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Current–time characteristics of resistive superconducting fault current limiters

Blair, Steven Macpherson and Booth, Campbell and Burt, Graeme (2012) Current–time characteristics of resistive superconducting fault current limiters. IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, 22 (2). ISSN 1051-8223

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Superconducting fault current limiters (SFCLs) may play an important role in power-dense electrical systems. Therefore, it is important to understand the dynamic characteristics of SFCLs. This will allow the behavior of multiple SFCLs in a system to be fully understood during faults and other transient conditions, which will consequently permit the coordination of the SFCL devices to ensure that only the device(s) closest to the fault location will operate. It will also allow SFCL behavior and impact to be taken into account when coordinating network protection systems. This paper demonstrates that resistive SFCLs have an inverse current-time characteristic: They will quench (become resistive) in a time that inversely depends upon the initial fault current magnitude. The timescales are shown to be much shorter than those typical of inverse overcurrent protection. A generic equation has been derived, which allows the quench time to be estimated for a given prospective fault current magnitude and initial superconductor temperature and for various superconducting device and material properties. This information will be of value to system designers in understanding the impact of SFCLs on network protection systems during faults and in planning the relative positions of multiple SFCLs.