Resistance heating of steel conductors of circular cross-section

  • Philip Tsappi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The object of this thesis is to develop a method for calculating the losses developed in steel conductors of circular cross-section and at temperatures below 100oC, by the direct passage of a sinusoidally alternating current. Three cases are considered. 1. Isolated solid or tubular conductor. 2. Concentric arrangement of tube and solid return conductor. 3. Concentric arrangement of two tubes. These cases find applications in process temperature maintenance of pipelines, resistance heating of bars and design of bus-bars. The problems associated with the non-linearity of steel are examined. Resistance heating of bars and methods of surface heating of pipelines are briefly described. Magnetic-linear solutions based on Maxwell's equations are critically examined and conditions under which various formulae apply investigated. The conditions under which a tube is electrically equivalent to a solid conductor and to a semi-infinite plate are derived. Existing solutions for the calculation of losses in isolated steel conductors of circular cross-section are reviewed, evaluated and compared. Two methods of solution are developed for the three cases considered. The first is based on the magnetic-linear solutions and offers an alternative to the available methods which are not universal. The second solution extends the existing B/H step-function approximation method to small diameter conductors and to tubes in isolation or in a concentric arrangement. A comprehensive experimental investigation is presented for cases 1 and 2 above which confirms the validity of the proposed methods of solution. These are further supported by experimental results reported in the literature. Good agreement is obtained between measured and calculated loss values for surface field strengths beyond the linear part of the d.c. magnetisation characteristic. It is also shown that there is a difference in the electrical behaviour of a small diameter conductor or thin tube under resistance or induction heating conditions.

Date of Award1987
Original languageEnglish


  • method for calculating
  • losses developed in steel conductors
  • circular cross-section
  • temperatures below 100oC
  • sinusoidally alternating current
  • Maxwell's equations

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