Equipment failure, human error and weather conditions can lead to significantly increased levels of current referred to as fault current. A short circuit study ensures that your power system is adequately rated to handle these fault currents.
A short circuit study determines the quantity of current available at each point throughout the power system, from the utility and on-site generation, in the event of a fault. A fault is an abnormal condition in which conductive portions of electrical equipment (i.e. cables or bus bar), that are meant to be electrically isolated from other conductive or intentionally grounded surfaces, come in contact with one another.
Causes of faults could include:
- equipment failure
- dropped tool
- particulate in the air
The results of this study can be utilized to ensure that the electrical equipment is adequately rated to handle the significantly increased current and magnetic fields produced during a fault. To perform this study, an electrical drawing of the power system will need to be created. Information will need to be obtained from power sources (i.e. utility and on-site generation), cables, transformers and motor loads. It is crucial that modifications to the power system be documented and the electrical drawing and study updated to reflect those modifications.