Power system modeling plays a crucial role in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of electrical systems. One particular area of concern in power system analysis is arc flash, a hazardous electrical explosion caused by an electric current passing through the air. Arc flash incidents can lead to severe injuries, fatalities, and significant damage to equipment. Our engineers employ advanced modeling techniques to accurately assess and predict arc flash hazards to mitigate these risks. 

What is Power System Modeling?

Power system modeling is the process of creating virtual representations of electrical systems to simulate their behavior and analyse various operational conditions. It involves developing detailed models of power generation sources, transmission lines, transformers, protective devices, and other components within a power system. These models help engineers understand and predict system performance, assess reliability, and identify potential issues such as voltage drops, fault currents, and arc flash hazards.

Understanding Arc Flash

Arc flash occurs when an electrical current deviates from its intended path, ionizing the surrounding air and creating a highly conductive plasma channel. This explosive release of energy can reach temperatures four times hotter than the surface of the sun, resulting in a rapid expansion of gases, intense light, heat, and sound. The consequences of an arc flash incident can be devastating, causing severe burns, hearing loss, and fatalities, as well as equipment damage and downtime.

Arc Flash Analysis and Modeling

Arc flash analysis involves studying the electrical system and performing calculations to determine the potential incident energy, arc flash boundaries, and necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements. Power system modeling plays a critical role in arc flash analysis by providing a comprehensive understanding of system behavior and identifying potential areas of concern.

The main steps we take when conducting arc flash analysis:

  • Data Collection: Gather detailed information about the electrical system, including generator / transformer specification, conductor details, protective device details.
  • System Modeling: Developing a digital twin of the electrical system using SKM or ETAP software. 
  • Short Circuit Analysis: Determining the magnitude and duration of fault currents that flow during a short circuit event. This analysis is essential and feeds into estimating incident energy levels during an arc flash.
  • Arc Flash Calculations: Using the collected data and system models, we can perform complex calculations to estimate the incident energy and arc flash boundaries at various points within the electrical system. These calculations aid in determining the appropriate PPE requirements for personnel working in the vicinity of potential arc flash hazards.
  • Coordination Study: When performing an arc flash study, protection setting changes will be recommended as part of mitigation; this is performed ensuring selectivity of circuit breakers is maintained. 

If you feel you could benefit from assistance in this area, feel free to reach out, we are happy to discuss this in more detail.

Main Enquiry Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.