A polyphase system is basically an ac system composed of a certain number of single-phase ac systems having the same frequency and operating in sequence. Each phase of a polyphase system (i.e., the phase of each single-phase ac system) is displaced from the next by a certain angular interval. In any polyphase system, the value of the angular interval between each phase depends on the number of phases in the system. This manual covers the most common type of polyphase system, the three-phase system. Three-phase systems, also referred to as three-phase circuits, are polyphase systems that have three phases, as their name implies. They are no more complicated to solve than single-phase circuits. In the majority of cases, threephase circuits are symmetrical and have identical impedances in each of the circuit’s three branches (phases). Each branch can be treated exactly as a single-phase circuit, because a balanced three-phase circuit is simply a combination of three single-phase circuits. Therefore, voltage, current, and power relationships for three-phase circuits can be determined using the same basic equations and methods developed for single-phase circuits. Non-symmetrical, or unbalanced, three-phase circuits represent a special condition and their analysis is more complex. Unbalanced three-phase circuits are not covered in detail in this manual.

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