Skin Effect in Transmission Lines

Skin Effect

The phenomena arising due to unequal distribution of current over the entire cross section of the conductor being used for long distance power transmission is referred as the skin effect in transmission lines. Such a phenomena does not have much role to play in case of a very short line, but with increase in the effective length of the conductors, skin effect increases considerably. So the modifications in line calculation needs to be done accordingly.
The distribution of current over the entire cross-section of the conductor is quite uniform in case of a DC system. But what we are using in the present era of power system engineering is predominantly an alternating current system, where the current tends to flow with higher density through the surface of the conductors (i.e., the skin of the conductor), leaving the core deprived of a necessary number of electrons.

In fact there even arises a condition when absolutely no a href=”/electric-current-and-theory-of-electricity/” title=”Electric Current”>current flows through the core, and concentrating the entire amount on the surface region, thus increasing the effective electrical resistance of the conductor. This particular trend of an AC transmission system to take the surface path for the flow of current depriving the core is referred to as the skin effect in transmission lines.

Why Skin Effect Occurs in Transmission Lines?

Having understood the phenomena of skin effect let us now see why this arises in case of an AC system. To have a clear understanding of that look into the cross-sectional view of the conductor during the flow of alternating current given in the diagram below.
Let us initially consider the solid conductor to be split up into some annular filaments spaced infinitely small distance apart, such that each filament carries an infinitely small fraction of the total current.
Like if the total current = I

Let us consider the conductor to be split up into n filament carrying current ‘i’ such that I = n i.
Now during the flow of an alternating current, the current carrying filaments lying on the core has a flux linkage with the entire conductor cross-section including the filaments of the surface as well as those in the core. Whereas the flux set up by the outer filaments is restricted only to the surface itself and is unable to link with the inner filaments.Thus the flux linkage of the conductor increases as we move closer towards the core and at the same rate increases the inductance as it has a direct proportionality relationship with flux linkage. As a result, a larger inductive reactance gets induced into the core as compared to the outer sections of the conductor. The high value of reactance in the inner section results in the current gets distributed in an un-uniform manner and forcing the bulk of the current to flow through the outer surface or skin giving rise to the phenomena called skin effect in transmission lines.

skin effect

Factors Affecting Skin Effect in Transmission Lines

The skin effect in an AC system depends on some factors like:-

  1. Shape of conductor.
  2. Type of material.
  3. Diameter of the conductors.
  4. Operational frequency.
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