Last Updated S012019


Unit Code MEE603
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Master of Engineering (Electrical Systems )

Duration: 2 years

Year Level Two
Unit Creator / Reviewer Prof Akhtar kalam ( Ian Bitterlin / Steve Steyn)
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
Credit Points


Masters total course credit points = 48

(3 credits x 12 ( units )+12 credits (Thesis))

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

10 hours per week:

lecture - 1 hour

Tutorial Lecture - 1 hours

Practical / Lab - 1 hour ( where applicable )

Personal Study recommended - 7 hours ( guided and unguided )


Unit Description and General Aims

The increased use of power electronic components within the distribution system and the
reliance on renewable energy sources which have converters as interface between the
source and the power system lead to power quality problems for the operation of machines,
transformers, capacitors and power systems. This unit aims to cover the subject of power
quality which is very broad by nature. It covers all aspects of power system engineering from
transmission and distribution level analyses to end-user problems. Students will develop an
understanding of why electric power quality has become the concern of utilities, end users,
architects and civil engineers as well as manufacturers.
Power quality of power systems affects all connected electrical and electronic equipment,
and is a measure of deviations in voltage, current, frequency, temperature, force, and torque
of particular supply systems and their components. In recent years there has been
considerable increase in nonlinear loads, in particular distributed loads such as computers,
TV monitors and lighting. These draw harmonic currents which have detrimental effects
including communication interference, loss of reliability, increased operating costs,
equipment overheating, machine, transformer and capacitor failures, and inaccurate power
metering. This subject is pertinent to engineers involved with power systems, electrical
machines, electronic equipment, computers and manufacturing equipment.
This unit aims to ensure that power engineering students can develop solutions to power
quality problems of electrical machines and power systems, from gaining knowledge of
modelling, simulation and measuring techniques for transformers, machines, capacitors and
power systems.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:
1. Attain the required theoretical knowledge on power quality and harmonics.
Bloom’s Level 6
2. Demonstrate the ability to calculate first-order harmonic distortion from a given
harmonic current and linear source impedance.
Bloom’s Level 6
3. Demonstrate the ability to simulate a complex continuous waveform using sinusoids
of varying frequency, amplitude and phase angle.
Bloom’s Level 6
4. Establish through the studies the relationship between harmonic spectrum, Total
Harmonic Current Distortion, source impedance and resultant Total Harmonic Voltage
Bloom’s Level 5
5. Draw and present conclusions on the effect that a given type of non-linear load
harmonic spectrum will have on voltage sources such as transformers.
Bloom’s Level 5

Student assessment

Assessment Type When assessed Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation

Topic examples: Power quality and harmonics

After Topic 4 20% 1, 2

Assessment 2 

Type: Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site Visit / Problem analysis / Project / Professional recommendation

Example: Report (Midterm Project) [This will include a progress report; literature review, hypothesis, and proposed solution with concept workings] Word length: 1000

Topic examples: Sources of harmonic currents and impedance

After Topic 7 25% 1, 2, 3

Assessment 3

Type: Report (Final Project)

[If a continuation of the midterm, this should complete the report by adding sections on: workings, implementation, results, verification/validation, conclusion/challenges and recommendations/future work. If this is a new report, all headings from the midterm and the final reports must be included.]

Word length: 2000

Topic examples: Continuation of midterm by including mitigation

Final Week 35% 1- 5

Assessment 4

Practical Participation

Type: May be in the form of quizzes, class tests, practical assessments, remote labs, simulation software or case studies

Example: Simulate a complex continuous waveform

Final Week 15% 3

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1 - 5


Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required textbook(s)
1. J. Arrillaga and N.R. Watson, Power System Harmonics , 2nd Edition, Wiley, 2003
2. De la Rosa et el. on power quality
3. Dugan and Kusko
Reference Materials
•IDC/ EIT notes and Reference texts as advised.
•Other material advised during the lectures

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.


Topics 1 and 2

Voltage harmonics –why are they a problem?
1. Heating effects
2. Counter torque effects in motors
3. Mal-operation of plant and machinery, including Power factor Correction capacitor banks
4. Point of common coupling– limitations placed by the DNO
5. The relationship between harmonic current distortion and voltage distortion


Topics 3 and 4

1. Fourier Theorem
2. Harmonic order, magnitude and phase-
3. Harmonic spectrum
4. Phase rotation –
forward, neutral and reverse
5. Summation, negation and cancellation –
mixed loads
6. Numerical computation and simulation
7. Total Harmonic Distortion and the limitations of its use without the harmonic spectrum
8. Power Factor and Displacement Factor


Topics 5 and 6

Sources of harmonic currents
1. Transformers and generating alternators
2. Non-linear loads
3. Fans, pumps and elevators –the trend for energy efficiency increases harmonic generation
4. Industrial processes– arc-welding, resistance-welding and electric furnaces
5. Rectifiers, UPS and Variable Speed AC Drives
6. ICT and other microprocessor based electronic loads
7. Ballasted electronic lighting


Topics 7 and 8

Source Impedance
1. Impedance relationship to frequency
2. Transformers
3. Alternators and rotating machines


Topics 9 and 10

1. Conductor resistance, cross-section and impedance
2. Neutral conductor amperage
3. Passive filters
4. Active filters
5. K-rated distribution transformers
6. Isolation transformer


Topics 11 and 12

Project and Revision

In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity
will be provided for a review of student work, to clarify any outstanding issues, and to work on
finalising the major assessment report