored,
however, and analysis is done on the feeder
assuming the design is symmetric. \$lthough
this approach does incur error, it is common
because the alternative is more laborious.
0n that case, we have only the problem of
There is a very elegant approach available
for analy,ing symmetric three-phase circuits
that are unbalanced. The approach was
developed by a man named 'harles
Fortescue and reported in a famous paper in
!1!2. 0t is now called the method of
symmetrical components. We will spend a
little time studying this method before we
move on to a more general method.
.
5.1 Symmetrical Components: Motivation
3ef \$ symmetrical set of phasors have
equal magnitude 4 are !"56 out of phase.
7oal 3ecompose a set of three
unsymmetrical phasors into
8ne unsymmetric but equal set
Two symmetrical sets
Then we can analy,e each set individually.
0n what follows, we will illustrate that
Step 1 \$ unsymmetrical set, not summing
to 5, can be decomposed into two
unsymmetrical sets
oan 9equal: set and an
ounsymmetrical set that does sum to 5;
Step 2 \$n unsymmetrical set that sums to
5 can be decomposed into two
symmetrical sets
<
Step 1 'onsider a set of phasors that do not
add to ,ero )because of different magnitudes
or because of angular separation different
than !"56 or because of both+. \$ssume that
they have phase sequence a-b-c.
\$dd them up, as in Fig. ", i.e.,
c b a R
V V V V + + =
5
)!+

a-b-c

=
c
=
b
=
a

=
>
5
=
c
=
b
=
a
a-b-c

Fig. " \$ddition of ?nsymmetrical @hasors
Ao we see from )!+ that
5
5
= + +
R c b a
V V V V
)"+
3efine
5
5
.
!
R
V V =
).+
Then
5 .
5
= + + V V V V
c b a
)<+
( ) ( ) ( ) 5
5 5 5
= + + V V V V V V
c b a
)B+
B
3efine
( )
( )
( )
5
5
5
V V V
V V V
V V V
c C
b B
a A
=
=
=
)C+
Then
5 = + +
C C A
V V V
)D+
'onclusion We obtain an unsymmetrical set
of voltages that sum to 5 by subtracting =
5
from each original phasor, where =
5
is !*. of
the resultant phasor, illustrated in Fig. ..

=
'
=
(
=
\$

=
>
5
=
c
=
b
=
a
a-b-c

-=
5
E-=
>
5
*.
Fig. . Aubtracting =
5
from unsymmetrical
phasors
Step 2 Fow to decompose =
\$
, =
(
, and =
'
into two symmetrical setsG
'an we decompose =
\$
, =
(
, =
'
into " a-b-c
symmetrical setsG
C
\$s a test, try to add any " a-b-c symmetrical
sets and see what you get. Aee Fig. <.

a-b-c

=
c!
=
b!
=
a!

a-b-c

=
c"
=
b"
=
a"

=
'
=
(
=
\$
=
c"
=
b"
=
a"
a-b-c

=
c!
=
b!
=
a!
Fig. < \$dding " symmetrical a-b-c sets
-ote that in adding the " phasor sets, we add
the two a-phase phasors, the two b-phase
phasors, and the two c-phase phasors.
D
8ne can observe from Fig. < that the
resultant phasor set, denoted by the solid
lines, are in fact symmetricalH
0n fact, it is possible to prove
mathematically that the sum of any " a-b-c
symmetrical sets is always another
symmetrical set.
IetJs try a different thing. IetJs try to add
two symmetrical sets, but letJs have one be
a-b-c )called positive sequence+ and another
be a-c-b )called negative sequence+.
\$s before, in adding the " phasor sets, we
add the two a-phase phasors, the two b-
phase phasors, and the two c-phase phasors.
The result of our efforts in shown in Fig. B.
2

a-b-c

=
c!
=
b!
=
a!

a-c-b

=
b"
=
c"
=
a"

=
'
=
(
=
b"
=
c"
=
a"
a-c-b

=
c!
=
b!
=
a!
=
\$
Fig. B \$dding a symmetrical a-b-c set to a
symmetrical a-c-b set
The resultant phasor set is unsymmetricalH
We can guarantee that these unsmmetrical
phasors sum to ,ero, since we just added
two phasor sets that sum to ,ero, i.e.,
1
=
a!
K=
b!
K=
c!
E5
=
a"
K=
b"
K=
c"
E5
------------------- )2+
=
\$
K=
(
K=
'
E5
-ow consider Fig. B again. \$ssume that
someone hands you the unsymmetrical set of
phasors =
\$
, =
(
, and =
'
.
'an you decompose them into the two
symmetrical setsG
'an you be assured that two such
symmetrical sets e%istG
The answer is yes, you can be assured that
two such symmetrical sets e%ist. FortescueJs
paper contains the proof.
0 will simply argue that the three phasors
given in Fig. C, =
\$
, =
'
, and =
'
, are quite
general, with the single e%ception that they
sum to ,ero.
!5
'laim We can represent \$-/
unsymmetrical set of . phasors that sum to 5
as the sum of " constituent symmetrical sets
\$ positive )a-b-c+ sequence set and
\$ negative )a-c-b+ sequence set.
7iven this claim, then the following theorem
holds.
Theorem We can represent \$-/
unsymmetrical set of . phasors as the sum of
. constituent sets, each having . phasors
\$ positive )a-b-c+ sequence set and
\$ negative )a-c-b+ sequence set and
\$n equal set
These three sets we will call, respectively,
@ositive
( )
! ! !
, ,
c b a
V V V
-egative
( )
" " "
, ,
c b a
V V V
,ero
( )
5 5 5
, ,
c b a
V V V
sequence components.
!!
The implication of this theorem that any
unsymmetrical set of . phasors =
a
, =
b
, =
c
can be written in terms of the above
sequence components in the following way
" ! 5
a a a a
V V V V + + =
" ! 5
b b b b
V V V V + + =
)1+
" ! 5
c c c c
V V V V + + =
We can write the equations of )1+ in a more
compact fashion, but first, we must describe
a mathematical operator that is essential.
5.2 The a-operator
To begin on familiar ground, we are all
conversant with the operator 9j: which is
used in comple% numbers.
>emember that 9j: is actually a vector with
a magnitude and an angle
= 15 ! j
)!5+
!"
0n the same way, we are going to define the
9a: operator as
= !"5 ! a
)!!+
0t is easy to show the following relations
= !"5 !
"
a
)!"+
= 5 !
.
a
)!.+
a a = = !"5 !
<
)!<+
We also have that
= = + C5 ! !
"
a a
)!B+
as illustrated in Fig. C
Fig. C 0llustration of !Ka
-ote that
= = C5 ! "<5 !
"
a
)!C+
Aimilarly, we may show that
= = + C5 ! !
"
a a
)!D+
= .5 . ! a
)!2+
!.
= .5 . !
"
a
)!1+
= !B5 . ! a
)"5+
= !B5 . !
"
a
)"!+
\$nd there are many more relations like this
that are sometimes helpful when dealing
with symmetrical components. )Aee the te%t
called 9\$nalysis of faulted power systems:
by @aul \$nderson, pg. !D.+
5. Symmetrical components: the math
We repeat equations )1+ below for
convenience
" ! 5
a a a a
V V V V + + =
" ! 5
b b b b
V V V V + + =
)1+
" ! 5
c c c c
V V V V + + =
We can relate the three different quantities
having the same subscript.
Lero sequence quantities These quantities
are all equal, i.e.,
!<
5 5 5
c b a
V V V = =
)""+
@ositive sequence quantities The relation
between these quantities can be observed
immediately from the phasor diagram and
can be e%pressed using the a-operator.

a-b-c

=
c!
=
b!
=
a!
Fig. D @ositive sequence components
! !
! " !
a c
a b
aV V
V a V
=
=
)".+
-egative sequence quantities The relation
between these quantities can be observed
immediately from the phasor diagram and
can be e%pressed using the a-operator.
!B

a-c-b

=
b"
=
c"
=
a"
Fig. 2 -egative sequence components
" " "
" "
a c
a b
V a V
aV V
=
=
)"<+
-ow letJs use equations )""+, )".+, and )"<+
to e%press the original phasor =
a
, =
b
, =
c
in
terms of only the a-phase components
" ! 5
, ,
a a a
V V V
,
i.e., we will eliminate the b-phase
components
" ! 5
, ,
b b b
V V V
and the c-phase components
" ! 5
, ,
c c c
V V V
!C
This results in
" ! 5
a a a a
V V V V + + =
" ! " 5
a a a b
aV V a V V + + =
)1+
" " ! 5
a a a c
V a aV V V + + =

Ao we have written the abc quantities )phase
quantities+ in terms of the 5!" quantities
)sequence quantities+ of the a-phase. We can
write this in matri% form as

"
!
5
"
"
!
!
! ! !
a
a
a
c
b
a
V
V
V
a a
a a
V
V
V
)"B+
3efining

=
"
"
!
!
! ! !
a a
a a A
)"C+
we see that eq. )"B+ can be written as

"
!
5
a
a
a
c
b
a
V
V
V
A
V
V
V
)"D+
We may also obtain the 5!" )sequence+
quantities from the abc )phase+ quantities

c
b
a
a
a
a
V
V
V
A
V
V
V
!
"
!
5
)"2+
!D
where

a a
a a A
"
" !
!
!
! ! !
.
!
)"1+
&quations ""-"1 hold for
Iine-to-line voltages
Iine-to-neutral voltages
Iine currents
@hase currents
!2