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Bolted Busbar Connections with Longitudinal Slots


RAINA TZENEVA1, YANKO SLAVTCHEV2, NIKOS MASTORAKIS3, VALERI MLADENOV4 1 Department of Electrical Apparatuses, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Sofia 8, Kliment Ohridski St, Sofia-1000, BULGARIA; e-mail: tzeneva@tu-sofia.bg 2 Department of Logistics and Materials Handling, Technical University of Sofia 8, Kliment Ohridski St, Sofia-1000, BULGARIA; e-mail: blamail@abv.bg 3 Military Institutions of University Education, Hellenic Naval Academy, Terma Matzikyriakou, 18539, Piraeus, GREECE; e-mail: mastor@wseas.org 4 Department of Theoretical Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Automatics, Technical University of Sofia 8, Kliment Ohridski St, Sofia-1000, BULGARIA; e-mail: valerim@tu-sofia.bg
Abstract: - Various cases of high power bolted busbar connections are investigated. The busbars are shaped by one or three longitudinal slots in order to increase the real contact area and to improve the reliability of performance. Finite element (FE) models are generated to analyze the contact pressure and penetration of the contacting busbars. A certain raise in contact pressure P and contact penetration within the busbar interface for the new cases is observed. Key-Words: - Bolted busbar high power connections, Contact pressure, Contact penetration, Longitudinal slots.

1 Introduction
Reliable joints in copper and aluminium busbar conductors can be obtained easily by bolting. Bolted joints are compact and efficient but have a somewhat more uneven contact pressure compared to clamped plate joints. A review of factors that affect the connector performance and detailed analysis of the degradation mechanisms of power connections is given in [1] and[2]. There are two major factors that affect the reliability of a power joint. The first one includes the connection design and material properties. The second one is the environmental influence on the joint.

the contact area. In other words, if slots are cut in the busbars, as shown in Fig.1, the actual surface area of a joint could be increased by 1.5 to 1.7 times the area of a joint whose busbars have no slots. The contact resistance of joint configuration with slots (b) is 30-40% lower than that of (a) and is mechanically and electrically more stable when subjected to current cycling test [4], [5]. The beneficial effect of sectioning the busbar is attributed to a uniform contact pressure distribution under the bolt, which in turn creates a larger contact area.
100 100

2 Theoretical background
It is well known that real contact surfaces are not flat and when contact is made between two metals, localized metallic contacts appear. As the contact force increases, the number and the area of these small metal-to-metal contact spots increases accordingly. These spots, termed -spots, are small cold welds, ensuring the only conducting paths for the transfer of electrical current. The real contact area, also named conducting area, is a fraction of the apparent contact area, determined by the dimensions of the contact parts. Generally it is smaller than 1%. From these simple considerations it is clear that one of the most important requirements for good connector performance is that the real area of the contact be sufficiently large. In order to increase the real contact area, Boychenko and Dzektser [3] have shown that changing the connection design can be equally effective in increasing
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Ac

Ac

a)

b)

Fig.1 Effect of making a longitudinal slot in the overlapping busbar joint This idea is developed by M. Braunovic [4]. Fig. 2 depicts typical high voltage 700 kV power connectors used for connections of stranded conductors and for connecting a variety of power equipment at the substation site. These connectors are made of two parts:

ISSN: 1792-4227

44

ISBN: 978-960-474-198-4

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keeper and current-carrying member comprised of a grooved section and flat end (pad, tongue). The conductor is secured in the groves by either highstrength aluminum (7075 grade) or steel bolts. The keeper and the current-carrying part are made of cast or wrought aluminum.

a)

distribution under the bolts in the sectioned joint segments and significantly lower tendency to misalignment. The behavior of these connectors is investigated in [5]. The new design of high power bolted busbar connectors, with one or two longitudinal slots 4 mm wide and 72mm long, raises the max contact pressure by 21% for the one slot connector and by 11.6% for the two slotted connector. The max contact penetration goes as high as 20.7% for the connector with two sectors and 15.7% for the one with three sectors. Therefore, the true area of metal to metal contact is maximized within the electrical interface, which reduces contact resistance and makes the performance of the new connectors design a more efficient one. Longitudinal slots for bolted busbar connections are also proposed in [6] and the shapes are illustrated in Fig. 3.

a)

b)

Fig.2 New connector design; a) the keeper is sectioned into two or b) three segments by longitudinal slots In the case of an old connector design, the keeper is made of a solid block of cast aluminum while in the new connector design; the keeper is sectioned into two - Fig. 2a or three Fig.2b segments. Numerous reports from the field showed that in the old connector design, contact resistance between the current-carrying part and conductor was unstable and often lead to unacceptable overheating of the entire joint. This was associated with the inability of a relatively large and rigid keeper to maintain a good contact between the conductor and current-carrying part of a connector. Sectioning the keeper mitigated the problem and significantly improved both mechanical and electrical joint stability. Beneficial effect of sectioning was associated with a more uniform stress distribution between the keeper and conductor that assured a larger contact area at the conductor-connector current carrying interface. Results of contact resistance measurements show clearly that the electrical and mechanical integrities of bolted high-power connectors can be significantly improved by sectioning, that is cutting longitudinal slots into the current carrying parts (pads). The observed improvement was associated with a more uniform stress
b)

c)

Fig.3 Longitudinal slots in a) straight joints b) angle joints c) and T-joints

3 Modeling bolted busbar connections with longitudinal slots


This paper discusses how introducing longitudinal slots to high power bolted busbar connections [6] changes the contact pressure and contact penetration within the busbar interface. Slots influence on the true contact area and contact resistance is conferred as well. The connections, mentioned above, are of new design, i.e.

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the sectioned busbars have two and eight bolt holes. The busbars are modified by cutting slots 2 mm wide and 80mm long as shown in Fig.3. Bolt hole diameter is 13.2mm for the 12.7mm bolt diameters. Busbars are made of copper and are 10mm and 20mm thick. The behavior of these connections is compared to the behavior of the same connections but with busbars of no slots. The mechanical changes, associated with the contact penetration depth and the contact pressure, in the contact area between two busbars in a bolted busbar connection are studied by the help of the FEA tool ANSYS Workbench. If a higher contact penetration increases -spots both in numbers and dimensions, which in turn, expand the true contact area and decrease contact resistance, then a new design could be introduced for this connection. Typical bolted busbar connections with longitudinal slots are shown in Fig. 4.

a)

b)

c) Fig.4 Bolted busbar connections with longitudinal slotsa) straight joint with 3 slots, b) angle joint with 3 slots and c) T-joint with 1 slot

The investigated assembly consists of: Copper busbars (Youngs modulus = 1.1.1011Pa, Poissons ratio = 0.34, width 80, 100 and 160mm, height 10 and 20mm, length 250mm, busbars overlap 80mm with 2 or 8 holes of 13.2mm Fasteners: bolts Hex Finished Bolt_AI HFBOLT 0.5-20-3-1.25-N, steel E = 2.1011Pa, = 0.3; nuts Heavy Hex Nut_AIHHNUT 0.5000-13-D-N, steel E = 2.1011Pa, = 0.3; washers Flat Washer Type A Wide_AI- FW 0.5, steel E = 2.1011Pa, = 0.3. Tension in each bolt F = 12559N. Models are studied for contact pressure P[Pa] and penetration [m] within the busbars electrical interface. The aspect of model meshing is distinguished as a key phase for proper analysis of the problem. This is because on the one hand it is an established certainty that the reason for the good quality of physical space triangulation is closely related to the consistent mapping between parametric and physical space. On the other hand a properly meshed model will present a fairly close-to-reality detailed picture of stress distributions which is a hard task for analytical solution and is usually an averaged value. The meshed model incorporates the following elements: 10-Node Quadratic Tetrahedron, 20-Node Quadratic Hexahedron and 20-Node Quadratic Wedge. Contacts are meshed with Quadratic Quadrilateral (or Triangular) Contact and Target elements. The 10-Node Quadratic Tetrahedron element is the basic mesh constituent. It is defined by 10 nodes with corresponding x, y and z translations and is recognized as well suited to mesh irregular geometries especially the ones produced by CAD systems like Solid Works, the CAD-system employed here. The 20-Node Quadratic Hexahedron and Wedge type elements are used for meshing the washers. Like the previously described element, this one possesses the same features but offers 20 nodes that allow any spatial orientation. It is assumed that using it to mesh the washers guarantees full transfer of washer deformations and loading to the busbars, the primary researched target. Contacting between the 3-D surfaces is modeled by the Quadratic Quadrilateral (or Triangular) contact element. With an 8-node surface-to-surface contact capability and taking the same parameters as the solid element to which it is connected, this contact element is given the presumed behavior of the contact region. Busbars are selected to be in a rough type contact that ensures a theoretically full area contact with no initial penetrations. The contact assumes no sliding and accounts for nonlinear contact behavior i.e. allows for separations due to changes in the load.

ISSN: 1792-4227

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ISBN: 978-960-474-198-4

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The researched quantity is the percent enlargement of the busbar contact area with higher penetration so as to compare the new and old (no slots or classical) cases. The Quadratic Quadrilateral (or Triangular) target segment element associates with the corresponding contact element and is used due to the 3-D behavior it offers. Fig.5 shows the contact penetration for angle joint connection with 3 slots and Fig. 6 penetration for Tjoint with 1 slot.

Table 1 Comparison of P max and max for straight joints with and without slots no slots 1 slot no slots 3 slots P max, Pa 2.743e7 3.155e7 1.453e7 1.758e7 % 100 115.4 100 121.6 max, m 7.439e-8 8.481e-8 8.576e-8 9.434e-8 % 100 114.1 100 110.13 The max contact pressure P max and penetration max values for angle joints with and without slots are compared and listed in Table 2. Table 2 Comparison of P max and max for angle joints with and without slots no slots 1 slot no slots 3 slots P max, Pa 2.918e7 3.356e7 1.502e7 1.758e7 % 100 115.2 100 117.6 max, m 8.206e-8 9.519e-8 7.471e-8 8.218e-8 % 100 115.9 100 110.3 Table 3 shows the comparison between the max values of the contact pressure P max and contact penetration max for T- joints with and without slots. Table 3 Comparison of P max and max for T- joints with and without slots no slots 1 slot no slots 3 slots P max, Pa 2.843e7 3.326e7 2.111e7 2.512e7 % 100 117.1 100 119.6 max, m 8.398e-8 9.49e-8 6.891e-8 8.063e-8 % 100 112.9 100 116.9

Fig.5 Contact penetration for angle joint connection with 3 slots

4 Discussion and conclusions


As summarized in Table 1, the new design of high power bolted busbar connections of straight joint, with one or three longitudinal slots 2 mm wide and 80mm long boosts the max contact pressure by 15.4% for the connector with one slot and by 21.6% for the three slotted connection. The max contact penetration increases with 14.1% for the connector with two sectors and with 10.13% for the one with four sectors. Similar results, generalized in Table 2 are obtained for the angle joint connections. The max contact pressure for the connection with one slot is 15.2% higher and for connection with 3 slots the value is 17.6%. The max contact penetration is increased with 15.9% for connection with 2 sectors and with 10.3% for the 4 sector connection. The data in Table 3, for T-joint connections, show that the max contact pressure for connection with 1 slot increases with 17.1% and for the connection with 3 slots with 19.6%. The max contact penetration is 12.9%

Fig.6 Contact penetration for T-joint connection with 1 slot All the cases have been evaluated by comparing the max values of pressure and penetration for each one of them. Table 1 shows the comparison between the max values of the contact pressure P max and contact penetration max for straight joints with and without slots.

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ISBN: 978-960-474-198-4

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higher for connection with 1 slot and for connection with 3 slots it is 16.9% higher. Therefore, the true area of metal to metal contact for the 3 investigated joints of connections with longitudinal slots is maximized within the electrical interface and that leads to reduced contact resistance and more efficient performance of the connectors. Additionally a comparative investigation was carried out where not only one but both busbars from the connection were slotted with longitudinal slots. It was established that these slots increase insignificantly the contact pressure and penetration and therefore the true contact area. The idea of introducing slots in high power bolted busbar connections is additionally developed in 3 new designs, where the slots are part of the bolt holes: slotted bolt holes - design S, slotted bolt holes, ending with small holes design SH and groups of small holes around the bolt holes design G. In all of these cases the contact pressure and contact penetration is about 50% higher and the experimentally proved reduction of contact resistance is significant as provided by [7], [8], [9], [10], [11] and [12].

References: [1] P. Slade, M. Dekker. Electrical Contacts, Boston, MA:IIT, 1999, p.155 [2] R. S. Timsit, The Technology of High Power Connections: A Review, 20-th International Conference on Electrical Contacts, Zurich, Switzerland, p. 526, 2002. [3] V. I. Boychenko, N. N. Dzektser, Busbar Connections, Energia, 1978 (in Russian). [4] M. Braunovic, Effect of Connection Design on the Contact Resistance of High Power Overlapping Bolted Joints, IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, vol. 25, Issue 4, pp. 642-650, Dec. 2002.

[5] R. Tzeneva, Investigation of High Power Bolted Busbar Connectors with Longitudinal Slots, Twelfth International Conference on Electric Machines, Drives and Power Systems ELMA 2008, October 16 18 2008, Sofia, Bulgaria, Proceedings, pp. 354358. [6] Asea Brown Boveri Switchgear Manual, ABB Calor Emag Schaltanlagen AG, Mannheim, Germany, 1996 [7] R. Tzeneva, P. Dineff and Y. Slavtchev, Bolted Busbar connections, XIV-th International Symposium on Electrical Apparatus and Technologies SIELA2005, 2-4 June2005, Proceedings of papers, vol. I, pp. 207-211, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2005. [8] R. Tzeneva, Y. Slavtchev, N. Mastorakis and V. Mladenov, Bolted Busbar connections with Slotted Bolt Holes, WSEAS Transactions on Circuits and Systems, Issue 7, vol. 5, pp. 1021-1027, July 2006. [9] R. Tzeneva, P. Dineff, Bolted Busbar Connections with Particularly Slotted Bolt Holes, Proceedings of the XLI International Conference on Information, Communication and Energy Systems and Technologies ICEST06, pp. 371-374, 29-th June01-st July, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2006. [10] R. Tzeneva, Electric Field Distribution in Perforated Bolted Busbar Connections, XV-th International Sympozium on Electrical Apparatus and Technologies SIELA2007, vol. I, pp. 91-96, 31 May-1June 2007, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2007 [11] R. Tzeneva, Y. Slavtchev and V. Mladenov, New Connection Design of High Power Bolted Busbar Connections, Volume 1 of the Proceedings of the 11-th WSEAS International Multiconference CSCC (Circuits, Systems, Communications, Computers), Agios Nikolaos, Crete Island, Greece, July 23-28, 2007, pp. 227-232 [12] R. Tzeneva, Y. Slavtchev, N. Mastorakis and V. Mladenov, Experimental Investigation of Contact Resistance of Slotted and Perforated Bolted Busbar Connections, Proceedings of the 12th WSEAS International Conference on Circuits, Heraklion, Greece, July 22-24, 2008, pp. 142-146

ISSN: 1792-4227

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ISBN: 978-960-474-198-4