Beyond the Knee Point: A Practical Guide to CT Saturation
Current transformer (CT) saturation, while a fairly common occurrence in protection systems, is not often clearly understood by protective relay engineers. This paper forgoes the usual physics equations to describe how CTs saturate in a simple and intuitive way. We explain the differences between symmetrical and asymmetrical saturation and how remanence accumulates in the core of a CT. We then describe the CT equivalent circuit and how it results in the familiar CT excitation graph. ANSI ratings of CTs are explained, and we show how to analyze the performance of CTs using simple equations and tools. Finally, we explain how CT saturation can affect relay operation and show how to detect CT saturation in protective relay event reports. Real-world event reports are presented where correct relay operation was compromised as a result of incorrect current values from saturated CTs.