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Summary form only given. An analytical description combined with finite element calculations of the current displacement caused by short-circuit current impulses in one- and two dimensional conductor models is presented. It is shown that in many cases the Joule-integral used in the technical practice gives a false representation of the thermal stress in the conductors and contacts. A simplified method is given for determining the degree of current displacement caused by different current impulses, hence the non-uniformity of the losses and the heating within the conductors.