Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Ahmed Mohamed


Cascading Failures in Power Distribution Networks


Power Grids are one of the most intricate systems and greatly affect economic, political, and social aspects of contemporary life. A well-operated power system consists of many control devices and protection methods to prevent the interruption of power to consumers. However, such systems are highly vulnerable to severe events; for instance, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, mal-function of control devices, etc. The occurrence of these odd events may lead to cascading failures, which are prominent contributors to blackouts.

This paper focuses on the development of a cascade model in a distribution network using Newton-Raphson’s power flow method to study the impact of random line failures on other lines in the system. The random line failures are initiated to mimic the occurrence of severe events. The objective of this study is to collect data which includes the probability of a line failing due to the failure of another line. This probability data set is used to identify lines in a system that are most vulnerable to a threat and to illustrate interconnectivity of the lines using influence-based graphs.



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