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IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 23, No.

4; August 2016 2475

Performance Analysis of Alternate Liquid Dielectrics for

Power Transformers
U. Mohan Rao, Yog Raj Sood and Raj Kumar Jarial
National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur.
Department of Electrical Engineering
Himachal Pradesh. 177005, India.

In this work mineral oil, natural ester, synthetic ester and a mixture of mineral oil and
synthetic ester have been subjected to accelerated thermal stressing in presence of
copper and cellulose. All these samples were subjected to 110C, 150C, 170C and
200C thermal stressing for different test durations. Thermal degradation of the
samples has been monitored continuously with UV Spectroscopy and visual inspections.
Additionally interfacial tension of mineral oil and mixture oil has been monitored
under the same test conditions to observe the miscible performance of the fluids. It has
been found that the degree of degradation is less with synthetic esters than other
samples. Interfacial tension and visual observations revealed less sludge formation in
synthetic esters. Furthermore, aged insulation paper has been analyzed using X- ray
diffraction technique to find the degradation rate of cellulose in various insulating
fluids. It has been found that the rate of degradation is low in synthetic ester and
performance of mixed oil is better than mineral oil.
Index Terms - Esters oils, insulation oil, liquid dielectrics, power transformer.

1 INTRODUCTION margin [3]. Ignition of ester oils is difficult than mineral oil
because of the higher ignition temperatures of ester dielectric
MINERAL oil used for insulation and cooling in transformer liquids [4]. Ester dielectrics can be used as a whole or mixed
technology exhibits excellent dielectric and coolant behavior. at any ratio with mineral oil for enhancing the performance,
Mineral oils falls short in terms of thermal and environmental but the mixture exhibits either similar or better properties than
performance and initiate fire easily during atypical conditions. mineral oil [5, 6].
Mineral insulation oils are hydrocarbons obtained by fractional
distillation of petroleum crude stocks which are expected to reach Despite global research and many affirmative records for
the depletion level in near future. Most significant shortfall is the the past 15 years, application of ester insulating oils for
failure of mineral oils to meet health, safety and new transformer is still a challenge among the communities of
environmental regulations owing to their toxicity and non- dielectricians. The major reason for not accepting ester
biodegradable nature. All these factors lead the power industry to dielectrics by the industry is higher cost and poor oxidation
search for alternative dielectric liquids which have a sense of stability of ester dielectrics [7, 8]. Albeit, oxidation is not a
proper balance between the dielectric characteristics, thermal major concern with ester oils as it is with mineral oils due to
performance and environmental performance. A perfect high dielectric strength of ester oils. Further with oxidation,
dielectric liquid obligation is to provide a proper balance between mineral oils introduce sludge whereas ester oils exhibit in
operational performance and environmental impact. Internally it escalation of viscosity which affects the cooling capability of
should be thermally and chemically stable and externally it the fluid. However with a proper designed cooling system the
should be environmental friendly [1]. Additionally the alternate incremental viscosity can counterpoise [9]. C. P. McShane,
choice of liquid dielectric must have an optimal evaluation on the Global Technology Manager, Cooper Power Systems says,
total cost of ownership of the transformer. oxidation stability of CPS ester fluids are ample for use in
breather transformers [10].
Consequently, researchers found that ester based oils
Hence, pertaining to the present day scenario of alternative
exhibit a good dielectric behavior along with improved
insulating liquids, less cost and reduced degradation rate, high
thermal and environmental performances [2]. Ester based
thermal and environmental performance are requisite for an
dielectric fluids have affluent flash points compared to
efficient transformer insulation technology. Most of the
mineral oil and found that use of esters increase the fire safety
researchers were directed towards electrical properties,
Manuscript received on 16 September 2015, in final form 18 April 2016, chemical properties, ageing studies and stability of these
accepted 24 April 2016. alternate fluids [11-13], while least attention is given to

DOI: 10.1109/TDEI.2016.005642
2476 U. M. Rao et al.: Performance Analysis of Alternate Liquid Dielectrics for Power Transformers

investigation on miscibility of mineral oil and ester oil. such strips have been prepared for four different types of
However, 80% of mineral oil and 20% of ester based fluid samples and are allowed for drying for 10 hours at 80C in
was claimed as an optimal proportion [14]. Short term studies order to remove moisture. For the present study mineral oil
addressing the properties of mixed oils were investigated [6, (MO), synthetic ester (SE), natural ester (NE) and mixture oil
15] in which thermal stressing was limited to 100C. In our (MSO) have been selected. Mixture oil is developed by
recent work it was found that oxidation stability of the blend replacing 20% volume of mineral oil with synthetic ester [14].
of mineral and synthetic esters is better than pure mineral oil All the samples each of 800 ml quantity have been transferred
and the cost of the blend thus formed will be less than to separate borosilicate glass ampoules and are heated for 12
synthetic esters [16]. There is a need to demonstrate the hours at 110C for removal of moisture.
trending in degradation at elevated temperatures for ester oils
and mixture oils in comparison to various insulating fluids and 2.2 INVESTIGATION
their compatibility with insulation paper for long term usage. All the fresh and dehydrated samples have been tested for
Hence in this work ester based dielectrics and mixed oil were absorbance using Ultra Violet Visible Infrared Spectroscopy
stressed at higher temperatures in comparison with mineral oil (UV/VIS) and the color of fresh samples is recorded. Interfacial
to understand their long term behavior. Tension (IFT) of fresh MO and MSO has also been measured.
In this work Mineral Oil (MO), Natural Ester (NE), Later the dehydrated winding strips were dipped in borosilicate
Synthetic Ester (SE) and mixture of Mineral and Synthetic glass ampoules containing 800 ml of fresh samples and were
ester Oil (MSO) are subjected to accelerated thermal stresses sealed. Further ampoules were placed in air circulating oven for
in presence of copper and cellulose. Comparative degradation various test durations at different test temperatures. The entire
rate and trending in absorbance of the oils has been monitored experiment procedure is shown in Figure 1 and the test
using UV spectroscopy. Interfacial tension of MSO in conditions are as follows:
comparison to MO has been evaluated with thermal ageing.
a. 110C for 96 hours of heating
Additionally, change in color of oils is recorded for every test
temperature to identify the level of contamination. At the end b. 150C for 96 hours of heating
of ageing process, visualizations were recorded for c. 170C for 96 hours of heating
contamination and sedimentation within the tank. d. 200C for 48 hours of heating
Furthermore, fresh and aged insulation papers in various oils
are subjected to X-ray diffraction (XRD) to analyze the
variations in cellulose crystal parameters such as crystal size Insulation paper Copper
and relative crystallanity.
Winding Strips
From spectroscopy studies, it is found that degradation rate
is less for synthetic esters among all the samples and Insulation oil samples
absorbance analysis proved better performance of the Drying for 10 hours at
synthetic esters. XRD analysis indicated the reduced 80C for
degradation of kraft paper aged in synthetic esters. From Drying for 12 hours at
interfacial tension monitoring it is found that MSO has low 110C
soluble contaminants and products of oxidation in comparison Dipping strips in oil
samples and sealing
to MO. Observations on sludge formation and sedimentation
in tank indicate better performance of synthetic esters. Even
though SE proved best among all the samples, performance of Ageing Ageing Ageing Ageing
MSO is found superior to MO in all aspects. Hence, SE is a at 110C at 150C at 170C at 200C
for 96 for 96 for 96 for 48
better choice where cost is not a criteria and MSO is better
where cost is a criteria. In both cases minor design
Figure 1. Flow chart of the experiment.
amendments are to be considered which are discussed in
section 4.4 in detailed. Oil-paper insulation system in transformers will be
subjected to variable thermal excursions. Hence, in order to
2 EXPERIMENTAL simulate the conditions in a transformer, winding strips and
insulating fluids has been subjected to catalyzed thermal
2.1 WINDING STRIP AND SAMPLES PREPARATION stressing for prolonged durations. Both the stress temperature
To reveal the exact degradation rate of transformer (Ts in C) and stress duration (T in sec) plays a strategic role
insulating liquid, accelerated thermal stresses in presence of in simulating thermal ageing. Catalyzed thermal stressing
copper-cellulose is essential. This is because insulation oil acts factor is defined as the product of stress temperature and stress
in formation of composite dielectric in association with duration (Ts * T in C-sec). In the present work test conditions
cellulose which is wrapped around the copper conductor. were framed, for 96 hours of heating at each test temperature.
Hence winding strips have been developed using copper and After 170 C sludge deposition is initiated in MO and on
cellulose. To design winding strips, an unvarnished copper bar reaching 200C after 48 hours of ageing considerable sludge
of (90 mm x 13 mm) is selected. The copper bar is wrapped was evident and cellulose degradation is found aggressive. So
with 11 turns of 0.3 mm thickness unused kraft paper. Four it was decided to terminate the experiment at this point. With
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 23, No. 4; August 2016 2477

a concern that the load and hence temperature within the sample for absorbance in the ultraviolet spectral region, visible
transformer is variable, heating is done for 12 hours and and infrared spectral region. This means light in the visible, UV
samples are allowed for cooling for the next 12 hours. Only and infrared region is used to characterize the insulation oil as a
heating hours were taken into consideration as test duration function of wavelength in the range of (360 nm to 600 nm). UV
i.e. 336 hours. spectroscopy scans the sample for absorbance (Abs) at different
To monitor the deterioration of samples, spectrophotometry wave lengths (nm) for generating spectral curves. The area
testing is carried out for every 24 hours of test duration for all under this curve is inversely proportional to quality of the oil.
the four samples. To investigate the suitability of mixed For fresh oil, dissolved decay products will be less and the area
insulating liquids, IFT of MO and MSO has been monitored under the absorbance curve will be very less. The shift in
for every 24 hours of test duration. The variations in the color absorbance curve to higher wavelengths indicate higher
of the samples due to thermal ageing has been recorded for concentration of dissolved decay products or oxidation
every test temperature. The formation of sludge within the products. Hence a relationship exists between area under the
samples and sedimentation on the inner surface of the glass spectral curve and amount of dissolved decay products in oil.
ampoules has been recorded. Finally after thermal ageing The insulation oil used in the transformer degrades with
process, the kraft paper is investigated in the order of micro- operating time owing to its oxidation and contamination.
scale to identify the cellulose structural degradation due to Increase in contaminants increases the absorbance value of the
thermal stressing in presence of various insulating fluids. The insulation oil and pulls the curve to higher wavelengths.
variations in crystal parameters (crystal size and percentage UV/VIS monitoring is carried out as per ASTM D6802-02
relative crystallinity) are identified using the X-Ray standard test procedure [17].
diffraction analysis. Heptane is used as reference for spectral studies since it
exhibits zero absorbance to light. Samples have been drained
3 TEST METHODS AND RESULTS out from aging vessels after every 24 hours of thermal ageing
and UV/VIS test is performed on these samples. The
3.1 UV SPECTROPHOTOMETRY absorbance curve from (360 to 600 nm) wavelength has been
UV spectrophotometry is a diagnostic and condition recorded. The mean of the absorbance values obtained for the
monitoring tool used for the absorbance analysis of the same wavelengths for every 24 hours of heating at different
insulation oil with respect to its dissolved decay products. test temperatures are depicted in Figure 2. From
Ultravioletvisible spectrophotometry refers to scanning of oil spectrophotometry monitoring it has been found that degradation

a. At 110C temperature. c. At 170C temperature.

b. At 150C temperature.
d. At 200C temperature.
Figure 2. Spectral curves of various insulating oils at various test temperatures indicating the degradation of oils with ageing
2478 U. M. Rao et al.: Performance Analysis of Alternate Liquid Dielectrics for Power Transformers

rate of synthetic esters is quite low. Natural ester found to formation zone as shown in Figure 3, confirming the operation
have high degradation rate at low temperatures and with without formation of sludge. It is evident that oxidation
increase in temperature or over the operating times it stability of MSO is better than MO at high temperatures. It is
performed well. Comparison between MO and MSO indicate observed that the rate of ageing and formation of sludge is less
that rate of degradation is low in mixed oil, the distance in case of MSO. Hence it is inferred that performance of MO
between the spectral curves of MO and MSO increased with can be enhanced by adding synthetic ester to pure mineral oil.
increase in temperature indicating better performance of
MSO. The concentration of dissolved decay products is less in 3.3 X-RAY DIFFRACTION
ester based dielectric fluids when compared to mineral Degradation analysis of insulation paper is one of the key
insulating fluid. markers for lifetime assessment of the transformer. Crystal
size and relative crystallinity are important parameters of
cellulose paper for judging its electrical performance [20].
Interfacial tension (IFT) is defined as the force of attraction XRD is an analytical technique to identify the crystal
at the interface of two different molecules. IFT measurements parameters of insulation paper. X-rays of known wavelength
on insulating oils indicate a sensitive means of monitoring the are allowed to pass through the specimen for identifying the
contamination by small amounts of polar solvents and crystal structure. The nature of the wave is diffracted by the
oxidation products. Higher IFT values indicate high chemical specimen to generate a fine pattern of peaks at different angles
stability, less contamination and oxidation products. This test and varying intensity, this means intensity of the rays as a
is generally applied to service oils as an indication of the function of diffraction angle. A typical XRD pattern of the
degree of deterioration. IFT studies at accelerated thermal transformer insulation paper consists of smooth peak at low
stresses facilitates analyzing the suitability of mixtures for intensity and a sharp peak with high intensity as shown in
long term application which is not yet reported in the Figure 4. XRD analysis for identifying the degradation of
literature. Hence, to understand the suitability and behavior of kraft paper in presence of ester dielectrics and mixed oils is
mixed insulating fluids, IFT of MO and MSO has been not yet reported in the literature. However XRD analysis was
monitored for every 24 hours of ageing. Testing is carried as rarely applied to paper degradation in mineral oils [20], [21].
per ASTM D971-99a standard test method [18]. The In the present work XRD analysis is carried out for paper aged
in SE, NE and MSO in comparison to MO.
variations in interfacial tension of MO and MSO are plotted in
Figure 3 by considering the mean of the IFT values obtained
Intensity (CPS)

at a constant temperature. Im


X Ia
Figure 4. Typical diffraction pattern of transformer insulation paper.
Sludge Formation Y
Insulation kraft paper consists of 90% cellulose fiber which
is crystalline in nature and 10% of lignins and hemi cellulose
which are amorphous in nature [21]. The smooth and sharp
peaks in diffraction pattern correspond to amorphous and
crystalline regions respectively. The lignins and hemi
Figure 3. Variations in IFT of MO and MSO as a function of test
cellulose being amorphous in nature degrade at a higher rate
than cellulose crystals.
From the above figure it is observed that IFT of MO is better As the kraft paper degrades, cellulose fibers get stressed
than MSO for fresh samples. With thermal ageing, IFT of MO and lead to significant reduction in the size of cellulose
has been gradually decreased. Beyond the temperature of 150C, crystals of kraft paper. With decrease in the crystal size of
at point X IFT of MO intersected with MSO and later it is kraft paper, the relative crystallanity of the kraft paper crystal
reduced to values which are less than MSO. After crossing the lattice is reduced. Reduction in the crystal parameters affects
temperature of 170C, at point Y IFT of MO completely the performance of the kraft paper. Hence study of the crystal
entered the sludge formation zone i.e. (19-14) mN/m [19], size and relative crystallanity is useful to reveal the exact
indicating the formation of dissolved decay products and other degradation of kraft paper. Relative crystallinity (Crel) can be
contaminants in MO. After 200C MSO is about to enter sludge found by using equation (1) [20].
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 23, No. 4; August 2016 2479

Im Ia At 110C temperature, area under the curve reduced upto

Crel % 100 (1) 72 hours of ageing and later the trending increased throughout
the experimentation period at all the test temperatures. This is
where Im and Ia are maximum diffraction intensity of crystalline because, initially at lower temperatures moisture content in the
region and amorphous region respectively. The variations in oil is absorbed by the cellulose and at higher temperatures the
cellulose crystal size (D) with ageing can be obtained by using water content in the paper i.e., moisture present in cellulose
Scherrer relation shown in equation (2). D is based on Bragg and the moisture absorbed by paper at lower temperatures
angle which is based on the width of the peak at half of the together will migrate into the oil [23, 24]. However this
maximum intensity [22]. trending is found higher for NE at lower temperature and
k proved better at higher temperatures. This is because NE has
D (2) high viscous forces and hence has a thicker complexion with
high absorbance. Area under the absorbance curve associated
where k is the Scherrer constant i.e. 0.94, is wavelength of with synthetic esters has been found to be less in all cases
X-rays in , is width of peak at 0.5 Im and is the Bragg when compared to all other samples. This indicates that the
angle. Fresh and aged kraft papers in various insulating fluids degradation rate in SE is inferior to degradation rate than other
were subjected to XRD, the diffraction patterns obtained are samples. This is because ester group is hydrophilic and
shown in Figure 5 and smooth curves of diffraction patterns are mineral oil is hydrophobic hence, esters actively participate in
shown in Figure 6. hydrolysis as hydrogen-bond acceptors and this ability confers
According to theory of crystallography, the variation in the esters to higher water solubility group. Hence, the rate of
diffraction peak is caused by the reset of crystal lattice of the hydrolysis is higher in ester group fluids than in mineral oils
specimen sample. The position of the peak with respect to and more moisture is absorbed by esters in this process [16].
diffraction angle does not change significantly with thermal This process leads to formation of long chain fatty acids and
ageing. This implies that with accelerated thermal stressing augments the acid number of the ester oil. So higher acid
the type of crystal associated with the insulation paper remains number of esters is an indication of degree of dryness and
same [20]. keeps paper dry, thus reducing the deterioration rate of the oil
as well as the paper [25]. In case of mineral oil higher acid
number indicates higher acidity leading to the formation of
4 OBSERVATIONS AND INFERENCES sludge within the oil and tends to accelerate the degradation
4.1 OBSERVATIONS ON INSULATING SAMPLES rate of the oil as well as the insulation paper [26].
As the samples were subjected to accelerated thermal Interfacial tension of pure mineral oil is found to reduce
ageing, the rate of degradation of the samples is increased. very rapidly with thermal ageing, whereas IFT of mixture oil
With increase in ageing of the samples, the area under the has reduced with low reduction rate. The difference in IFT
absorbance curves tend to increase. The area under the curve observed before and after stressing is 20.75 mN/m and 8.65
of every test sample has been calculated to understand the mN/m for MO and MSO respectively indicating lower
exact degradation trending of all the samples. The trending in oxidation rate of MSO. This is because, rate of hydrolysis is
interfacial tension for MO and MSO has also been monitored proportional to temperature, so with increased hydrolysis there
periodically. will be a considerable control on degradation in esters group
The increase in area under the curve and reduction in IFT as [21]. Higher degradation of MO and controlled degradation of
a function of test duration for all the samples are illustrated in MSO at higher temperatures indicates the suitability of
Figure 7 for all the four test temperatures. mixture oil as an alternative liquid dielectric for transformers.

Figure 5. XRD patterns of fresh and aged kraft papers in various insulation Figure 6. Smooth curve of XRD patterns of fresh and aged kraft papers in
fluids various insulation fluids
2480 U. M. Rao et al.: Performance Analysis of Alternate Liquid Dielectrics for Power Transformers

c. At 170 C temperature.
a. At 110C temperature.

b. At 150 C temperature. d. At 200C temperature.

Figure 7. Illustration of trending in area under spectral curves and IFT with thermal ageing

As discussed earlier absorbance of the oils was monitored 4.2 VISUAL OBSERVATIONS
for every 24 hours of test duration. Absorbance of a sample is The major visual observation in the field of condition
estimated by the variation in intensity of light which is monitoring of insulation oils is their physical appearance or
actually transferred through the sample. This transmittance is color. The color of the oil indicates the degree of dissolved decay
based on the dissolved decay products in the sample. products in oil as a result of ageing. The color of the fresh
Hence, absorbance is considered as one of the important samples and the significant variations observed at several stages
ageing markers for insulation oil samples. The absorbance values of experimentation of all the four samples are highlighted in
obtained at a constant temperature were used to find the mean Figure 9.
absorbance at that particular temperature to observe the trending As the samples were subjected to accelerated thermal
in absorbance as a function of temperature as shown in Figure 8. ageing in presence of copper-cellulose assembly, both the
The absorbance of the synthetic ester is less when insulation oil and insulation paper have their corresponding
compared to mineral oil throughout the experiment. Natural oxidation levels and hence deterioration. Visual determination
ester performance when compared to mineral oil is inferior at of color is an effective indication of deterioration of the
lower temperatures and superior at higher temperatures. insulation oil. The change in color of the oils with ageing has
Observations on MO and MSO concluded that addition of been observed and it is found that this change in synthetic
esters to mineral oil results in reduced degradation. ester and natural ester is less as compared to mineral oil based
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 23, No. 4; August 2016 2481

sedimentation on the walls of the tank which is commonly

referred as polymerized ageing product [27]. This visualization is
shown in Figure 10.


Figure 10. Visual graphic of sedimentation on the interior surface.

Such an alluviation on the interior walls of the tank surface

leads to imminent corrosion, blockage of oil ducts and hamper
oil flow which reduces the ability of cooling.
To analyze the variations in kraft paper crystal parameters,
Figure 8. Illustration of trending in absorbance of the oils as a function of test
temperatures. crystal size (D) and percentage relative crystallinity(Crel) were
calculated for fresh kraft paper and aged kraft papers in MO,
MO SE NE MSO SE, NE, MSO. The values of crystal parameters are tabulated
in Table 1.
Table 1. Kraft paper crystal parameters of fresh and aged kraft papers.
Oil used for
After D () Crel %
Fresh 30.8 63.68

After MO 14.1 55.2

SE 24.58 59.23

After NE 22.30 59.4

200C MSO 16.08 57.64

Figure 9. Variations in color of various insulating fluids with ageing.

It is observed that cellulose crystal size and relative
crystallinity are reduced with thermal ageing in all the papers.
liquids. MO and MSO are found to be dark blackish and dark
Nevertheless this reduction is found less in case of paper aged
brown respectively and are almost equal in appearance. As
in synthetic esters and natural esters indicating less
discussed earlier the experiment is forced to terminate after 48
degradation of insulation paper with use of ester dielectrics.
hours of heating at 200C temperature because of higher
The degradation rate in MSO is found better than MO. This
sludge formation in MO. At this stage of experimentation the
implies that the crystalline portions of insulation paper in MO
color of both samples is significantly dark and contaminants
are significantly damaged. Through XRD analysis it is
are not clearly visible. However efforts have been made for
conferred that thermal ageing damages the structure of the
visualization of the contaminants by taking 30 ml of samples
cellulose and hence effecting the performance of the
in a test tube and placing in front of the light emitting source
insulation paper. But this effect can be controlled by
such that contamination is made visible. There is a
application of ester dielectrics as a whole or in proper
considerable difference in the decay products within the
proportions. The variations in crystal parameters for fresh and
samples. Mineral oil is found with more contaminants,
aged kraft papers in various oils are statistically illustrated in
whereas MSO is found to be free from contamination. The
Figure 11.
contamination in MSO is controlled by the ester group which
keeps the paper dry by timely absorbing the moisture for its 4.4 DESIGN AND MONITORING ASPECTS
hydrolysis reaction. Insulation system designs for ester based dielectrics will
Deposits on the interior of the glass ampoules reflect the remain same as intended for mineral insulating oil filled
sedimentation on the interior of the transformer tank. These transformers [28], [29]. For MSO also insulation designing
deposits were found more with MO and MSO; nevertheless it is parameters remains same because, 80% of MSO is mineral oil to
found less in case of MSO when compared to MO. NE and SE which 20% of SE has been blended to form a mixed fluid.
tanks were found clean. Albeit the bottom surface of NE and SE Comparison of main properties of MSO and MO are
were clear with no contamination, NE tank indicated the highlighted in Table 2 below.
2482 U. M. Rao et al.: Performance Analysis of Alternate Liquid Dielectrics for Power Transformers

and formation of gel. Relative permittivity of esters and

70 D() %Crel mixtures is higher than mineral oils and close to the relative
permittivity of insulation paper [6]. Hence, insulation stress in
case of esters and mixture oils filled transformers will be low,
allowing higher withstand voltage of the insulation system.
Generally, fixing breakdown voltages is a challenge for
insulation system designers, hence insulation system is
designed by an additional safety factor [28]. Thermal
performance of esters and mixture is found much better than
mineral oils hence, application of these fluids avoids use of
deluge systems and firewalls between transformers.
Pipe setup installed for retrofilling and cooling tubes is to
10 be monitored for gelling in order to avoid reduction in
effective diameter and abrasion of the pipes. Hence, timely
0 cleaning or anti abrasion coating is recommended to the
Fresh MO SE NE MSO industry. The significant design and monitoring aspects are
highlighted as follows:
Figure 11. Stastical illustration of crystal parameters of fresh and aged kraft
papers indicating reduced degradation of kraft paper aged in SE. Increased viscosity requires higher impregnation time to
diffuse into cellulose paper, thick insulation materials
Table 2. Comparison of main properties of MO and MSO. may require semi bored holes/openings such that oil is
Property MO MSO impregnated faster.
Density (kg/m3) @ 20C
0.821 0.880 Higher viscosity causes higher axial winding temperature
ASTM D1298
gradient in naturally cooled transformer, hence cooling
Breakdown voltage(kV) ASTM D877
Fresh 55 62 ducts in the windings need to be designed larger to keep
Aged* 24.2 43.9 an optimal value of the axial fluid temperature gradient.
Viscosity (cSt) @20 C [30]
ISO 3104
16 19.44 Higher breakdown voltages require less insulation and
Dielectric constant @25 C [30] hence, the additional safety factor for insulation systems
2.2 >2.3
IEC 60247 may be suppressed while deigning.
Dissipation factor @90 C [30]
IEC 60247
<10 104 0.002 Anti-abrasion coating of cooling tubes is recommended.
Water solubility(ppm) [30] Dissolved gases analysis may be done by adapting duval
45 310
IEC 60814 triangle available for non-mineral oils and IEEE standard
Absorbance (Abs) ASTM D6802 C57.155-2014 for interpretation of gases generated in
Fresh 0.0223 0.0027
Aged* 7.4639 6.0574 ester based oils.
Dissolved Decay Products(Abs x nm)*
477.07 433.78 Monitoring of pipe setups to avoid gelling is
ASTM D6802
Interfacial Tension( mN/m) ASTM D971
Fresh 40.5 28.5 The selection of the above discussed parameters enhances
Aged* 17.6 19.3 performance, operational safety and extends the life span of
Flash point (C)
110175 >200 the transformer leading to improved asset management.
Fire point (C)
110185 >200
Fresh Colorless Colorless The objective of the present work is to gear up replacement
Aged* Dark Black Dark Brown of mineral insulating oils with ester based oils and mixed
insulating oils. In this work mineral oil, synthetic ester, natural
Compatibility with other materials Acceptable Acceptable
ester and mixture of mineral and synthetic ester oils were
*Observed values after the aging conditions in section 2.2. subjected to accelerated thermal ageing and monitored for
degradation of oils and insulation paper.
However, the factors which affect the design of ester filled Performance of liquid insulation is analyzed by adapting
transformers will slightly have an impact on design for mixture UV spectroscopy, Interfacial tension and visual observations.
oil transformer. Some design and monitoring factors that are to Observations based on spectral curves, absorbance, color and
be taken into consideration for application of esters based sedimentation indicate reduced degradation of synthetic esters.
dielectrics and MSO are discussed in this section. Interfacial tension monitoring indicates reduced oxidation rate
As discussed earlier, viscosity of ester group oils increases of mixed oil in comparison to mineral oil.
with increase in rate of oxidation, which retards the flow rate X-ray diffraction analysis is carried out to study the
of the liquid and spends much time in cooling tubes hence, deterioration of cellulose parameters (crystal size and relative
proper design of cooling tubes is required to restrict corrosion crystallanity) for kraft paper aged in various oils. XRD
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 23, No. 4; August 2016 2483

analysis indicate that rate of deterioration of kraft paper is less [16] U. M. Rao, Y. R. Sood and R. K. Jarial, Oxidation Stability
Enhancement of a blend of Mineral oil and Synthetic Ester, IEEE
in synthetic ester oil. XRD analysis comparison between
Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 43-47, 2016.
mineral oil and mixed oil indicate reduced degradation of solid [17] Test method for determination of the relative content of dissolved
insulation in mixed oil. decay products in mineral insulating oils by spectrophotometry, ASTM
standard D6802-02, 2002-06-10.
The use of synthetic ester and mixed oil as an alternative [18] Test Method for Interfacial Tension of Oil Against water by the Ring
insulating fluid in power transformer will extend the life of Method, ASTM Standard D971-99a, 2004.
solid and liquid insulation systems. However, there is a need [19] Code of practice for maintenance and supervision of mineral insulating oil
to study the behavior of solid insulation in synthetic ester and in electrical equipment, Indian standards, IS 1866: 2000, 2007.
[20] R.-J. Liao, C. Tang and L.-J. Yang, Thermal Ageing Micro-scale Analysis
MSO by significant diagnostic tools (thermography analysis, of Power Transformer Pressboard, IEEE Trans. Dielectr. Electr. Insul, Vol.
expansion/ contraction of cellulose, FTIR) and the behavior of 15, No. 5, pp. 1281-1287, 2008.
moisture in oil/paper insulation system for mixed oils. [21] P. Verma, M. Roy, A. Verma, V. Bhanot and O. Pandey, Assessment of
degradation of transformer insulation paper by SEM and X-RD techniques,
IEEE Intl. Conf. Solid Dielectrics, pp. 657- 660, 2004.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT [22] H. P. Klug and L. E. Alexander, X-Ray Diffraction Procedures: For
Polycrystalline and Amorphous Materials, 2nd Edition, John Wiley &
We would like to thank Department of Science and Sons, New York, 1974.
Technology, India for technical support through TIFAC [23] D. Martin, T. Saha, T. Gray and K. Wyper, Determining Water in
CORE grant for Power transformer diagnostics center and Transformer Paper Insulation: Effect of Measuring Oil Water Activity at
Center for Material Science at NIT Hamirpur, India. We Two Different Locations, IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 18-
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also thank Government of India for financial support through [24] D. Martin, T. Saha, R. Dee, B. Gary and C. Srinivasan, Determining
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orginizational-savings/ (accessed on 18/02/2016). U.Mohan Rao (S15). He is a member of DEIS. He
[8] H.M.Wilhelm, L. Tulio, R. Jasinski, G.Almeida, Ageing markers for in obtained his B.Tech in electrical and electronics
service natural ester based insulating fluids, IEEE Trans. Dielectr. engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological
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[9] C. Perrier,A. Beroual Experimental Investigations on Insulating Liquids for Monitoring and control from National Institute of
Power Transformers: Mineral, Ester, and Sili-cone Oils, IEEE Electr. Insul. Technology, Hamirpur (H.P.) in 2012. Presently he
Mag., Vol. 25, No. 6; pp.6-13, 2009. is a research scholar in the Department of Electrical
[10] C. P. McShane, Letter to the editor, IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol. 18, No. Engineering, National Institute of Technology,
3, pp. 6-7 2002. Hamirpur (H.P.) His research interests include
[11] C. G. Azcarraga and A. Cavallini, U.Piovan, A Comparison of the Condition monitoring of electrical equipment, Power transformer diagnostics
Voltage Withstand Properties of Ester and Mineral Oils, IEEE Electr. and Liquid Dielectrics.
Insul. Mag., Vol. 30, No 5, pp. 6-14, 2014.
[12] Z. D. Wang, X. Yi, J. P. Huang, J. V. Hinshaw, and J. Noakhes, Fault
gas generation in natural-ester fluid under localized thermal faults, Yog Raj Sood (SM10). He is a member of DEIS. He
IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol. 28, No. 6; pp. 4556, 2012. obtained his B.E. degree in Electrical Engineering
[13] D. Martin, Jaury Wijaya, Nick Lelekakis, Dejan Sisa, Nick Heyward with Honors and M.E. in Power System from
Thermal Analysis of Two Transformers Filled With Different Oils, Punjab Engineering College Chandigarh (U.T.), in
IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 39-45, 2014. 1984 and 1987, respectively. He has been awarded
[14] C. Perrier, A. Beroual, J.L. Bessede, Improvement of Power Ph.D. degree from Indian Institute of Technology,
Transformers by using Mixtures of Mineral Oil with Synthetic Esters, Roorkee in 2003. He joined Regional Engineering
IEEE Trans. Dielectr. Electr. Insul, Vol. 13, No 3, pp. 556-564, 2006. College Kurukshetra in 1986. Since 2003 he is
[15] I. Fofana, V. Wasserberg, H. Borsi, E. Gockenbach, Challenge of working as a Professor in the Electrical Engineering
Mixed Insulating Liquids for Use in High-Voltage Transformers, Part 2: Department of National Institute of Technology,
Investigations of Mixed Liquid Impregnated Paper Insulation, IEEE Hamirpur (H.P.), India. He has published a number of research papers. He has
Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 5-16, 2002. been awarded many awards, prizes and appreciation letters for his excellence
2484 U. M. Rao et al.: Performance Analysis of Alternate Liquid Dielectrics for Power Transformers
in research academic and administration performance. His research interests Raj Kumar Jarial (M15). He is a member of DEIS.
are in the area of Deregulation of power system, Power network optimization, He received his Bachelors degree [B. Sc. Engg.
Condition monitoring of power transformers, High voltage engineering, Non- (Electrical)], and Masters degree (Power System) in
Conventional sources of energy. 1989 and 1992 respectively from the National
Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, India. Since
1994, he has been with the department of Electrical
Engineering, NIT Hamirpur India. Presently he is also
the coordinator for the power transformer diagnostics
center at NIT, Hamirpur, India. His current research
interest includes Power Electronics based drives and
High Voltage Engineering.