• Pietro Martini

Student thesis: Phd


Power industries in transmission and distribution level are obligated to maintain and replace their electrical equipment. Maintaining the quality and continuity of supply is their priority to avoid customers' complaints and financial penalisation. Live-line working as one of the most important methods of maintenance has been used since the 1900s where the new methods in 1960s made the live-line workers enabled to work on the higher voltage levels up to 800kV. Various industries adopt different techniques to calculate the minimum approach distance (MAD) during the live-line work. A suitable method reduces the risk to live-line workers and provides adequate safety distances between the live parts and linesmen. Therefore, setting an appropriate safety distance between the linesmen and live parts ensures the safety of the workers and minimise the risk of flashover.In this thesis, different methods of calculation of the minimum approach distance are described, and results from overvoltage simulations are used as an input to the methodology outlined in IEC 61472. Also, this thesis highlights and investigates the impact of a range of factors within 400kV transmission line on the minimum approach distance (MAD). Factors examined include the time to crest of the overvoltage (wave shape), the fault type, the probability of occurrence of each type of fault, fault level and the type of overhead line and towers. Furthermore, the minimum approach distances and also associated risk due to each factor and scenario have been calculated. The calculated risk in this thesis presents the risk of failure of a gap against the switching overvoltages due to the simulation of sources of overvoltage. A new set of estimated equations is developed to consider the influence of wave shape in the calculation of the minimum approach distance (MAD). This thesis does not propose a method to replace the international standards, but it could be used in many situations including where utility companies wish to develop a complete understanding of the risk associated with live-line working. Calculation of the minimum approach distance (MAD) within the National Grid UK is based on the methodology described in the IEC 61472, whereas EDF Energy uses the IEEE method to calculate the minimum approach distance. The choice of a smaller / larger minimum approach distance (MAD) using different methods will have an impact on the risk associated with live-line working. Previous works intend to investigate the magnitude of switching overvoltages on one part of a network and calculate the appropriate minimum approach distance for the work in that section.This work is based on the examination of the switching overvoltages under the worst case scenarios. As a result, the simulated overvoltages in this work are higher than expected overvoltages in National Grid network. Also as in practice, the magnitude of switching overvoltages in National Grid network is controlled by different protections equipment therefore, the simulated results and the calculated minimum approach distances in this work are very conservative.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIan Cotton (Supervisor) & Kostas Kopsidas (Supervisor)


  • Risk of Flashover

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