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A-60 2012 IEEE International Conference on Condition Monitoring and Diagnosis

23-27 September 2012, Bali, Indonesia

Insulation Ageing Diagnosis of XLPE Power Cables

under Service Conditions

Fei Liu, Xingyi Huang, Jing Wang, Pingkai Jiang*

Shanghai Key Lab of Electrical Insulation and Thermal Aging, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai 200240, Peoples Republic of China

AbstractForty percent of transmission and distribution power parameters were usually electrical parameters commonly used
grids are composed of underground cables in Shanghai, a city in preventive tests of cable, and the thresholds of membership
with abundance surface water. The cables are subjected to a functions were just determined by consulting division rules of
variety of stress factors due to the complicated underground insulation state from previous evaluation standards. While
environment and the ageing process is accelerated consequently.
there are sound bases for the determination of characteristic
Lots of cables have been in service for over 20 years and there
tends to be frequent accidents due to cable failures. So its parameters and thresholds of membership functions in this
necessary to research the insulation ageing state of cables under paper, which is superior to previous researches.
unique service conditions. Six physical and chemical analysis had
been performed on samples of about 300 cable lines in Shanghai, II. INSULATION TESTS OF CABLE
including water tree investigation, tensile test, dielectric Six insulation tests were performed on 466 samples
spectroscopy test, TGA, FTIR and electrical ageing test. By removed by utility from about 300 in-service power cable
statistical analysis and fuzzy clustering, the parameters for lines due to insulation failure or replacement schedule.
identifying and quantifying the XLPE cable insulation aging state
were presented and the influence of laying method and sampling A. Water Tree Investigation
section on the degradation of cable insulation was also studied. The cable insulation was sliced into wafers, which were
Based on fuzzy theory, a cable insulation ageing diagnosis model
was established, which was proved to be applicable by case study.
dyed and placed under optical microscope to investigate water
A database was also developed for cable maintenance according treeing situation. In order to characterize water treeing degree
to the multi-parameter test data and diagnosis model. of a service aged cable, the maximum length of water trees C1
was measured and the amount of water trees per unit volume
Keywords- XLPE cable; insulation diagnosis; statistical was counted as water tree content C2.
analysis; fuzzy clustering
B. Dielectric Spectroscopy Test
I. INTRODUCTION A characteristic dielectric loss (tan) peak of cable samples
Deterioration in XLPE cable insulation often take place due was found to appear in the frequency range of 30M to 50MHz.
to electrical, thermal, mechanical and environmental stress. A thermal ageing test on 10kV new cables in an air oven was
Water treeing phenomenon is the main reason causing the designed and test results indicate that the peak value increases
ageing of XLPE cables, especially the middle and low voltage with temperature and ageing time. So the dielectric loss peak
cables. In some countries such as Germany, Japan ,etc., it was value C3 was used for characterization of the degree of
proposed that the insulation state of in-service cables can be thermo-oxidative ageing in cable insulation.
inferred by testing fault samples removed from the same cable C. FTIR Spectroscopy
lines [1].
Lots of underground cables have been in service for over 20 The carbonyl index was calculated from the FTIR curve,
years in Shanghai, a city with abundance surface water and which was defined as the ratio of the absorption at 1720cm-1
there tends to be frequent accidents due to cable failures. In (carbonyl band) to the absorption at 2010cm-1[6]. The
order to diagnose the insulation ageing state of cables under carbonyl index C4 can be also used for characterization of the
unique service conditions, a large number of 10-110kV XLPE degree of thermo-oxidative ageing in cable insulation.
cable samples were removed from in-service cable lines by D. Tensile Test
Shanghai Electric Power Company and some physical and
The wafers of cable insulation were further processed into
chemical properties of the samples were tested.
dumbbell test pieces for tensile test. The tensile strength C5
Fuzzy diagnosis has been used extensively in the fault
and elongation at break C6 were used to represent the degree
diagnosis and condition assessment of power transformer[2].
of thermal decomposition and thermal oxidation
For the fuzzy diagnosis of cable insulation, few literatures are
decomposition in cable insulation.
involved[3-5].In those researches, the characteristic

978-1-4673-1018-5/12/$31.00 2012 IEEE 647

E. Electrical Ageing Test to be accelerated (activation energy decreases) as the degree
The AC step voltage breakdown test was performed on of in-service ageing increases (tensile strength decreases).
wafers sliced from cable insulation at the room temperature. In There is strong positive correlation relationship between
this paper, the accumulative breakdown strength C7 was carbonyl index C4 and accumulative breakdown strength C7.
defined as the sum of products of each step applied electric It is known that the increase of microscopic imperfections will
filed strength and the corresponding time of duration, which enhance the dielectric breakdown strength for solid
was used to characterize the ability of electrical ageing material[7]. Obviously, the increase of Carbonyl index
resistance of cable insulation. indicates that the thermo-oxidative ageing causes enhanced
polarity of XLPE.
F. Thermogravimetric Analysis
B. Two Sample t-Test
Thermogravimetric analysis performed under N2 flow was
used to investigate the thermal degradation of cable insulation. According to cable laying method, the tensile strength test
The activation energy C8 was calculated from the TG curve data were divided into two subsets, one for direct-buried
by Coast-redfern method. The lower the activation energy, the cables and the other for duct cables. The p-values obtained
more easily the thermal decomposition reaction goes on. with MinitabTM software for the Andersen-Darling tests on the
two subsets are 0.451 and 0.103 respectively. The Andersen-
III. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF INSULATION TEST DATA Darling test is a widely used statistical test for normality. If p-
The regression analysis has been performed between every value exceeds 0.005, the data are assumed to be normally
two test parameters. In addition, for each test parameter, the distributed. Then a Two Sample t-Test was performed. If p-
Two Sample t-Test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) have value is below 0.01, it is believed there exists significant
been performed to analyze the influence of laying method and difference between data subsets. The p-value obtained with
sampling section on the degradation of cable insulation, MinitabTM software for t-Test is 0.003 and the subset means of
respectively. All the statistical analysis was performed in direct-buried and duct cables are 26.36 and 27.37 respectively
MinitabTM software. The results of statistical analysis with according to the Andersen-Darling tests. It indicates that the
strong correlation in the regression analysis and significant direct-buried cables are more susceptible to insulation
differences in the t-Test or ANOVA Analysis are displayed as degradation than duct cables. The inference is reasonable
follows: because the surrounding environment of direct-buried cables is
A. Regression Analysis usually believed to be more hash than duct cables. And tensile
strength is also proved to be an effective test parameter for
The results of regression analysis are shown in Tab.1. identifying the cable insulation ageing state.
The symbol in Tab.1 means positive correlation. In
statistical hypothesis testing, a probability (P-value) is usually C. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
used to quantify the strength of the evidence against the null 1) Influence of sampling section on tensile strength
hypothesis. For the distribution hypothesis test of a linear According to cable sampling section, the tensile strength
regression, P<0.05 indicates a linear relationship is test data was divided into three subsets, one for samples
established. removed from non-fault section of cable line, one for samples
There is very strong positive correlation relationship from fault section due to operating troubles of cable line and
between water tree content C1 and maximum water tree length one for samples from fault section due to external injury of
C2. The water tree investigation method by microscope is cable insulation. All the subsets have passed the Andersen-
proved to be effective. Darling test for normality. The p-values obtained with
There is very strong positive correlation relationship MinitabTM software for these tests are 0.514, 0.125 and 0.297
between tensile strength C5 and elongation at break C6. The respectively. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to find
result is logical and the tensile test is also proved to be how significantly subsets are different from each other. If p-
effective. value doesnt exceed 0.01, the subset means are assumed to be
There is very strong positive correlation relationship significantly different. The p-value obtained with MinitabTM
between tensile strength C5 and activation energy C8. The software for ANOVA is 0.01, indicating that the tensile
result indicates that the degradation of cable insulation tends strength is significantly different with respect to different
sampling sections. And the 95% confidence intervals for mean
TABLE I. RESULTS OF REGRESSION ANALYSIS indicates that the tensile property of cables removed from fault
Amount of
section due to external injury is inferior to cables from fault
Correlated P-
Abnormal Percentage of
section due to operating troubles on the whole, with cables
of Data from non-fault section in between.
Variables value Observation The Total
Sets 2) Influence of sampling section on the accumulative
breakdown strength
C1C2 0.000 278 17 6.1%
The accumulative breakdown strength test data was also
C4C7 0.015 266 14 5.3%
divided into three subsets according to cable sampling section.
C5C6 0.000 265 15 5.7%
All the subsets have passed the Ryan-Joiner test for normality,
C5C8 0.001 265 22 8.3%
another statistical test for normality based on correlation. The

correlation coefficient R obtained with MinitabTM software for seemingly disordered test data of service aged cable samples.
these tests are 0.98, 0.96 and 0. 97 respectively. Therefore the data of strongly correlated parameters water tree
The p-value obtained with MinitabTM software for ANOVA content C1 and maximum water tree length C2, tensile
is 0.003, indicating that the accumulative breakdown strength strength C5 and activation energy C8, carbonyl index C4 and
is significantly different with respect to different sampling accumulative breakdown strength C7 were combined into
sections. The 95% confidence intervals for mean indicates that three two-dimensional data sets. The clustering centers
the breakdown strength of cables removed from fault section obtained by fuzzy C-means clustering performed in matlab
due to external injury is inferior to cables from fault section software on the above three two-dimensional data sets are
due to operating troubles on the whole, with cables from non- shown in Tab.3.
fault section in between. The conclusion is consistent with the
C. Translation of input and output variables into fuzzy
Analysis of Variance for tensile strength. It is known that the
tensile strength and breakdown strength are just the two
commonly used functional parameters for cable insulation 1) Characteristic fuzzy variables and state fuzzy variables
evaluation. As is mentioned above, the Two Sample t-Test and The input and output variables were translated into three
ANOVA test have been performed for all the 8 test fuzzy linguistic variables - mild, moderate, severe. The fuzzy
parameters. But there exists no significant difference in all the variables are shown in Tab.4 and Tab.5 .
other test parameters except tensile strength and breakdown 2) Establishment of membership function
strength. So it can be sure that the tensile strength and a) Type of membership function
breakdown strength are effective diagnosis parameters for
The trapezoid type membership function VS (x) and VL (x)
identifying the ageing state of service aged cable insulation.
was adopted to describe the fuzzy variable with the trend of
IV. FUZZY DIAGNOSIS OF CABLE INSULATION being small and the fuzzy variable with the trend of being
large respectively, the triangle type membership function
The fuzzy clustering diagnosis method was adopted in the VM (x) was adopted to describe the fuzzy variable with the
paper and fuzzy C-means clustering was applied.
trend of being moderate in this paper. The three membership
A. Determination of input and output variables functions adopted are shown in Fig.1.
A set of characteristic parameters showing strong b) Threshold of membership function
correlation in the regression analysis or significant differences The clustering centers obtained by fuzzy clustering were
in the T-test or ANOVA Analysis were selected as input taken as the thresholds of membership functions describing
variables of fuzzy diagnosis, which comprehensively reflects the characteristic fuzzy variables (Tab.6)
various ageing phenomenon(Tab.2).
The state parameter A was defined as output variable of TABLE III. CLUSTERING CENTERS
fuzzy diagnosis. It is a comprehensive evaluation parameter of
Clustering center C1 C5 C7 C8
cable insulation ageing state.
1 17.6 27.3 1127.2 287.0
B. Fuzzy clustering 2 240.8 26.3 790.3 266.2
It is not difficult to understand that the characteristic 3 2752.8 25.8 413.8 207.5
parameters reflecting the same ageing phenomenon must be
strongly correlated with each other. So the data of test TABLE IV. CHARACTERISTIC FUZZY VARIABLES
parameters showing strong correlation in regression analysis Characteristic
can be combined into a multi-dimensional data set for fuzzy Fuzzy Variable
clustering. And the obtained clustering centers can be taken as C11, C12 ,C13 Water tree content is mildly, moderately, severely large
C51 ,C52, C53 Tensile strength is mildly, moderately, severely small
the thresholds between insulation ageing states of the Accumulative breakdown strength is mildly,
corresponding ageing phenomenon reflected by the correlated C71 ,C72, C73
moderately ,severely small
test parameters. By this means, the valuable data for fuzzy C81, C82, C83 Activation energy is mildly, moderately, severely small
clustering are able to be mined from a huge amount of
TABLE II. INPUT VARIABLES State Fuzzy Variable Comment
A1, A2, A3 Cable insulation is mildly, moderately, severely aged
Symb Characteristic
ol Parameter
C1 Water tree content Characterization of water treeing degree
Characterization of thermal decomposition
C5 Tensile strength
and thermal oxidation decomposition
C7 Characterization of electrical ageing
breakdown strength
C8 Activation energy Characterization of thermal decomposition Figure 1. Fuzzy distribution

The information of cable lines for case study is shown in
Characteristic Thresholds of Membership
Fuzzy Variable
Function Type
Function (a, b, c) Tab.8. The results of fuzzy diagnosis are shown in Tab.9,
C11 , C12, C13 VS (x ) , VM (x ) , VL (x ) (17.6, 240.8, 2752.8)
which can reflect the comprehensive ageing state of cable
insulation well. Thus a cable insulation ageing diagnosis
C51, C52, C53 VL (x ) , VM (x) , VS (x ) (25.8, 26.3, 27.3)
model based on the above fuzzy inference was established. A
C71, C72, C73 VL (x ) , VM (x) , VS (x ) (413.8, 790.3, 1127.2) database was also developed for cable maintenance according
C81, C82 , C83 VL (x ) , VM (x) , VS (x ) (207.5, 266.2, 287.0) to the cable information presented by utility, multi-parameter
test data and diagnosis model.
D. Rules of fuzzy diagnosis
Consulting the results of fuzzy clustering and experience of VI. CONCLUSION
experts, the rules of fuzzy diagnosis were summed up as the Based on multi-parameter test data of a large number of
following 10 items using fuzzy if-then language(Tab.7). service aged cable samples, the parameters for identifying and
The accuracy of fuzzy rules is influenced by expertise and quantifying the XLPE cable insulation ageing state under
experience of diagnosis experts, sample capacity and source. unique service conditions were presented by statistical
With the supplement of fault examples, the rules can be analysis and fuzzy clustering. And a cable insulation ageing
updated to improve the accuracy of diagnosis. diagnosis model was established by fuzzy inference, which
was proved to be applicable by case study.
E. Fuzzy inference
The fuzzy inference was performed using intensity transfer TABLE VIII. INFORMATION OF CABLE LINES
method. In this paper, the conclusion of fuzzy diagnosis is Aj, Date of
where Aj(x)=max(A1(x), A2(x), A3(x)). No. of Laying
Bringing Into Sampling Section
Cable Line Method
TABLE VII. THE RULES OF FUZZY DIAGNOSIS fault section ( external
1 2001-10-20 direct-buried
No. Fuzzy If-Then Rules fault section (operating
1 If C13 then A3 2 1996-10-18 direct-buried
2 If C73 then A3 fault section (external
3 If C53 and C83 then A3 3 2006-08-24 duct
4 If C12 and C52 and C83 then A3 4 2001-09-14 direct-buried non fault section
5 If C12 and C72 and C81 then A2 5 2006-04-27 direct-buried non fault section
6 If C12 and C72 and C82 then A2 6 2006-11-01 duct non fault section
7 If C12 and C51and C72 and C83 then A2 7 2004.03.01 duct non fault section
8 If C12 and C52 and C71and C82 then A2 8 2007-01-29 duct non fault section
9 If C11 and C51 and C71 and C81 then A1 9 2005-10-24 direct-buried non fault section
10 If C11 and C52 and C71 and C81 then A1


Water Tree Tensile Accumulative Breakdown Membership Grades of

No. of Activation Energy State Fuzzy Variables / Result of Fuzzy
Content C1 Strength C5 Strength C7 (kV/mmmin
Cable Line C8 (KJ/mol ) Diagnosis
(pcs /cm3) (MPa ) ) A1, A2, A3
1 5793.2 25.2 652 278.8 0, 0, 1 severely aged
2 85.5 25.7 855 216.9 0, 0.2, 0.8 severely aged
3 305.7 23.5 1023 104.0 0, 0, 1 severely aged
4 243.4 28.30 703 274.9 00.60.2 moderately aged
5 239.8 26.6 842 267.4 ( 0, 0.8, 0 ) moderately aged
6 326.3 31.9 685 277.7 0, 0.6, 0.3 moderately aged
7 7.6 30 988 291.2 ( 0.6, 0, 0 ) mildly aged
8 0.0 26.7 1043 283.5 0.6, 0, 0 mildly aged
9 0.0 32.2 1233 303.8 1, 0, 0 mildly aged
[4] Jia-jia Huan, Gang Wang, and Hai-feng Li, Risk assessment of XLPE
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