Effects of backfilling on cable ampacity analyzed with the finite element method

Francisco de León, George J. Anders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Expressions for computing the external thermal resistance (T4 of buried cables, in both the IEEE and the IEC standards, are applicable to a limited number of installation geometries. In this paper, a method for the computation of T4 using the finite element approach is presented. With this method, a parametric study on how cable ampacity is affected by different configurations of the backfills is performed. The obtained results are compared with those of the IEC and IEEE standards (Neher-McGrath) and published extensions by El-Kady and Horrocks. Important differences can be observed for nonstandardized situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-543
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Delivery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Ampacity
  • Backfill
  • Cable thermal rating
  • External thermal resistance
  • Finite element method
  • Neher-McGrath
  • Underground cables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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