Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


Ali Shaban


This thesis explores the impacts and behavior of 3-phase distribution transformers when subject to ungrounded single phase open circuit faults. A simple 3-phase system is modeled using MATLAB Simulink and operation under fault conditions are simulated and studied. Simulation results are confirmed via lab experimentation. Finally, a robust detection and protection method using neutral current injection (as proposed in industry literature) is built and demonstrated.

Electric utility operating experience has demonstrated that all too often, loads on 3-phase distribution transformers are not adequately protected against an ungrounded single phase open circuit fault (commonly called “single phasing”). This type of fault is amongst the least understood and hence the least protected against. This is especially true at end of transmission system radial feeds where 3-phase transformers can re-create the opened phase voltage due to a variety of effects including magnetic coupling, voltage loops and loading effects. Operating experience in the nuclear power industry has shown that the results can be catastrophic especially considering the impacts to motor loads. Impacts can result in unavailability of emergency loads, tripping of motor protection circuits or even motor damage and failure.