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The Uncertainty in Power Transformer Fault Diagnostics

The Uncertainty in Power Transformer Fault Diagnostics

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Published by raghbendrat

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Published by: raghbendrat on Mar 09, 2010
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Yogendra Dev Vashishtha*, Paul Ascione* and Qi Su*** Power and Water Authority** Monash University
The average age of power transformers in Australia is about 25-35 years. Conventional oil tests,dissolved gas analysis (DGA) of oil, dielectric loss angle (DLA or tan
) of winding and recoveryvoltage monitoring (RVM) are among many diagnostic techniques available. Power and WaterAuthority (PAWA) of Northern Territory refurbished five 66 / 11 kV, 10—30 MVA, 24—33 yearsold transformers.
From the test results it is observed that a transformer which has very goodresults from these diagnostic tests and even has minimum moisture content in the winding(from RVM) may still have very poor mechanical integrity. Winding cellulose paper may beaged to such an extent (assessed from degree of polymerisation; DP) that any sudden force ortransient would cause failure.
DP test is very difficult to perform regularly to ascertainmechanical integrity of winding paper. Furan analysis is another alternative to DP. Most of thetimes Furans are not detected and there is no universal correlation available for DP and Furans.Also, both ageing and moisture content influence Furans. Frequency response analysis (FRA)gives information regarding winding movement but it does not give much information aboutmechanical integrity of a winding which is essential for transformer reliability. This paper alsocompares moisture contents in the winding assessed from RVM and estimated from oil PPM(using Norris diagram) and estimated from winding DLA (based on Gussenbauer’s relationship).
It appears that moisture content from RVM needs further validation and research toseparate out ageing and moisture effects.1.
Transformers represent a high capital investment in atransmission substation at the same time as being akey element determining the loading capability of thestation within the network. With appropriatemaintenance, including insulation reconditioning atthe appropriate time, The technical life of atransformer can be in excess of 60 years. The end of life, however, can be strategic or economic.Quantitative, risk based approach can be used to aidcostly investment decisions involving transformer life,otherwise made from a subjective viewpoint.Diagnostic systems have been listed under threecategories as portable / periodic, continuous on-lineand specialist support [1]. There are various on-linemonitors for load, operating conditions, gas-in-oil andmoisture-in-oil are available these days [5]. Dissolvedgas analysis (DGA) is the main condition monitoringtechnique used at Power and Water Authority(PAWA) in the Northern Territory. Recovery VoltageMonitoring (RVM) has been found as a bettertechnique to estimate moisture content in the windingpaper insulation and its ageing. However, RVM doesnot distinguish between moisture content anddegradation of paper. Some experiments have beenreported correlating charging current with paperageing. Due to very limited work, these are not veryconclusive. There is a possibility that charging currentmay also correlate with insulation resistance (IR) aswe found RVM following polarisation index (PI).
2.BACKGROUND2.1The major factors involved in transformerinsulation life are:
Insulation moisture content
Extent of oil oxidation
Extent of cellulose degradation—water, CO,CO
and furans
Insulation Structure compressionMOISTURE, OXYGEN and HEAT are the threeageing accelerators.
2.2Transformer Life Assessment Indicators:
Insulation moisture content in oil provides a simplemethod of estimating residual life. The followingguide may be useful (based on equilibrium watercontent of paper as a function of water content of impregnating transformer oil):3 %Maximum acceptable4 %Entering at risk zone5 %--6 %Considerable risk of failure7 %Failure imminentFor life assessment, emission associated with theinsulation ageing process is of interest, principally thelevels of CO, CO2 and furans in the oil. Cellulosedegradation can be assessed by furan (HPLC) analysisand preferably supported by degree of polymerisation(DP) for a more definitive assessment. DP testinvolves the removal of samples of paper from thewinding insulation. Due to the need for internal accessand expensive analysis, the test is only recommendedon suspect transformer on the basis of DGA and othertests. DP is correlated to the tensile strength. Thepaper is considered to have no mechanical strength ata DP of 150 to 200. New transformers have DP above900.
2.3The following methods of moisturemeasurement are available:
Direct measurement of the water content inpaper on a layer by layer basis by means of Karl Fisher moisture meter (KFMM) using‘four bar probe’.b)
Water content in winding established frommeasurement of tan
using Gussenbaeur’scharacteristics [4].c)
Water content in winding established frommeasurement of oil PPM using NorrisDiagram.d)
Water content in winding established fromRVM [6].
Condition Monitoring Methods:
MethodSuitable forWINDING:IR & PIMoisture &ContaminationDDF & CapacitanceMoisture &ContaminationWinding RatioFaulted turnsWinding ResistanceConductor damageImpedance & LossesWinding movementApplied HVPoor dielectricInduced HV & PDPoor dielectricPD ( acoustic &electrical)Detect and locate PDFrequency ResponseAnalysis(Transfer Function)Winding displacement,possible loose winding,and core faultsVoltage RecoveryMoisture in paperAnd ageing of paperOff-Line TestVibration AnalysisSlack winding &Mechanical faultsDP & Gel PermeationInsulation degradationOIL:DGA & RatioanalysisDetecting incipientfaultsFuran AnalysisOverheating andageing of paperWater contentDrynessResistivity, Acidity,IFTand DDFAgeing of oilBUSHINGS:Tan Delta (DLA)Moisture &contaminationTan
or dielectric loss angle (DLA) is a measure of overall quality of insulation system in terms of moisture and contamination.
Recovery Voltage Method:
If the DGA analysis is performed correctly (propersampling, storage and calibration), most of theincipient faults in the oil may be detected. The paperinsulation is responsible for containing most of themoisture due to ageing and thermal stress. The paperinsulation may fail under high electrical stress or may
release moisture into the oil insulation. To detectageing or moisture content it is necessary to analyselow frequency part of polarisation spectrum of dissipation factor. A tan
would have been sufficientbut finding a sinusoidal source voltage of 0.001 Hz isvery difficult [6]. The alternative is the recoveryvoltage measurement.It was found that IR & PI do not reflect completeinformation on polarisation process. Cases werereported where electrical motors having good PI werefound to have contaminated windings and also motorshaving poor PI had no problems in the windinginsulation [2]. To resolve this, an one thousandseconds charging and discharging test (dc absorption)was developed. Recovery Voltage Method fortransformer seems to be developed from this test.In RVM, winding is charged for known time and thenshorted to ground for pre-decided time. The recoveryvoltage is then measured and dominant time constantis achieved which is essentially a polarisation timeconstant.Charging current is given as the sum of displacementcurrent, the polarisation current and the conductioncurrent. Polarising current is dependent on materialproperty and state of ageing. The polarisation of dielectric can be expressed as sum of various slowpolarisation phenomena like ion migration, slowrelaxation and interfacial polarisation. Care must betaken in the interpretation of results of RVM, inparticular the relative effects of moisture, genuineageing and temperature [3].
2.6Condition Monitoring Model [1]
Insulation DP of FailureExpertAgeing InsulationRateAssessmentProductsPaper DataIn OilSample RVM INSULATION AGEFAILURE PROBABILITYRemaining Reliable LifeOf TransformerData Base Of 
Test Results
Statistical Analysis

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