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1074 IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Volume 3, No.

3, July 1988



M. Davis Hwang W. Mack Grady H. Walter Sanders, Jr.

Member Senior Member Senior Member
ESCA Corporation University of Texas at Austin Texas Electric Cooperatives, Inc.
Bellevue, WA 98005 Austin, TX 78712 Austin, TX 78766

Abstract Winding losses increase when a transformer sup- urements for a similar unit have already been published by the
plies nonsinusoidal load currents. The corresponding increase in authors [7], and these were repeated for this unit. The calcula-
winding temperature is usually assumed to increase propor- tions were performed using a finite element based numerical algo-
tionately with loss. Also, the position of the winding hot-spot is rithm. This technique is now expanded to combine electrical and
generally presumed to be fixed, regardless of harmonic current thermal models and to provide an overall evaluation of the impact
content. The purpose of this paper is to compare winding tem- of harmonic currents on small distribution transformers.
perature predictions from a finite element based method with The purpose of this paper is to compare winding tempera-
actual measured values for a 10 kVA oil-immersed wire-wound ture predictions from a finite element based iterative algorithm
single phase distribution transformer. The results confirm the with actual measurements for the test transformer at common
prediction algorithm and illustrate that the position of the hot-spot low-ordered harmonics. An iterative algorithm is used to solve
remains basically unchanged when harmonics are present. both electrical and thermal problems simultaneously, thereby
allowing complete interaction between temperature and winding
INTRODUCTION resistivity in every turn. The results compare favorably. In addi-
The widespread use of solid state controlled loads has tion, it is observed that the position of the winding hot-spot
increased harmonic levels significantly during the past several remains basically unchanged for typical harmonic levels.
years. Harmonics affect both power system operation and power
system components, thereby necessitating a better understanding APPLICATION OF THE FINITE ELEMENT METHOD
of their overall impact. Since distribution transformers are usu- Use of the finite element method to calculate harmonic
ally the interface between a power system and a harmonics pro- impedances of transformers has been described in the authors
ducing load, they are components of major interest in this regard. previous publication [7]. The procedure has been shown to pro-
Although analytical and numerical methods for analyzing har- duce very accurate results. Since this procedure has been
monic problems in transformers exist [l-41, an overall evaluation described in detail already, only the thermal finite element prob-
of the effect of harmonics on transformer temperatures and loss lem is presented here.
of life is needed.
Let the temperature rise @(x,y) in the windings be defined
Increases in power loss and temperature rise are the primary as
harmonics-related concern in transformers. The presence of har-
monic currents requires transformer deration [ 5 ] . Usually, two @(x,y) = T(x,y) - To,, 9 (1)
assumptions are made during this procedure:
where T(x,y) is the temperature at winding position (x,y), and
. the increase in temperature is proportional to losses To,, is the temperature at the bottom of the oil duct. The steady
the position of the winding hot-spot is fixed. state two-dimensional heat conduction equation [8-91 within the
Using these, increased losses are calculated with the frequency winding cross section is
squared rule [5], and the transformer is derated to maintain con-
stant winding loss. In actuality, winding eddy-current losses are
inversely proportional to winding temperature rise [6]. Hence, it
is important to consider the interaction between winding losses where
and temperature when making an evaluation of the overall impact K,, K ~ : Thermal conductivities in the x and y directions for
of harmonic currents on transformers. the conductors or insulation materials
For the purpose of this research, a specially-equipped 10 q: Heat source in the conductors, zero in the insulation
kVA, 72001240 volt single phase distribution transformer was materials.
constructed and used to conduct thermal tests with harmonic Note that the heat source, or power loss density, exists only in
currents through the 25th multiple of 60 Hz. This wire-wound the winding conductors, and not in the insulation materials or air
unit contains 36 thermocouples implanted in the windings, in the gaps. Applying the finite element method to (2) produces
oil, and on the tank. Electrical impedance calculations and meas-
KSO=Q, (3)
K: Thermal conductivity of the conductors and insulation
87 SM 536-6 A paper recommended and approved
by the I E E E Transformers Committee of the IEEE Power S: Square matrix with elements defined by the finite ele-
Engineering Society for presentation at the I E E E / ment method
PES 1987 Summer Meeting, San Francisco, California,
July 12 - 17, 1987. Manuscript submitted 0: Unknown column vector of temperature rises for the
January 27, 1987; made available for printing winding finite elements
April 17, 1987. Q: Known column vector of heat loss per unit length in
each element.

0885-8977/88/0700-1074$01.00@1988 IEEE

The discrete temperature rise in the windings is obtained by solv- The geometric configuration of the 10 kVA shell-type test
ing (3). transformer is shown in Figures 1(A) and 1(B) (without tank and
In order to solve (3), boundary conditions for the winding insulating oil). Winding conductors in both cross sections are
surfaces must be determined using arranged as N-parallel sets. The gaps between windings and

a0 + a
an E - e,] = 0, (4)
winding layers represent oil ducts. Insulating oil circulates
upward through these ducts, and heat created within the windings
passes through the conductors and insulating material to the cir-
where n is the direction normal to the winding surface, a is the culating oil.
heat transfer coefficient, and 0,is the oil duct temperature rise. Discretization of the thermal finite elements in the test
Since the winding surface is surrounded by insulating oil, a transformer is performed with linear rectangular elements. For
represents the oil duct heat transfer coefficient. Complicated each winding set, boundary grid lines are established at winding
thermal tests are required to find the true a,which is a nonlinear surfaces which contact insulating oil. The temperature of hor-
function of temperature and oil duct height [lo]. However, for izontal boundary lines is assumed to be constant and equal to
long narrow oil ducts like those in the test transformer, this pro- either the top or bottom-oil duct temperature. Temperature in the
cedure can be simplified by assuming that the oil duct tempera- vertical oil ducts is assumed to vary linearly.
ture varies linearly between the bottom-oil duct and top-oil duct. Due to device symmetry, only one-half of each cross section
In other words, a is assumed to be constant and is calculated
shown in Figure 1 need be modeled. Likewise, since the wind-
from the average oil duct and winding temperatures.
ings are assumed to have the same temperature distribution
The bottom-oil duct, top-oil duct, and average winding tem- whether inside or outside the winding window, only one cross
perature rises are. calculated using a thermal analog circuit model section need be modeled. These assumptions have been verified
(described in the next section). Therefore, there are two steps with thermal test results.
needed to calculate winding temperature distribution at any
specified power loss level: THERMAL ANALOG CIRCUIT MODEL
A fifth-order thermal'analog circuit model for the 10 kVA
1. Find the oil duct heat transfer coefficient and establish the
test transformer with natural oil cooling is shown in Figure 2.
boundary conditions using the analog model
Nodes 1-5 represent high voltage windings, low voltage windings,
2. Solve the finite element conduction equation (3) using the core, oil, and tank, respectively. T1 and T2 are the average tem-
boundary conditions. perature rises in the high and low voltage windings. T3-T5
denote the temperature rises above ambient in the core, bottom-
oil duct, and tank. Heat inputs Q1, 4 2 , and 43 are the power
losses in the high voltage winding, low voltage winding, and
core. Power loss in the tank wall is neglected. Parameters G1-
G8 are the heat conductances between thermal nodes.
Parameters (3148 must be determined from thermal tests.
The procedure used is similar to that proposed by Lindsay [ 111.
First, several sets of temperature rises in nodes 1-5 are measured
by energizing heat source Q1 (using DC current injection into the
high voltage winding). Temperatures are measured, and the
results are shown in Figure 3, where a fitting function of the form
f(x) = is used to smooth and interpolate the results and to
reduce the number of required thermal tests (note - each thermal
test requires approximately one to three hours). Next, an AC
10.6 in.
short circuit test is performed, which energizes heat sources Q1
and 42. Thus, the problem of injecting a very large DC current
Figure l(A): Cross Section of the 10 kVA Test Transformer into the low voltage winding is avoided. After performing each
(Inside Window) test twice at different power loss levels, the results for source Q2
are obtained by subtracting the temperature contribution from
source Q1 (based on Figure 3) from the measurements. The
results shown in Figure 4 are obtained using the f(x) fitting func-

7.0 k 1

1. LV Whdino
2. HV WhdhO

Figure l(E3): Cross Section of the 10 kVA Test Transformer Figure 2: Thermal Analog Circuit Model for the Test
(Outside Window) Transformer

Table 1: Experimentally Determined Coefficients of Thermal

Conductances for the Test Transformer

LV Winding

Bottom Oil Duct G8 I 7.26704 I 0.11327
Gn(T4) = a, + alT4
T4 : Temperature of Bottom-Oil Duct

Table 1, is obtained by inverting the impedance matrix. A linear

regression formula of the form
G,(T4) = a, + alT4
High Voltage Winding Loss - Watts is employed, where T4 is the measured bottom-oil duct tempera-
Figure 3: Average Temperature Rise Versus High Voltage
Winding Loss The overall procedure is easily implemented. Actual tem-
peratures are taken at the top-oil ducts, bottom-oil ducts, and at
the core. Average winding temperatures are determined by the

50 I1 m=0.8 /
/ Lv Winding
resistance method.
The principal need for the thermal analog model is to deter-
mine heat transfer coefficient CL in the oil ducts as well as
boundary conditions for the thermal finite element solution.
Temperature rises Tl-TS in nodes 1-5 can be calculated using
this analog model for any given load current pattern. Fitting
function f(x), which is based on measured temperatures, is used
to predict top-oil duct temperatures at different power levels.
The average temperature of bottom and top-oil ducts, along with
the average high and low voltage winding temperatures, are used
to predict a,which is needed in the finite element solution.


Although higher temperatures increase DC copper losses,
winding eddy current losses tend to decrease with temperature.
An analytical formula describing this is [6]:
00 50 100 150 200
Low Voltage Winding Loss - Watts
250 300
[-+ ]
Pm = POc 234.5
[- T
234.5 +To +
234.5 + T o ]
234.5 + + pcc + POSL (-51
Figure 4: Average Temperature Rise Versus Low Voltage where
Winding Loss
PLL: Total transformer power loss at temperature T OC
P x : DC winding copper loss at To
A thermal test for heat source 4 3 is unnecessary because the PEC: Winding eddy current loss at To
core loss is very small during all measurements in this paper PCC: Core loss at To
(performed at low core flux densities). A single open circuited
POSL: Stray loss at To
thermal test at rated voltage is used to measure the core tempera-
ture only. The core temperature rise at other power levels is To: Reference temperature - 'C.
assumed to follow the function Clearly, DC copper losses are proportional to temperature, but
r .
. 10.8 winding eddy current losses are inversely proportional to tem-
perature. Thus, the electrical and thermal problems should be
solved simultaneously when investigating harmonic current
where 5 is the core temperature rise at rated core loss pr Then, effects on transformers.
the core temperature rise and the measured temperature rises, An iterative algorithm that combines both electrical and
shown in Figures 3 and 4, are used to build a temperature depen- thermal models to calculate losses and temperatures was
dent thermal impedance matrix. Finally, a temperature dependent developed by the authors and is shown functionally in Figure 5 .
conductance matrix, consisting of elements Gl-G8 shown in The functional blocks are:

I x34 I

Figure 6(A): Arrangement of Thermal Sensors in the 10 kVA
> Test Transformer (Inside Right-Hand Window)

Figure 5 :

Flow Chart for the Electrical-Thermal Iterative Algo-

rithm I
1. Specify the nonsinusoidal currents for the test I
transformer. Other input data, such as transformer I
geometry, electrical, and thermal characteristics, are also I
required. I
2. Use the electrical finite element method to build harmonic
winding resistance tables for both high and low voltage
windings. The tables are used to calculate loss in each Figure 6(B): Arrangement of Thermal Sensors in the 10 kVA
Test Transformer (Outside Right-Hand Window)
winding for each harmonic order h and each average
temperature. tage winding (approximately 0.92 inches from the edges), and
3. Build the thermal analog model using the procedure one inch from the top and bottom of the high voltage winding.
described previously. The other winding sensors are placed in the vertical middle.
4. Build the thermal finite element models for both high and Three sensors are used to measure oil temperatures at the top
low voltage windings. These models compute winding duct, bottom duct, and at the top-oil level. Another sensor meas-
temperature distributions. ures the temperature at the mid-point of the center core leg.
5 . Check the tolerance for discrete conductor temperature Finally, a sensor is attached to the mid-point of the outside tank
correction. The selected tolerance is 0.1" C. wall.
6. Check the maximum iteration number. In order to verify the thermal analog model, 60 Hz tests
were performed to find average temperature rise in the test
7. Build the electrical finite element models for both wind-
transformer. The results are shown in Table 2. The measured
ings. These models predict winding power density distri-
values shown are the result of short circuit tests with low core
loss. Average temperature rises of the windings were obtained
8. Print the desired output, such as winding temperature dis- indirectly using the resistance method. These compared favor-
tribution and the temperature and location of the hot-spot. ably to direct measurements.
Blocks 3 through 7 represent the iterative loop needed to include
loss-temperature dependence.
The core loss in ( 5 ) is used as input data in block 1 . It is Table 2: Comparison of Measured and Predicted Average
assumed constant and small for all tests, since the tests were Temperature Rise ("C) for the Test Transformer
made at low flux density levels. Stray losses are neglected. Due
to symmetry, each half of the split high voltage and low voltage
winding is assumed to have the same temperature distribution.


Thermocouple placement in the windings of the 10 kVA
transformer is shown in Figures 6(A) and 6(B). A total of 36 K-
type thermocouples are inserted. The top and bottom sensors are
placed on the third tum from the top and bottom of the low vol-

Using the same short circuit thermal tests at 60 Hz, a com- The iterative algorithm confirms that the position of the
parison of several measured and predicted actual winding tem- hot-spot within each winding is relatively fixed, regardless of the
perature rises is shown in Figures 7(A) and 7(B). The predicted harmonic pattern. Under certam circumstances, however, it is
values are calculated using the iterative algorithm. For the 250 possible that the transformer hot-spot could move from one wind-
W case, the iterative algorithm with resistivity correction is ing to the other. However, for low voltage wire-wound distribu-
approximately 2" C more accurate than the thermal finite model tion transformers subjected to typical distorted loads, it is reason-
only (which ignores loss variation with temperature). Although able to assume that the position of the transformer hot-spot is
there is a 4.2' C maximum error between measured and predicted fixed.
temperatures at the hot-spot (position 11) for the rated power loss
case (250 W), this is considerably better than the 15'C error
found by applying standard calculation procedures [12]. This
serves to validate use of the iterative algorithm for determining
- Predicted Temperature of High Voltage Winding

winding temperature distribution. ----- Predicted

Measured Temperature of High Voltage Winding
Temperature of Low Voltage Winding
................Measured Temperature of Low Voltage Winding
In order to determine the impact of harmonic currents, the
test cases were repeated using single harmonic currents with mag-
nitudes 0.551 amperes (0.397 pu). The results for fundamental,
15th harmonic, and 25th harmonic are shown in Figures 8(A),
8(B), and 8(C), respectively. These are obtained from short cir-
cuit tests, for which the core loss is negligible. For the same
current magnitude, the measured winding loss increases by 12.3
W for the 25th harmonic. Measured temperatures at various
winding locations increase uniformly with harmonic order.
According to the predicted results with single harmonic
currents, it appears that the temperature distribution patterns in
the windings are fairly independent of harmonic order. The posi-
tion of the hot-spot within each winding appears to be fixed. It is
possible, however, that for some harmonic load pattems, the
transformer hot-spot could shift from the high voltage winding to
the low voltage winding since the eddy current effect is greater in
larger conductors. However, the authors believe that for wire-
wound distribution transformers with current distortion levels less
than 25%, the position of the hot-spot will not shift. Therefore,
the assumption of constant hot-spot position in low voltage distri-
bution transformers is probably valid.
Simulation results using the thermal finite element method I I I I I I l
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
illustrate that the inverse temperature variation of eddy current Winding Height - Inches
loss shown in (5) is accurate. By employing this observation, the
calculation of electrical finite element models in block 7 of Fig- Figure 7(A): Comparison of Measured and Predicted Tempera-
ure 5 can be simplified. The winding power loss distribution at a ture Rise ("C) Inside the Window of the Test
given temperature can be updated directly from the stored loss Transformer
distribution at a reference temperature. Thus, numerical recalcu-
lations of loss distribution from the electrical finite element model
can be eliminated.
As a final step, the iterative algorithm is used to predict a
harmonic deration curve. The curve, shown in Figure 9, is
developed using the assumptions that only one harmonic is
present and that the maximum allowable temperature rise of the
hot-spot is 80' C. Although tape-wound transformers and
transformers with higher voltage ratings are affected more notice-
ably by harmonics [2], the authors believe that the iterative algo-
rithm applies equally well to all transformers.

An algorithm which combines electrical and thermal finite
element models in an iterative loop is used to predict total wind-
ing loss and temperature distributions in a specially equipped
wire-wound 10 kVA distribution transformer which is subjected
to harmonic currents through the 25th order. The iterative algo-
rithm illustrates that the dependence between winding power loss
and temperature rise is important in evaluating the overall impact I I I I I I I
of harmonic currents on transformers. Since the winding eddy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
current loss is observed to be inversely proportional to tempera- Winding Height - Inches
ture, the overall temperature rise is not exactly proportional to
Figure 7(B): Comparison of Measured and Predicted Tempera-
total winding loss, as would be calculated by superimposing indi-
ture Rise ("C) Outside the Window of the Test
vidual harmonic losses.

Predicted Temperature of High Voltage Winding
Measured Temperature of High Voltage Winding
Predicted Temperature of Low Voltage Winding
................ Measured Temperature of Low Voltage Winding


1 Figure 8(A): Fundamental

1 .o
1 5 9 13 1 7 21 25
h - Harmonic Multiple of 60 Hz
Pu(l): Measured = 27.9W, Redicted = 28.6W
Figure 9: Deration Curve for the Test Transformer When Sub-
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
jected to Individual Harmonic Currents

Winding Height - Inches
1. S . Crepaz, "Eddy Current Losses in Rectifier Transformers,"
Figure 8(B): 15th Harmonic
IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol.
PAS-89, No. 7, pp. 1651-1656, September/October 1970.
2. A.E. Emanuel, Xiaoming Wang, "Estimation of Loss of Life
of Power Transformers Supplying Nonlinear Loads," IEEE
Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol. PAS-
104, NO. 3, pp. 628-636, March 1985.
3. E.F. Fuchs, D.J. Roesler, K.P. Kovacs, "Aging of Electrical
Appliances Due to Harmonics of the Power System's Vol-
tage," IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Vol. PWRD-1,
No. 3, pp. 301-307, July 1986.
4. S.V. Preiningerova, V. Kahous, "Thermal Analysis of Large
Oil-Immersed Transformer Windings," Elecrric Machines
and Power Systems, Hemisphere Publishing Corporation,
Pu(15): Measured = 33.4W, Redicted = 32.6W
Washington, D.C., pp. 89-102, 1983.
5 5. IEEE-PES Transformer Committee, "Recommended Practice
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Winding Height - Inches for Establishing Transformer Capability When Supplying

Nonsinusoidal Load Currents," C57.110, 1986.
Figure 8(C): 25th Harmonic 6. S.A. Stigant, The J . and P. Transformer Book, Johnson and
Phillips LTD., London, 1941.
7. M.S. Hwang, W.M. Grady, H.W. Sanders, Jr., "Distribution
Transformer Winding Losses Due to Nonsinusoidal
Currents," IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Vol.
PWRD-12, NO. 1, pp. 140-146, January 1987.
8. J.P. Holman, Heat Transfer, Fifth Edition, McGraw-Hill,
Inc., New York, 1981.
9. S.V. Preiningerova, M. Pivmec, "Temperature Distribution in
Coils of a Transformer Winding," Proceedings of the IEE,
Vol. 124, NO. 3, pp. 218-222, March 1977.
10. R.L. Grubb, M. Hudis, A.R. Traut, "A Transformer Thermal
Duct Study of Various Insulating Fluids," IEEE Transactions
P,(25): Measured = 40.2W, Predicted = 39.3W on Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol. PAS-100, No. 2, pp.
466-473, February 1981.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 11. J.F. Lindsay, "Temperature Rise Of An Oil-Filled
Winding Height - Inches Transformer With Varying Load," IEEE Transactions on
Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol. PAS-103, No. 9, pp.
Figure 8: Comparison of Measured and Predicted Tempcrature 2530-2536, September 1984.
Rise (OC) in the Inner Low and High Voltage Wind- 12. American National Standards Institute, "Guide for Loading
ings with Constant Current Magnitude (0.551 A = Mineral-Oil Immersed Overhead and Pad-Mounted Distribu-
0.397 pu) tion Transformers," Standard C57.91, 1981.