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Computer Modeling of a High Voltage Power Substation for EMF with Actual Measurements for Model Validation
Electrical and Biomedical Engineering
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The goal of this research was to design the smallest high voltage substation possible that did not expose workmen to magnetic fields larger than the maximum acceptable level and complied with the accepted minimum spacing requirements. Doing so would result in a substation with the lowest land cost given the smallest footprint, the lowest visual impact because of the reduced height and the lowest construction cost by reducing the amount of material needed while maintaining the safety of workmen.The first phase was to determine if it was possible to create a valid three-dimensional computer model of a high voltage transmission substation. The validity was determined by comparing the magnetic fields calculated by the computer model to magnetic fields measured in an actual substation at a distance of six feet above ground level, approximating the height of a workman. This involved several cycles of measurements in the substation, generation of many computed results and comparison to determine the correct measurement and modeling technique. As no previous literature was available, each iteration in this process required evaluation of the results from many perspectives.Once the model was confirmed to be accurate, the second phase was to create additional computer models of the substation with the bus height and phase spacings reduced. Magnetic fields were again calculated at a distance of six feet above ground level and compared to the results of the existing substation.In the third phase, the magnetic field results of these simulations were compared to the presently published standards for magnetic field exposures to workmen to determine if the resulting fields exceeded the safe values. Additionally, the bus heights and phase spacings were compared to the presently published standards for spacing between energized conductors and between energized conductors and ground to determine if the proposed construction dimensions were smaller than the presently published standards.This project is a prime example of the work of engineers. It is the actual application of pure science in the design and construction of a practical system. Implementing the results of this research will decrease the impact of high voltage substations on the surrounding environment while maintaining the safety of the workers and the reliability of the equipment.