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On-line Capacitance and Dissipation Factor

Monitoring of AC Stator Insulation

Article in IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation · November 2010

DOI: 10.1109/TDEI.2010.5595545 · Source: IEEE Xplore


42 207

7 authors, including:

Karim Younsi Prabhakar Neti

General Electric General Electric Global Research


Manoj Shah Yingneng Zhou

General Electric GE Global Research


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Online Capacitance and Dissipation Factor

Monitoring of AC Motor Stator Insulation
Karim Younsi, Prabhakar Neti, Manoj Shah, Joe Yingneng Zhou, John Krahn
and Konrad Weeber
GE Global Research Center, Niskayuna, New York, 12309, USA

Dave Whitefield
GE Energy-OC, Minden, Nevada, USA

A new on-line technique for monitoring the insulation condition of AC motor stator winding
is proposed. The approach uses a newly developed, High-Sensitivity Current Transformer
(HSCT) to precisely and non-invasively measure the differential current (e.g., the insulation
leakage current) of each phase winding from the motor junction box. Conventional
differential current transformers (CT) used for fault protection can be replaced with the new
HSCT to measure the winding insulation leakage current with higher sensitivity and
accuracy. The HSCT can serve both motor health monitoring and motor protection functions.
Presently, indicators for insulation condition such as capacitance (C), dissipation factor (DF),
or insulation power factor (PF) are only obtainable off-line. The new approach can provide a
low-cost solution for on-line motor insulation condition assessment. Validation of the new
HSCT technology is carried out during an accelerated life testing of a 460 V, 100 HP,
1200 RPM form wound induction motor. The motor discussed in this paper was aged at high
temperature (255 °C) as the load cycled between 0 % and 200 % every 5 minutes. Although
this highly accelerated life test does not represent how a motor ages in service under real
operating conditions precisely, the principal goal was to prove the capability of the new
HSCT to accurately detect the insulation leakage current and quantitatively monitor motor
insulation gradual aging and health. Online data from the HSCT correlated well with offline
data from a commercial capacitance and DF bridge. It is hoped that the benefits of the on-
line motor health monitoring are fully realized and the method extended to other electrical
assets as well.

Index Terms - Motor, Insulation, Tangent Delta, Dissipation Factor, Fault Diagnosis,
Leakage Current, Monitoring, Current Transformer.

1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Off-Line Insulation Testing

Various industrial surveys show that problems initiated in the The main limitation of off-line insulation tests (e.g., Insulation
stator winding insulation are one of the leading root causes of Resistance (IR), Polarization Index (PI), Capacitance (C),
electric machine failures. For example, it is known that 30- Dissipation Factor (DF) and insulation
40 % of AC machine failures are stator related [1,2]. It is also Power Factor (PF), off-line Partial Discharge (PD) analysis) is
known that up to 70 % of high voltage machine failures result the requirement for a machine outage, which is typically once
from stator insulation problems [3,4]. Stator insulation aging every 3-6 years [5, 6]. In some cases the outage may take
and breakdown, as shown in Figure 1, can cause a costly, several days. This is not sufficient to guarantee reliable
forced outage. This can result in significant loss of revenue, as machine operation between outages. In addition, since most
well as repair/replacement costs. Therefore, prevention of off line tests do not contain significant diagnostic information
such outages is a major concern for both the manufacturer and unless trended over time and measured under identical
the end user. To this end, there has been a lot of effort toward conditions, it is very difficult to assess a motors present
developing reliable insulation quality assessment techniques condition or predict remaining life of the insulation. Finally,
[5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. during off-line tests, winding insulation is not subjected to
actual operating stresses.

1.2 State of the Art- On-line Insulation Health on-line on a 100 HP motor was evaluated, and it was shown
Monitoring that changes in insulation behavior (i.e., degradation) can be
On-line testing provides more accurate and reliable diagnostic detected with high sensitivity. This paper is an extension and
information regarding the insulation condition and its continuation of the work previously presented in [11, 12]
remaining reliable service life, than off-line testing can. The leading to the development of the HTSC sensor and its
methods available for on-line stator insulation monitoring validation on a three phase induction motor.
include conventional techniques such as thermal/chemical
monitoring, phase/ground fault relays, and more modern 2 OFF-LINE CAPACITANCE, DISSIPATION
techniques such as turn fault detection and PD monitoring [5, FACTOR, AND AC INSULATION RESISTANCE
6, 7, 8, 9, 10].
The technique for insulation condition assessment proposed in
this paper is based on on-line measurements of the off-line
insulation condition indicators such as C, DF, and IR. When C,
DF, and IR are measured on-line, their values are different
from those obtained during off-line measurements. Therefore,
the off-line versions of the tests introduced in [5, 6, 13, 14] are
summarized and analyzed here as they are used as the
theoretical basis for interpreting on-line test results.
2.1 Industrial Guidelines for Off-line Testing
If trended over time, the capacitance test, which measures the
value of the capacitance between the stator conductor and the
grounded core, can provide indications of thermal
deterioration, moisture absorption, and endwinding
Figure 1. Example of a stator winding failure on a 12,000HP, 13.8kV AC
industrial motor used as a refiner motor in a paper mill.
contamination [5, 6]. The DF (or tanδ) test can provide an
overall indication of the dielectric losses and the general
condition of the stator insulation [5, 6, 13]. The electrical
The primary purpose of on-line thermal or chemical equivalent circuit for an insulation material can be modeled as
monitoring is to detect severe thermal problems in the an equivalent capacitor and resistor, Ceq and Req, in parallel,
insulation system when failure is imminent. These techniques which represent the capacitive coupling and dielectric losses,
are only considered to be cost effective only for large respectively, as shown in Figure 2. The leakage current, I,
machines [7]. Phase and ground fault relays are tripped only through the insulation consists of capacitive and resistive
after insulation degradation has reached a severe stage to components, IC and IR, with respect to the voltage, V. DF is
prevent further damage; therefore, they cannot provide true defined as the tangent of the angle between IC and I, δ, as
monitoring capability [6]. The main purpose of turn fault shown in (1).
detection is to detect turn insulation failure at an early stage to
prevent further damage to the stator core due to ground ~ ~
currents [8, 9]. Turn fault detection is effective for random DF = tan δ × 100 = I R / I C × 100 (%) (1)
wound machines. However, turn insulation degradation is not
the only cause of insulation failure, especially on power For healthy stator insulation, I is mostly capacitive since the
frequency medium and high voltage form wound machines. capacitive impedance is much smaller than the resistive
On-line PD monitors can detect PD activity, which is one of impedance (δ is close to 0) at power frequency. The resistive
the most important symptoms of severe insulation degradation current component increases as the dielectric losses in the
leading to failure for large machines above 2300 V [5, 6, 10]. insulation increase due to any of the insulation aging
PD monitoring, however, requires installation of special mechanisms, resulting in an increase in δ. The insulation
equipment and the data interpretation is somewhat subjective. resistance (IR) test, which measures the resistance of the
Incipient failure detection via PDA, however, requires the insulation under DC excitation, is the most widely used
insulation aging phenomenon to be accompanied by electrical insulation test. A decrease in IR represents an increase in the
discharge activity, which may not always happen. In addition, dielectric losses; therefore, comparing the value of IR over
stator insulation failure is exacerbated by synergistic aging time is effective for finding contamination problems or serious
effects of multiple internal and external stresses [5, 6]. Thus, it defects [5, 6, 13].
would be beneficial to measure other (non-discharge-related) While these tests are effective for diagnosing certain types of
phenomena, such as the insulation resistance or winding insulation problems, more reliable and valuable indications of
capacitance. insulation problems can be obtained if the three tests are used
Clearly, an on-line technique capable of monitoring the in conjunction. When performing the C, DF, or IR tests, it is
overall insulation quality for all machines and for all modes of preferred that each phase is measured separately, under
insulation degradation is needed. Recently, a new approach identical conditions, for monitoring the changes in each
for assessing the overall insulation condition based on the parameter. Comparisons are then made over time and between
differential leakage current measurement has been proposed in phases. The details of the physics behind the variation in C,
[11, 12]. The feasibility of measuring the capacitance and DF DF, and IR values for each failure mechanism and test method,

(as well as the resultant interpretation), can be found in [5, 6, Phase B C pp,bc Phase C
14, 15]. Winding Ibc,pp Winding

Ib,l Ic,l
V R pp,bc
Conductor B C
Phase A
I IC I Winding
Iab,pp R pp,ab R pp,ca Ica,pp
Ia,l C pp,ca
C pp,ab
Ceq Req A
Ib,pg Ia,pg Ic,pg
Ground C pg,c R pg,c C pg,a R pg,a C pg,c R pg,c
(a) (b) G
Ig Grounded
Figure 2. (a) Electrical insulation system equivalent circuit and (b) phasor Core/Frame (G)
Ground (G)
diagram representation of capacitive and resistive currents

Figure 3. Simplified insulation system model for a 3φ AC machine stator

2.2 Motor Stator Insulation Model
For the purpose of analyzing and comparing the off-line and
on-line tests, a simplified insulation system model for a three Assuming that the GW and PP impedances are equal for the
phase AC electric machine is shown in Figure 3. In that figure, all phases (i.e., a balanced insulation system), they can be
nodes A, B, C, and G represent the stator winding conductors represented as Zpg and Zpp, respectively. A detailed analysis of
of phases A, B, and C, and ground, and subscripts l, p, and g such winding equivalent circuit is given in [12].
represent leakage, phase, and ground, respectively. The The equivalent capacitance, insulation resistance and DF are:
coupling between the phase and ground represents the
insulation that separates the copper conductors from the C eq , AC = C pg + 2C pp , (2)
grounded stator core (i.e., ground-wall (GW) or slot
insulation). The coupling between the phases represents the Req , AC = R pg R pp /(2 R pg + R pp ). (3)
insulation that separates the copper conductors between
phases (i.e., phase to phase (PP) or endwinding insulation). It ~
is assumed that the coupling between the phases, pp, and IR 1 2 R pg + R pp
phase to ground, pg, are represented by an equivalent parallel DF = ~ = = (4)
eq , AC eq , AC ω R pg pp (C pg + 2C pp )
capacitance and resistance, as in Figure 2. The values of the
equivalent capacitance and resistance parameters in Figure 3
depend on many factors such as the rated voltage, motor
design, the materials used for insulation, the condition of the 3 ON-LINE CAPACITANCE, DISSIPATION FACTOR,
insulation, etc. The impedances of each R-C parallel model for AND AC INSULATION RESISTANCE
the GW and PP insulation for each phase can be represented
as Zpg,a, Zpg,b, Zpg,c, Zpp,ab, Zpp,bc, Zpp,ca, respectively. 3.1 Principles of On-line testing
2.3 Analysis of Off-line Insulation Testing The main concept for online monitoring of the stator
insulation condition on-line is to measure the leakage current
This section presents an analysis of what the measurements of flow through the stator insulation for each phase. This can be
the standard procedures for the DF and IR test represent based accomplished by measuring the differential current of the line
on the insulation model shown in Figure 3. According to IEEE and neutral end of each phase winding, as shown in Figure 4.
Std. 286, when measuring the DF of the insulation, AC If the current sensor encloses both ends of the phase winding
voltage is applied between the coil of the phase under test and leads, only the current component leaking from the phase
ground, and the two phases not under test are grounded to the conductor through the insulation is measured since the stator
stator core [13]. Using an example of energizing phase A, it load current, Iabc (Ia, Ib, and Ic) are canceled in the differential
can be seen from Figure 3 that the voltage across A-B, A-C, measurements. If the magnitude and phase angle (with respect
and A-G are equal to the applied AC voltage, VAC, since B and to line-neutral voltage) of the leakage current of each phase is
C are grounded. measured with high precision, information regarding the GW
and PP insulation condition can be obtained on-line as per
Figure 3. The equivalent insulation condition indicators such
as the DF, Ceq,AC, and Req,AC can be calculated on-line for each
phase and trended over time and compared between the phases
to assess the overall and individual GW and PP insulation

line neutral voltage, Vabc,g, and leakage current, Iabc,l,

Terminal Box measurements from (5)-(7), respectively.

( )( )
~ ~
Va Ia,l C eq ,abc = 2 I abc ,l cos δ abc / ω Vabc , g (5)
Ia,l Ia b
Vb Machine n
neutral Ib,l
Req ,abc = Vabc , g / 2 I abc ,l sin δ abc ) (6)

[ ( )]
Vc c ~ ~
Ic,l DFabc = Tanδ abc × 100 = Tan 90 D − ∠ Vabc , g / I abc ,l × 100 (7)
Source AC Machine where δabc are the phase angles between Iabc,C and Iabc,l.
neutral Stator Winding The insulation condition indicators calculated from (5)-(7) are
different from when the measurements are performed off-line
Figure 4. Schematic of differential current measurement in terminal box for (2)-(4). There are three major differences between on-line and
on-line insulation quality assessment off-line measurements of Ceq, DF, Req, which are: a) the
magnitude of the average voltage applied to the insulation, b)
the distribution of the voltage applied from the line to neutral
In a typical industrial setting for medium to high voltage
end of the winding, and c) the influence of the voltages in the
machines, the three neutral terminals are connected together
adjacent phases on the PP endwinding insulation.
outside the machine in the terminal box, as shown in Figure 4
The differences mentioned in a) and b) can be explained using
and Figure 5. The reason the three neutral terminals are
Figure 6, which shows the on-line and off-line voltage
accessible outside the machine is for inspection/protection
distribution across the line and neutral end of the winding.
purposes. If the three neutral terminals are accessible outside
When the machine is operating, the line end of the winding is
the machine, the off-line insulation tests can be performed on
at line-neutral voltage, Vln, and the neutral end is at zero volts
each of the individual stator phases. In addition, differential
with respect to ground, assuming that the stator frame is
CTs can be placed to enclose the line and neutral ends of each
grounded and that the source and machine are balanced. It can
phase for phase and ground fault protection. Conventional
be assumed that the line-neutral voltage is distributed linearly
protection differential CTs do not measure the leakage current
between the line end and the neutral end of the phase
with sufficient sensitivity since its main purpose is to trip the
conductors, as shown in Figure 6. Therefore, the magnitude of
motor if the magnitude of the fault current is large [6].
the equivalent or average voltage between the A, B, or C
phase conductors and ground, G, is approximately half of the
actual line-neutral voltage, as shown in Figure 6. An in-depth
winding insulation capacitance and resistance modeling is
necessary to more precisely determine the voltage distribution
around a rotating machine stator winding. Such analysis will
be provided in a future work.

When the off-line insulation tests presented in II are

performed, the applied AC voltage is applied uniformly across
the stator winding. Therefore, the measured values of Ceq, DF,
Req, represent the average condition of the winding, and
Figure 5. Typical terminal box configuration: CTs enclose the line & neutral provides information on the insulation condition with equal
end to measure the differential current for phase fault protection “weighting” from the line end to the neutral end of the
winding. However, when the machine is operating, the
insulation of the line end coils is subjected to the same voltage
For low voltage machines where the stator winding can be as in the off-line test but the rest of the phase circuit coils are
configured in Δ or in Δ/Y, the differential CTs can be installed subjected to gradually lower voltages reaching zero volts at
to measure the leakage current. But for machines that can only the end of the neutral coil as shown in Figure 6.
be configured in Y, not all machines have access to the three
neutral points. In many cases, the neutral is accessible, but
internally connected, and there are cases where the internally
connected neutral is not accessible at all. However, for small
low voltage machines used in applications where the
reliability is critical, the proposed approach can be applied
after rewiring and re-routing the stator coil.
3.2 Determination of C, DF, and AC IR from Online
The “equivalent” insulation condition indicators, Ceq, Req, DF,
for each of the three phases can be calculated on-line from the

benefits of C and DF is known and accepted, there is very
little data available on the correlation between such
Off-line Measurement
V measurements and motor service life.
Average Voltage m ent In [16] Pascoli et al. monitored capacitance, dissipation factor
sure and tip-up values on large hydro generators over three decades.
^ /2
(On-line Meas.)
ne Mea
ln On- Their data showed clear generator insulation degradation over
time. At low voltage the decreasing dissipation factor
suggested drying of the insulation reducing its intrinsic
conduction related dielectric losses (increased volume
Neutral End Line End resistivity at lower voltage). At higher voltages, above PD
inception voltage, the corona induced within the ground-wall
Figure 6. Comparison of voltage distributions in a motor stator winding for insulation voids caused an increase of the dissipation factor
on-line & off-line testing levels over time. He concluded that capacitance and
dissipation factor can be used to derive information on the
reliability of power generators insulation health.
A detailed analysis is given in [12]. The equivalent
Using laboratory samples made with epoxy resin disks and
capacitance, Ceq, and resistance, Req, and DF for the on-line Il
stator bar sections, Farahani et al. [ 17 ] confirmed the
measurement can be derived as
correlation between capacitance, dissipation factor and
insulation aging. During accelerated thermal aging, void
C eq = C pg + 3C pp , (8)
content in the ground-wall insulation showed a capacitance
loss and a particular trend in dissipation factor. The insulation
Req = R pg R pp /(3R pg + R pp ), (9) exhibited a decrease in dielectric losses at low voltage and an
increase at higher voltages suggesting aging driven by resin
( )
DF = 3R pg + R pp / ωR pg R pp (C pg + 3C pp ). (10) weight loss and void creation. Their results indicated a high
sensitivity of capacitance and dissipation factor measurements
to changes within the insulation due to thermo-electrical and
It can be seen in (2)-(4) that the expressions are different from thermo-mechanical stresses during aging.
the off-line indicators shown in (8)-(10) (the capacitive
reactance and resistance are smaller for the on-line case),
which is due to the influence of the voltages in the adjacent 3.4 Advantages of Proposed Technology
phases. In addition, the equivalent values of Cpg, Cpp, Rpg, and Most of the advantages of the proposed method come from its
Rpp in the equations for the on-line and off-line tests are continuous on-line monitoring capability. A list of the benefits
different since the voltage magnitude and distribution are of this approach includes:
different during the two tests. Therefore, all of these factors a) Simple and non-invasive monitoring of insulation
must be taken into account when interpreting the on-line condition
indicators, and the minimum or maximum allowable values b) Ability to be retrofit into existing machines
suggested for the off-line tests [5, 13, 14] cannot be applied c) New sensor capable of both health monitoring and motor
for evaluating the condition of the insulation online. Since the protection
magnitude and degree of change in the indicators due to d) Machine exposed to actual operating conditions (voltage
insulation aging depend heavily on the type of insulation distribution, thermal, mechanical, environmental stresses)
material and system, the measurements should be trended with e) Frequent assessment of insulation quality - accurate
time and/or compared between phases, to assess the overall assessment compared to infrequent off-line inspection
condition of the insulation. The analytic equations of Ceq, Req, f) Trending of continuous data – advantageous for accurate
or DF for the off-line (II) and online tests can be used as a assessment of present condition and potential failure
basis for determining the acceptance criteria for the tests. prediction
However, this is not presented in detail here since it is not g) Efficient maintenance – scheduling and prioritization of
within the scope of this work. The guidelines for interpreting machine maintenance for entire fleet based on present
the change in Ceq, Req, or DF and concluding on the main condition (when compared to “periodic” inspection)
insulation aging mechanism are presented in [5, 11]. h) Prevention of costly forced outages (detection of incipient
insulation degradation) – reduction of potential financial
3.3 Correlation Between C, DF and Insulation Life losses and chances of increased safety risks and fire hazard
i) Possible application on other assets of proposed technique
Capacitance and Dissipation Factor tests have been in use by (transformers, single phase machines, cables, etc.)
maintenance personnel in power and process plants for
decades. However industrial motors are very rarely shutdown The main advantage of the proposed on-line insulation quality
for insulation testing, as production needs make such outages assessment technique is its ability to detect insulation
difficult to schedule and often costly. It is estimated that an degradation at an early stage.
average large motor will effectively get shutdown every 3 to 6
years with a potential opportunity for stator insulation
evaluation using HV testing methods. While the value and

4 EXPERIMENTAL SETUP system was expected to be the slot liner. Assuming a typical
motor life of 20 years at about 155 °C and assuming an
The new leakage current sensor was evaluated on 100HP
Arrhenius aging model (life is reduced by 50% for every 10
induction motors during accelerated life testing. The following
degrees C increment), accelerating at 255 °C will reduce the
section describes the test motors and the overall experimental
motor life by a factor of about 1000. Interestingly it was
confirmed after testing that the motor did indeed fail after 10
4.1 Test Motor & Insulation Description days of daily thermal and start/stop cycling and nightly
The test motors are 3-phase machines that were re-wound shutdowns with only thermal aging applied. This severely
(originally designed as 100 HP, Frame 447T, 1190 RPM, accelerated life test does not necessarily of course represent
2300 V, and random-wound) to include an insulation system the reality of in-service aging of motor insulation. In operation
that is more typical of larger, medium voltage machines. the motor would see much lower temperatures and more
Specifically, the motors were re-wound with form-wound contamination and moisture for example. The main goal of
coils, designed for 100 HP, 1200 RPM, at 480 V. Full stator this technology validation exercise was to prove the capability
core loss tests and dynamic rotor balancing were performed of the new HSCT and it ability to detect motor insulation
prior to accelerated life testing. Figure 7 shows the test motor leakage current and its phase angle.
before final assembly. Figure 8 shows the test motor with HSCTs on each phase.
Here the HSCTs are “blanked” out as IP is being filed.
The form-wound coils were insulated similarly to how
medium voltage motors would be insulated, despite these 4.3 Experimental Setup and Instrumentation
motors being tested at relatively low voltages. The class-H
The motors were continuously monitored online via a variety
turn insulation was 3 mil HD 3000 enamel. The ground-wall
of traditional sensors (accelerometers, thermocouples (TC),
insulation consisted of two layers of US Samica 3470 6 mil
infra-red sensors, etc.) in addition to the new HSCTs. Industry
glass-backed tape and then overwrapped with 5 mil PEI
standard offline measurements were performed as well, for
Dacron glass armor tape. A 5 mil Class-B Kraft insulation
benchmark and comparison purposes, documenting
paper slot liner was also used. This type of slot liner was used
to make the insulation system intentionally weaker and
accelerate further thermal degradation during testing. Bonding
this insulation system together was a class-H varnish (PD
George B-7-619 epoxy).
Finally the motor was built with heat-stabilized bearings
(rated for 200 °C), and high-temperature grease [18] was used.
In addition, a cooling finned radiator with a cooling fan was
face-mounted to the bearing flanges. This allowed efficient
cooling of the bearings and prevented bearing failures.

Figure 8. Test motor with HSCTs on each phase. Each HSCT is connected to a
LIA and an Agilent data logger. The flexible coupling to the left connects the
motor to the Eddy Current dynamometer load.

the insulation resistance, capacitance and Tan Delta.

Furthermore, online motor current signature (MCSA)
waveforms were collected and analyzed (to be reported in a
companion paper).
There were six Type-T thermocouples located in the slot
section of the motor, uniformly distributed radially around the
Figure 7. Virgin motor before final assembly and accelerated thermo- stator in the slot area. The TC’s were placed on the opposite
mechanical life testing. Both line and neutral leads are brought out on each connection end (OCE), between upper and lower coil layers,
approximately 3 inches into the slot. An additional set of TC’s
were located on each bearing. Two additional TC’s were
installed in 1/8” diameter holes drilled into the motor frame,
4.2 Accelerated Insulation Life Testing down to the back of the core iron. One hole was located at the
There are a variety of means to perform accelerated life testing twelve o’clock position, and the other at approximately the
of insulation systems: thermally, mechanically, electrically, two o’clock position, both approximately centered on the
chemically, etc. In this test sequence we accelerated primarily motor.
thermally, but by employing repeated starts, some mechanical A piezoelectric shear accelerometer was mounted onto the
aging occurred as well. These tests were intended to fail the deck of the dynamometer test stand, and RMS vibration
motors in about 10 days. The weakest link in the insulation values were monitored in all 3 major axes.

A removable plug was threaded into the end-bell of each duration. First the power was shut off with full load, the motor
motor, which allowed for an infra-red sensor to continuously was then hard-started either under load or no-load. If it was
monitor the rotor temperature. Furthermore, this plug could be started under no-load, it was held there for 1 minute before
removed for visual inspection of the rotor and a limited immediately placing load on the motor (to maintain the
portion of the end winding area. desired test temperature). This load was typically 120 to 170%,
Four HSCTs were employed: One on each phase leads, and and varied due to thermal equilibrium of the motor, ambient
one on all three phase leads together. The outputs of the temperatures, and external insulation. During the cycling all
HSCTs were connected to Stanford Research, model 830, temperatures, leakage currents, motor currents/voltages and
DSP Lock-In Amplifiers (LIAs), and a phase reference vibration signals were recorded.
(Tektronix 50:1 voltage probes) for each HSCT signal was
used to synchronize the LIAs so that appropriate X and Y (or 5 EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
R and Theta) values could be extracted. To ensure correct
alignment and consistent operation of the HSCTs, a The accelerated life testing employed a thermo-mechanical
calibration was performed during initial setup and stress method. Throughout this testing, we continuously
occasionally throughout the testing sequence. This calibration monitored the stator winding insulation aging on each phase.
involves sending a known 60 Hz waveform, of known current LIAs provided the magnitude and phase angle of each phase
value, through a wire that was run through the center of each insulation leakage current, referenced to the corresponding
HSCT. The motor load and current/voltage values were also line-to-ground voltage. Basic quantities such as capacitance,
collected from the motor control center. AC insulation resistance, and dissipation factor are then
The output from each sensor was monitored by an Agilent derived. In addition, several other parameters such as
34970A Data Acquisition Unit, with data sampled every 5 temperature and vibration were monitored. The following
seconds. section presents the data obtained over the life of the test
The MCSA waveforms were collected on a Yokogowa DL750 motor.
ScopeCorder set to 5 kHz sampling rate. Approximately 15
seconds of data was collected every 5 minutes (on each phase) 5.1 Motor Winding Insulation Response During
simultaneously, throughout the life of the motor. Yokogowa Aging
700924, 50:1 differential voltage probes provided the voltage The following sections describe the thermal and dielectric
reference and Yokogowa 701930, current probes provided the responses of the test motor during accelerated life testing. An
current waveforms. interpretation of the motor stator insulation aging and failure
To facilitate thermal management and life acceleration, is offered.
several approaches were used. First, the motor cooling fan and
fan shroud were removed. Next a series of high temperature 5.1.1 Stator Winding Temperature Profile
insulating blankets were used to maintain elevated Aside from the warm-up period every morning, during aging,
temperatures. Finally, a BriskHeat® 1600 W electric barrel the temperature of the hottest motor winding thermocouple
heater was laid over the top of the motor and set to 260 °C. was kept to 255 °C ±4 °C. Figure 9 shows a typical
To maintain bearing life, cooling air was blown across the temperature trend from thermocouple TC5.
endbells and the bearing-flange-mounted cooling fin. During
testing, bearing temperatures rarely exceeded 190 °C.
4.4 Test Sequence 300

The daily test sequence followed three basic steps: (1) initial
Temperature (癈)

off-line measurements, (2) ramp the motor to operating 200

temperature and then perform repeated start-stop cycles, and
(3) off-line (hot) measurements. A typical test day lasted 12
hours, and included at least 8 hours of continuous testing at 100
elevated temperatures.
Offline tests that were performed every morning and evening,
and included 1 minute DC insulation resistance tests at 250V 0
0 25 50 75 100 125
(Megger, Model MIT1020), as well as capacitance and DF
Test Time (Hour)
tests using a MIDAS bridge (Tettex instruments). Slot
temperatures were also recorded. Figure 9. Temperature profile from C5. Tests motors were equipped with six
The primary means to achieve the temperature to the levels stator winding thermocouples, TC1 to TC6. Because of heat losses caused by
needed for testing was by overloading the motor via the eddy- the motor mounting frame, temperatures were typically higher at the 11 to 1
current dynamometer. Typically, the motor would cool each clock positions.
night to about 100-120 °C. The motor was then run at 200% Dips in temperature identify night shutdowns as the motor was
load to drive the temperature to the desired testing range for only operated from 9 AM to 8 PM. Flat portions of the plot
the given day. Once the desired temperature was achieved, a show the periods during which the motor was heated and load
series of start-stop cycles was used to accelerate mechanical cycled.
aging as well. A typical start-stop sequence was 5 minutes in

5.1.2 Monitoring of the First Day of Insulation relatively quickly. Between 1 and 10 hours the rate of change
Aging of conductivity and permittivity become similar and the loss
The LIA instruments were setup to measure and display the angle stabilizes around 65°. It is worth noting that a dielectric
total leakage current magnitude and its phase angle referenced loss angle of 65° is extremely high when compared to
to the line to ground voltage on each winding phase. The conventional test results from off line motor testing at room
HSCTs introduce a phase shift in the measured leakage temperature. This corresponds to an insulation power factor of
current. A preliminary calibration was performed on each about 90%. This means 90% of the apparent power absorbed
sensor and the exact phase shift determined. Depending on the by the insulation is dissipated in active power losses within
CT design, number of secondary winding turns, and CT size, the insulation system.
the introduced phase shift can range from 1 to about 50°. All These particular trends of leakage currents and their phase are
phase angle readings from the LIAs were corrected before the dependant on the kind of insulation aging processes and
loss angle delta is determined. failure mechanisms taking place in the motor windings
insulation. In real operation, motors will see very different
Figure 10 shows how the total leakage current evolved during conditions. Typically temperatures will be much lower and
the first ten hours of accelerated motor aging. The insulation conditions such as contamination and vibration very different.
heating stage shows a dramatic increase in the total leakage Every motor application will have its own motor aging
current. The total leakage current represents the vector sum of characteristics. During the field use and application phase of
the capacitive and the resistive components through the this new technology it will be critical to learn about the online
ground-wall insulation in the motor core slot section and dielectric response of motor windings under normal operating
phase-to-phase insulation in the endwinding area. From 0 to 2 stresses.
hours the current increases from below 1 mA rms to over
30 mA rms. Beyond 2 hours the insulation reaches its stable
aging temperature and a severe thermal aging stage initiates.
All phases exhibited similar behavior. This suggests a uniform 100
insulation dielectric characteristic on each phase.
Loss Angle (?

phase 1
phase 2 phase 1
Total Leakage Current (A)

phase 2
0.03 phase 3
phase 3
Thermal Aging 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

0.02 Time (Hour)

Figure 11. Insulation dielectric loss angle Delta in degrees for each phase.
0.01 Delta increases from about 0.5° at room temperature to over 60° at 255 °C.
Delta stabilizes after 1 hour and flattens at about 65°. The flat loss angle
suggests a constant ratio of capacitive and resistive currents. This suggests
0 that during the accelerated aging insulation apparent permittivity and
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 conductivity diminish at the same rate. For clarity plots for phases 2 and 3 are
Time (Hour) shifted up by 10° and 20° respectively.

Figure 10. Total insulation leakage current in Amperes for each winding 5.1.3 Monitoring to Failure of Motor Insulation
phase during the first ten hours of thermal aging. The total current increases
from about 0.9 mA rms at room temperature to over 30 mA rms at 255 °C. Aging
Such trend is interpreted based on a thermally activated conduction and As the motor insulation aging progressed from day 1 to day 10
increase in apparent permittivity of the Class H epoxy resin used in the motor the total leakage current and its phase were monitored
insulation system. Beyond two hours the drying of the insulation and resin continuously. Figure 12 shows the trend of the total leakage
weight loss contribute to a marked decrease in total leakage current magnitude.
current. All phase behaved similarly. This is an indication
that the new HSCTs operated correctly. The data acquisition
In addition to measuring the total insulation leakage current was halted during the night as the motor was not cycled with
vector, the dielectric loss angle delta is also a critical quantity starts-stops. The data packets from each day were stitched
to monitor on each phase. Figure 11 shows the loss angle together in a chronological manner to show the trend over
variation in the first ten hours of the motor during accelerated time. The dead interval between 10 and 21 hours shows the
aging. During the insulation heating stage, the loss angle first first night shutdown.
shows a fast increase and stabilizes after about one hour.
Initially, at room temperature, the dissipation factor is below
1% giving a loss angle of about 0.5° at room temperature,
increasing to over 60° at 255 C. One interpretation of this
finding is that in the first hour the insulation conductivity
increases faster than its permittivity. Between one and two
hours the rate of increase in conductivity slows down

5.1.4 Trending of Insulation Leakage Current

phase 1 Phasor
phase 2
Total Leakage Current (A)

0.03 phase 3
In the previous section a description of the total leakage
current and its phase is provided with an interpretation of their
trends. Another way of representing and analyzing the results
is a vector representation on a complex plane. For each phase
the capacitive (reactive) current component is plotted against
the resistive (active) current component. Figure 14 shows, for
each phase, how the reactive and active components of the
insulation leakage current evolved from the beginning of the
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 motor thermal aging to the failure of the winding insulation.
The plot shows a hysteresis general shape. The top part
Time (Hour)
represents the early stage and the bottom part the aging and
Figure 12. Long term trend of the total insulation leakage current in Amperes
end of life of the motor winding.
for each winding phase during the entire thermo-mechanical aging duration The numbered different life stages of the motor insulation are
(day1 to day10). As shown in Figure 10 the total current increases from about identified as: (1) motor warm up (2) stator insulation
0.9 mA rms at room temperature to over 30 mA rms at 255 °C. Beyond 2 conductivity and capacitance increase, (3) peak in insulation
hours there is a continuous decrease in leakage current characterized by a low
in capacitance and conductance at similar rates. The lack of data between 1
leakage current, (4) resin evaporation and insulation weight
and 21 hours is due to repair work performed on the setup. However during loss (5) motor failure. It is worth noting that after the eighth
that time the thermal aging was maintained. Spikes in the plots are due to the day of motor load cycling, significant signal transients were
transients caused by the severe start-stop cycling. recorded on the lock-in amplifiers measuring the outputs of
the HSTCs. The cause for such behavior is not fully
Following the current peak observed after 2 hours the motor understood yet. However it is believed severe insulation
stator insulation experienced a dramatic decrease in both weight loss can lead to loose winding coils which could cause
capacitive and resistive currents. Figure 13 shows the trend of such load dependency of insulation leakage currents.
the dielectric loss angle or delta angle as the insulation aged
and degraded.

Loss Angle (?


phase 1
phase 2
phase 3
0 20 40 60 80 100 120

Time (Hour)

Figure 13. Long term trend of the loss angle delta for each winding phase
during the entire thermo-mechanical aging duration (day1 to day10). The 2
hour peak Beyond the peak after two 2 hours there is a continuous decrease in
delta.and stabilizing around 22° . e current characterized by a low in
capacitance and conductance at similar rates. The lack of data between 1 and
21 hours is due to repair work performed on the setup. However during that
time the thermal aging was maintained. Spikes in the plots are due to the
transients caused by the severe start-stop cycling.

Beyond the 2hours mark peak shown in Figure 10 there is a

continuous asymptotic decrease in the angle delta towards
about 22°. During this period even though both capacitive and
resistive currents decrease the reduction in conductivity due to
volatiles and contaminants evaporation is faster than the loss
in capacitance due to resin weight loss.

glass reinforced wedges showed severe weight loss with free

glass strands visible on the wedges surface. The severe
Capacitive Current (mA)

insulation thermal degradation can be seen in Figure 15.



(1) (4) (Phase1)

0 10 20 30
Resistive Current (mA)
Capacitive Current (mA)



Figure 15. Failed 100HP motor at the end of 10 days of accelerated thermo-
mechanical stress life test at 255° with frequent start-stop cycles. Failure
0 10 20 30 occurred between phase 1 and ground. Major resin weight loss was observable
around the winding.
Resistive Current (mA)
Capacitive Current (mA)

It is important to mention that the accelerated life test

performed on this motor is not exactly representative of how a
motor ages in real service operating conditions. The
acceleration factor in the present work exceeded 1000 if we
10 assume a motor design life of about 20 years. During normal
service operation of industrial motors, stator temperatures are
(Phase3) very often much below 150°C. At such temperatures thermal
aging is much less severe that what our test motor experienced.
It is also expected that during normal operation of a given
motor, its stator insulation capacitance would remain more
0 10 20 30 stable over time and the dissipation factor would increase as
the insulation becomes more lossy. The synergistic effects of
Resistive Current (mA) contamination, moisture, heat and mechanical stresses cause
the gradual deterioration of dielectric properties observed on
Figure 14. Phasor diagram (per phase) of insulation leakage current during motor and generator windings. This is reported in [16] when
accelerated life motor testing. The highlighted different life stages of the monitoring hydro generator stator windings for a period of
motor insulation are identified as follows: (1) motor warm up (2) stator over 30 years.
insulation conductivity and capacitance increase, (3) peak in insulation
leakage current, (4) resin evaporation and insulation weight loss (5) motor
failure. It was noted after the eighth day that the load cycling caused more
transients in the output of the lock-in amplifiers measuring the output of the 6 CONCLUSION & FUTURE WORK
LIAs. The cause for such behavior is not fully understood yet. However
A new differential HSCT sensor for on-line monitoring of
severe weight loss can lead to loose windings which could cause such load
dependency of insulation leakage current motor stator winding insulation health was built and field
validated. During accelerated life testing, using thermo-
mechanical stress aging of a 100HP motor, the new sensor
5.2 Motor Failure was used to continuously monitor capacitance, AC insulation
After 10 days of accelerated thermo-mechanical aging the life resistance, and dissipation factor on a form wound motor
testing the motor suffered a phase to ground failure on phase 1. stator winding. A good correlation was observed between
Charring of the varnish is noticeable around the endwinding online and offline C and DF data. The motor accelerated aging
area as well as in the stator slot section. In the slot section the trend showed five different stages:

Stage (1) is a short-term behavior during the initial heating of

the motor. In this stage, for about 1 hour, the insulation 1 P. O’Donnell, “Report of large motor reliability survey of industrial and
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permittivity. The dielectric losses increased at a faster rate motors in utility applications – updated,” IEEE Transactions on Energy
than the permittivity. Conversion, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 39-46, 1986.
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Schadensstatistik an HS Motoren 1996-1999 in VDE Workshop, 2001.
characterized by a continued increase in the overall leakage 4 “Failures in three phase stator windings,” Electrical Apparatus Service
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the same rate. for Rotating Machines, IEEE Press Series on Power Engineering, John Wiley
and Sons, 2004.
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a steep decrease. One interpretation for this peak is that the Condition of Large Rotating Machines, EPRI Power Plant Electrical
evaporation of volatiles and the beginning of resin weight loss Reference Series, vol. 16, 1989.
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Stage (4) started after about 60 hours and is a period when the Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 746-751, 2002.
motor insulation is losing resin mass at a substantial rate. This 9 G.C. Stone, H.G. Sedding, M.J. Costello, “Application of partial discharge
testing to motor and generator stator winding maintenance,” IEEE
leads to loss in capacitance (permittivity) and also an increase Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 459-464, 1996.
in resistance as the insulation system now contains much less 10 D.M. Allan, M.S. Blundell, K.J. Boyd, and D.D. Hinde, “New insulation
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the motor load cycling. This suggests loose windings due to the insulation condition of AC machine stator windings,” Proc. of IEEE-
severe resin loss in the slot and in the endwinding areas. Resin IEMDC, pp. 286-294, May 2005.
loss was later visually verified on the failed motor. 12 Sang Bin Lee, Jinkyu Yang, Karim Younsi, Raj Mohan Bharadwaj, “An
Online Ground-wall and Phase-to-Phase Insulation Quality Assessment
Stage (5) represents the motor end of life with an electrical Technique for AC-Machine Stator Windings” IEEE Trans. on Industry
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During the five stages described above the new HSCTs 13 Standard Test Methods for AC Loss Characteristics and Permittivity of
performed with the expected sensitivity and stability. The Solid Electrical Insulation, ASTM Standard D150-2004, 2004.
14 IEEE Recommended Practice for Measurement of Power Factor Tip-Up of
present work proved the feasibility of online capacitance and
Electric Machinery Stator Coil Insulation, IEEE Std. 286-2000, 2000.
dissipation factor measurement on large industrial motors and 15 IEEE Recommended Practice for Testing Insulation Resistance of Rotating
its great potential for rotating machines applications in general. Machinery, IEEE Std. 43-2000, 2000.
The different applications of the new HSCT for continuous 16 Gert Pascoli, Wolfgang Hribernik, Gusztáv Újvári, “A practical
investigation on the correlation between aging and the dissipation factor value
monitoring of insulation health will bring a dramatic
of mica insulated generator windings”, 2008 International Conference on
improvement to plant maintenance quality and reliability. Condition Monitoring and Diagnosis, Beijing, China, April 21-24, 2008
Future efforts will focus on optimizing the new HSCT sensor 17 Mohsen Farahani, Hossein Borsi1 and Ernst Gockenbach1 “Study of
design to retrofit motors from low voltage to 15 kV voltage Capacitance and Dissipation Factor Tip-Up to Evaluate the Condition of
ratings. The new product introduction stage will require a Insulating Systems for High Voltage Rotating Machines”, Electrical
Engineering (Archiv fur Elektrotechnik), Volume 89, Number 4 / March, 2007
comprehensive qualification process for reliability and safe 18 NJ-WS2-HT High Temperature EP Grease with Tungsten Disulfide, range
operation in an industrial environment. up to 800 °C, MK Impex Canada

The authors gratefully thank Sherrie Clark for her support and
guidance in this research. Special thanks go to Charles
Stephens, Pinjia Zhang, Kevin Gavel and Dave Hanchar for
their help in building and testing the current sensor prototypes
for both laboratory an field validations. The authors also want
to thank the Motors and Drives team of Advanced Energy in
Raleigh NC and the Electric Motor Shop personnel in Wake
Forest NC.


Karim Younsi (M’91, SM’04) earned his B.S. degree in electrotechnology in Joe Yingneng Zhou (M’03) received his Bachelor
1986 from the University of Science and degree in Electrical Engineering from South China
Technology of Oran and his M. Sc. and Ph.D. in University of Technology, in 1996, and his Ph.D.
electrical engineering - dielectric materials from degree in Materials Science from University of
Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France. Connecticut, in 2004, respectively. He spent 3 years
Most recently, he was an insulation systems (1996-1999) with Siemens as an electrical engineer,
engineer with GE Power Systems in Schenectady. working in the area of industrial automation. Since
Prior to that, he was an insulation research 2004, he has been working for GE Global Research
engineer with GE Canada in Ontario, a research Center and contributed to research projects
engineer with Ontario Hydro in Toronto, and a including partial discharge technology for generator
research associate with Queen’s University in monitoring, electrostatic precipitator optimization, hybrid locomotive and arc
Ontario. In 2003, he joined the Electric Machines and Drives Lab of GE fault circuit interrupter development.
Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY as a dielectrics and insulation
systems engineer. He is currently involved in the design, qualification of new
insulation systems for a variety of electrical equipments such as medical
systems, various motors and generators. His recent activities are focused on John R. Krahn, was born in West Allis, WI in
developing new technologies for monitoring and diagnostics of electrical 1966. He received a B.Sc. degree in the Chemistry
assets. He is a member of the IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, Course Curriculum from the University of
Industry Applications and Power Engineering Societies. Wisconsin, Madison, USA, in 1988. He then
received a Ph.D. degree in Materials Chemistry
from the University of Minnesota, USA, in 1994.
Since graduating, he has primarily worked for the
General Electric Company and is currently a senior
dielectrics engineer at the GE Global Research
Prabhakar Neti (S’04-M’07-SM’09) received the
Center in Niskayuna, NY. In the past 15 years, he
B.Tech. degree from Sri Venkateswara University,
has developed expertise both in electrical insulation systems and materials, as
India, and the M.Tech. degree from Jawaharlal
well as in monitoring and diagnostic technologies for electrical insulation. His
Nehru Technological University, India, in 1994
13 Patents and publication history has covered diverse applications ranging
and 1996, respectively, both in electrical
from generators, motors, and transformers, to X-ray tubes, silicone outdoor
engineering. From 1996 to 2002, he served as a
insulators, load-tap-changers, capacitors, and spark plugs.
faculty member at different engineering colleges in
India. He received the Ph.D. degree in electrical
and computer engineering from the University of
Victoria, Canada in 2007. From May 2007 to April 2008, he worked as a Post
Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, C. David Whitefield received the B.S. degree in
University of Manitoba, Canada. He is currently working at General Electric- mechanical engineering from the University of
Global Research Center, Niskayuna, NY, USA. His research interests are Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska in 1971. He has
mainly in the area of modeling and fault diagnosis of electric machines and worked as a project engineer for a large diversified
drives. energy company and as a field engineer,
specializing in high-speed rotating machinery
diagnostics. Most recently he has worked in new
technologies and product development engineering
roles for Bently Nevada Corporation and the
Optimization & Control division of GE Energy Services at their headquarters
Manoj R. Shah (S’75–M’78–SM’88–F’03)
in Minden, Nevada. Dave has been a member of ASME for 32 years, and is a
received the B.Tech.(Hons.) degree from the Indian
registered professional engineer in the state of Arizona.
Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, in 1972,
and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia
Tech), Blacksburg, in 1977 and 1980, respectively.
From 1978 to 1980, he was with Westinghouse
Electric, East Pittsburgh, PA, working in generator
development. From 1980 to 1981, he was a
Postdoctoral Researcher with RPI, NY, working on
generator end-region heating. From 1981 to 1984, he worked for GE in
Binghamton, NY, on cycloconverter scaled model design and test. From 1984
to 1986, he was in Malta, NY, to work on acyclic (homopolar) machines for
pulsed load applications and electromagnetic launchers. He worked in GE’s
Generator Engineering, Schenectady, NY, from 1987 to 1998. During this
tenure, he helped develop FEA programs for electrical machinery and
advanced ac machines for the Navy’s Integrated Electric Drive. In early 1998,
he was with KAPL, Inc. (Lockheed Martin), where he worked on advanced
motors and drives for Navy applications. He returned to GE in early 1999,
joining its Global Research Center, Niskayuna, NY, where he has focused on
developing advanced designs and analytical techniques for increasing
capability of existing generators, novel PM and HTS machines for aircraft
engine power extraction, to name a few. He has published many papers and is
the holder of over 35 U.S. and many foreign patents. He is a member of the
IEEE Power Engineering Society (PES) and IEEE Industry Applications

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