Sei sulla pagina 1di 28

Introduction

We have now reached the point where we can begin to discuss the
actual design of the electrical system itself.
All electrical systems have the common purpose of providing electrical
energy to the utilization equipment as safely and reliably as
economically possible.
The system must be adequate to deliver to the location of each piece
of equipment the necessary energy on a continuous basis, without any
component overheating or causing unacceptable voltage drops.

Contd
The initial planning of a system involves the preparation of a
one-line diagram showing all the interconnections and basic
components, such as shown below:

Branch Circuits and Feeders


In an electrical system, power must be
transferred from the service equipment to
the lights, machines, and outlets.
An important part of any electrical system is
the electrical wirings that connects all the
components. Regardless of the wiring
methods used, the connecting
wiring/conductors can be divided into three
components:
Service Entrance
Feeders
Brach Circuits

Service Entrance: These are the conductors for delivering energy


from the electric supply system to the premises being served.
These conductors extend from the power company terminals to the
main service disconnect.
The conductors are terminated near their point of entrance into the
building in the service equipment.

The service equipment is the main control and means of cutoff for the
supply.
In the case of a large premise, the electrical power is usually supplied by
the electric utility at medium-voltage level, requiring a transformer to step
down the voltage to the utilization level.

Feeders: These are the conductors for delivering the energy


from the service equipment location to the final branch-circuit
overcurrent device protecting each piece of utilization
equipment.
Main feeders originate at the service equipment location, and
sub-feeders originate at panelboards or distribution centers at other
than the service equipment location.

Branch Circuits: These are the conductors for delivering the


energy from the point of the final overcurrent device to the
utilization equipment.

Contd
The term conductor refers properly to the copper or
aluminum wire that actually carries the electrical
current.
An insulated conductor is one that is encased within
electrical insulation material.
The term cable then refers to the complete wire
assembly including the conductor, the insulation, and any
shielding and/or outer protective covering where used.
Cables can have just a single conductor or they can have
more than one conductor, each separately insulated, but
all enclosed in one overall covering.

This chapter deals in general with the proper selection of


conductors for feeders and circuits.
The selection of the correct size of the conductors for
feeders and branch circuits depends on the following:
1. Continuous current rating
2. Short-circuit current rating
3. Maximum allowable voltage drop

Continuous Current Rating of Conductors


The continuous current of a conductor is reffered to int NEC as
ampacity and is defined as:

the current in amperes a conductor can carry continuously under the conditions of
use without exceeding its temperature rating.

Important factors in determining the ampacity rating of the conductor


the physical characteristics of a cable
the conditions of use under which the cable operates

As current flows in the conductor of the cable, heat is generated because of the
resistance of the the conductor (I2R)
The rate at which heat can be dissipated is not only dependent on the insulating
material of the cable but also on the environment that surrounds the cabel, for
example the air temperature.

The precise calculations to determine the ampacity of a


conductor operating under specific conditions are very
complex.
Fortunately, tables have been prepared that allow us to obtain
this ampacity rating fairly quickly.

Size of Conductor
The size of a conductor is a measure of its cross-sectional area.
There are two methods of indication conductor sizes.

1. The smaller sizes are designated AWG number: the lower the number, the greater
the cross-sectional area (thus a No. 12 conductor is larger than a No. 14). For
general power wiring in a building, the smallest size of copper conductor that can be
used for low-voltage wiring is No. 14( rated for a maximum loading of 15 amperes)
2. Unfortunately, when AWG designation was adopted many years ago, presumably it
was not foreseen that conductors larger than No. 1 would be in common use. For the
next larger size the designation 0 was adopted. Then the next three larger sizes
were designated as 00, 000, and 0000, respectively. It is common practice to
identify these conductor sizes as 1/0, 2/0, 3/0 and 4/0 (pronounced as one-aught,
two aught, and son).

For conductors larger than 4/0, the cross-sectional area in thousands of circular mils (MCM)
is used to designate their size. Thus the next size above 4/0 (211.6 MCM) is 250 MCM.
Note that M is used here to designate 1000. This is not consistent with the SI system, which
uses k for 1000. Thus MCM should be more properly designated kcmil.
A circular mil is the area of a circle that is 1 mil or 1/1000th of an inch in diameter.
The circular mil area of a conductor is then equal to its diameter in mils squared.
Thus a solid conductor, 1 inch (1000 mils ) in diameter, has a circular mil area of 1000 times
1000 or 1000,000, which is designated 1000 MCM. Its area in square inches is PiD2/4 = 0.785
square inches.
It is not practical to use solid conductors for the larger sizes as they would be very difficult
to bend. Therefore, smaller strands of wire are twisted together to form one large
conductor.

Standard kcmil wire sizes& solid copper equivalents


Diameter
kcmil
MCM

mm

in.

mm

NECcopper wire
ampacitywith
60/75/90C
insulation (A)[4]

250

126.7

0.500

12.70

215 / 255 / 290

300

152.0

0.548

13.91

240 / 285 / 320

350

177.3

0.592

15.03

260 / 310 / 350

400

202.7

0.632

16.06

280 / 335 / 380

500

253.4

0.707

17.96

320 / 380 / 430

600

304.0

0.775

19.67

355 / 420 / 475

700

354.7

0.837

21.25

385 / 460 / 520

750

380.0

0.866

22.00

400 / 475 / 535

800

405.4

0.894

22.72

410 / 490 / 555

900

456.0

0.949

24.10

435 / 520 / 585

1000

506.7

1.000

25.40

455 / 545 / 615

1250

633.4

1.118

28.40

495 / 590 / 665

1500

760.1

1.225

31.11

520 / 625 / 705

1750

886.7

1.323

33.60

545 / 650 / 735

2000

1013.4

1.414

35.92

560 / 665 / 750

Ampacities of Insulated Conductors From NEC Table NEC310.15(B)(16)


Not More than Three Conductors in Raceway or Cable or Earth (Directly Buried)
(Based on Ambient Temperature of 30 C, 86 F)
Aluminum Conductors
Copper-Clad Conductors
60 C
75 C
(140 F)
(167 F)
Types
Types

Copper Conductors
ize

60 C
(140 F)
Types

75 C
(167 F)
Types

90 C
(194 F)
Types

90 C
(194 F)
Types

TW

RHW

TBS

TW

RHW

TBS

UF

THW

SA

UF

THHW

SA, SIS

THWN

SIS

THW

THHN,
THHW

XHHW

FEP

THWN

THW-2

USE

FEPB

XHHW

THWN-2

ZW

RHH

USE

RHH,

AWG
Kcmil

THHN

RHW-2

THWN

USE-2

XHHW

XHH, XHHW

Unless otherwise
specifically permitted
elsewhere in this code, the
load current rating and the
overcurrent protection for
conductor types marked
with an obelisk () shall not
exceed 15 amperes for 14
AWG, 20 amperes for
12 AWG, and 30 amperes
for 10 AWG copper; or 15
amperes for 12 AWG and
25 amperes for 10 AWG
aluminum and copper-clad
aluminum after any
correction
factors for ambient
temperature and number at
conductors have been
applied (ref. NEC 240-3d).

Correction Factors for Ambient Temperature


Over 30 C, 86 F
For Ambient Temperatures Over 30 C, 86 F, multiply the ampacities shown above by the appropriate factor show below:
Ambient
Temperature

Aluminum Conductors
Copper-Clad Conductors

Copper Conductors

21-25 C,
70-77 F

1.08

1.05

1.04

1.08

1.05

1.04

26-30 C,
78-86 F

31-35 C,
87-95 F

0.91

0.94

0.96

0.91

0.94

0.96

36-40 C,
96-104 F

0.82

0.88

0.91

0.82

0.88

0.91

41-45 C,
105-113 F

0.71

0.82

0.87

0.71

0.82

0.87

46-50 C,
114-122 F

0.58

0.75

0.82

0.58

0.75

0.82

51-55 C,
123-131 F

0.41

0.67

0.76

0.41

0.67

0.76

56-60 C,
132-140 F

0.58

0.71

0.58

0.71

61-70 C,
141-158 F

0.33

0.58

0.33

0.58

71-80 C,
159-176 F

0.41

0.41

A brief explanation of the more common insulation types:


TW Thermoplastic, Water resistant
THW Thermoplastic, Heat resistant, Water resistant
THHN Thermoplastic, High Heat resistant, Nylon Jacketed
THWN Thermoplastic, Heat resistant, Water resistant Nylon
Jacketed
RHW Rubber jacketed, Heat resistant, Water resistant

Naturally,
the larger the cross-sectional area (the size) of the conductor,

the greater its ampacity rating.


However, the ampacity rating is not a linear function of size.
For example, the rating of a 250 MCM copper conductor with 60 insulation
is 215 amperes, whereas the rating of a 500 MCM copper conductor (twice
the size) is 320 amperes, only 1.5 times as much.
With alternating current circuits, the current-carrying capacity per circular
mil of conductor area decreases with size because of the skin effect, plus
the fact that it is harder to dissipate the heat within large conductors.
Therefore, it is often preferable to parallel smaller conductors for each
phase of a feeder rather than use one large conductor.

Conductor Material
The
tow conductor materials in common use are copper and aluminum.
Copper has historically been used for conductors of insulated cables because of its
desirable electrical and mechanical properties.
Aluminum has had restricted use but is considered where its ampacity rating to weight
ratio and its relative cost are favorable.
The use of aluminum requires a larger conductor size in order to have the same ampacity
rating as copper.
For example, from the table, a No. 1 AWG copper conductor with 90 temperature rating
has a rating of 150 amperes. An aluminum conductor with the same temperature rating
has to be size 2/0 (two sizes larger) to have the same rating of 150 amperes.

Unlike copper, aluminum has a few undesirable properties when used as the conductor
material. An oxide film forms on the surface of aluminum.
This aluminum oxide is essentially an insulating film, causing poor electrical contact at
connections.
To help overcome this problem, the aluminum must be cleaned immediately prior to being
connected.
On the other hand, the oxide film that forms on copper is a relatively good conductor,
causing no real problem at connections.
Aluminum conductors can break after bending much more readily than copper conductors and
therefore aluminum conductors must be handled very carefully during installation.
Aluminum deforms at lower pressure than copper and can become loose at connections after a
period of time. The resulting poor electrical contact can cause excessive heat buildup, leading

Maximum Allowable Temperature


The
maximum continuous current that a conductor can carry is

ultimately determined by temperature at which it is allowed to


operate for prolonged periods of time.
This maximum allowable temperature is set by the type of insulating
material that surrounds the conductor and is selected so that a
reasonable working life (years) is obtained.
If this operating temperature is exceeded for long periods of time,
the insulation ages much more rapidly, becoming hard and brittle and
subject to failure.
The temperature rating classifications for building wires are 60, 7, 9.

A higher allowable operating temperature increases the ampacity rating for


a particular conductor size. For example, from table, a No. 2 AWG copper
conductor, with 60 insulation has an ampacity of 95 amperes, whereas, with
90 insulation, its ampacity is increased to 130 amperes.
The higher permissible operating temperature means that there is greater
temperature difference between the conductor and the surrounding
medium, resulting in a more rapid dissipation of the heat generated in the
conductor.
The higher temperature rated insulation may cost a bit more, but if its use
results in a smaller size conductor being required for a given feeder, then
the overall cost may be less.

An exception to the foregoing is with regard to conductor


sizes Nos. 14, 12, and 10.
The setting of the overcurrent protection for the conductors
indicated cannot exceed the values quoted in the notes
regardless of the temperature classification of the insulation.

Ambient Temreture
The
ambient temperature refers to the temperature of the medium through which the
wiring is to be run (air or earth).
As the ambient temperature increases, there is less temperature differential between
the conductor and the surrounding medium, and the rate at which the heat is
dissipated from the conductor decreases.
This means that the conductor can carry less current before it reaches its maximum
operating temperature.
The first table is based on an ambient air temperature of 30 () as noted in the heading.

There
can be areas within a building where the ambient temperature exceeds 30 such as in

enclosed ceiling areas adjacent to heating pipes and in rooms with heating equipment.
For wiring installed in areas with ambient temperatures higher than 30 the ampacity of the
conductors must be reduced, called derating.
Conversely, if the ambient temperature is lower than 30, the ampacity can be increased.
The second table is based on an earth ambient temperature of 20. The appropriate
correction factors are shown at the bottom of the ampacity tables.
For example, for a conductor with 90 insulation operating in an ambient temperature of 40,
the correction factor is 0.91. thus a No. 6 copper conductor, 90, has an ampacity rating of
75 amperes at 30 and only a rating of 0.91 times 75 or 68 amperes at 40.

Conductors installed in Raceways


The most common method of installing wiring in a building is to run
the
conductors in a raceway.
Note the heading of the first table, which states not more than
three single insulated conductors, rated 0 to 2000 volts, in raceway.
The raceway enclosure impedes the dissipation of the heat from
conductors.
This fact requires the derating of a conductor as compared to its
ampacity rating when run by itself in air (its free air rating).
As an example, if we refer to table 210-17 in the NEC, the free air
rating of s No. 1/0 copper conductor, 90, are installed in a raceway,
the ampacity of each conductor is only 170 amperes.

Note
that the first table applies to conductors in raceways installed in free air.
However, this table can also be applied where conduits are installed in walls and
structural floor slabs that are above grade level.
Where conduits are run adjacent to each other, sufficient spacing must be
maintained between them to permit proper cooling.
The second table, on the other hand, applies to 75 rated conductors installed in
underground electrical ducts.
The ampacities are based on ambient earth temperature of 20 (68). Ratings are shown
for arrangements where from 1 to 6 electrical ducts are run in the same duct bank.