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Power Transformer Construction – Windings

By Edvard | August, 24th 2012 | 5 comments | Save to PDF Share!    
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750kVA dry
dry type
type transformer
transformer windings

Continued from tech. article: Power Transformer Construction – Core

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The windings consist of the current-carrying conductors wound around the
sections of the core, and these must be properly insulated, supported and cooled
to withstand operational and test conditions.
The terms winding and coil are used interchangeably in this discussion. Copper
and aluminum are the primary materials used as conductors in power-transformer

While aluminum is lighter and generally less expensive than copper, a larger
cross section of aluminum conductor must be used to carry a current with similar
performance as copper. Copper has higher mechanical strength and is used
almost exclusively in all but the smaller size ranges, where aluminum conductors
may be perfectly acceptable.

In cases where extreme forces are encountered, materials such as

silver-bearing copper can be used for even greater strength.

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The conductors used in power transformers are typically stranded with a
rectangular cross section, although some transformers at the lowest ratings may
use sheet or foil conductors. Multiple strands can be wound in parallel and joined
together at the ends ofthe winding, in which case it is necessary to transpose the
strands at various points throughout the winding to prevent circulating currents
around the loop(s) created by joining the strands at the ends.

Individual strands may be subjected to differences in the flux field due to their
respective positions within the winding, which create differences in voltages
between the strands and drive circulating currents through the conductor loops.

Proper transposition ofthe strands cancels out these voltage differences and
eliminates or greatly reduces the circulating currents. A variation ofthis
technique,involving many rectangular conductor strands combined into a cable, is
called continuously transposed cable (CTC), as shown in Figure 1.
In core-form transformers,the windings
are usually arranged concentrically
around the core leg, as illustrated in
Figure 2, which shows a winding being
lowered over another winding already on
the core leg of a three-phase transformer.

A schematic of coils arranged in this

three-phase application was also shown
in Figure 1 (article ‘Power Transformer
Figure 11 –– Continuously
Continuously transposed
transposed cable
cable Construction – Core’).

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Shell-form transformers use a similar
concentric arrangement or an inter-leaved arrangement, as illustrated in the
schematic Figure 3 and the photograph in Figure 7.

Figure 22 –– Concentric
Concentric arrangement,
arrangement, outer
outer coil
coil being
lowered onto
onto core
core leg
leg over
over top
top of
of inner
inner coil
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Figure 33 –– Example
Example of of stacking
(interleaved) arrangement
arrangement of of
windings inin shell-form
shell-form construction

With an interleaved arrangement, individual coils are stacked, separated by

insulating barriers and cooling ducts. The coils are typically connected with the
inside of one coil connected to the inside of an adjacent coil and, similarly, the
outside of one coil connected to the outside of an adjacent coil. Sets of coils
are assembled into groups, which then form the primary or secondary winding.

When considering concentric windings, it is generally understood that circular

windings have inherently higher mechanical strength than rectangular windings,
whereas rectangular coils can have lower associated material and labor costs.
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Rectangular windings permit a more efficient use of space, but their use is limited
to small power transformers and the lower range of medium-power transformers,

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where the internal forces are not extremely high. As the rating increases, the
forces significantly increase, and there is need for added strength in the windings,
so circular coils, or shell-form construction are used.

In some special cases, elliptically shaped windings are used.

Concentric coils are typically wound over cylinders with spacers attached
so as to form a duct between the conductors and the cylinder. The flow
of liquid through the windings can be based solely on natural convection,
or the flow can be somewhat controlled through the use of strategically
placed barriers within the winding.

Figures 4 and 5 show winding arrangements comparing nondirected and directed

flow. This concept is sometimes referred to as guided liquid flow.
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Figure 44 –– Nondirected
Nondirected flow

A variety of different types of windings have been used in power

transformers through the years. Coils can be wound in an upright,
vertical orientation, as is necessary with larger, heavier coils; or they
can be wound horizontally and placed upright upon completion.

As mentioned previously, the type of winding depends on the transformer rating as

well as the core construction. Several of the more common winding types are
discussed below.

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Figure 55 –– Directed
Directed flow

Pancake Windings
Several types of windings are commonly referred to as “pancake” windings due to
the arrangement of conductors into discs. However, the term most often refers to
a coil type that is used almost exclusively in shell-form transformers.

The conductors are wound around a rectangular form, with the widest face of the
conductor oriented either horizontally or vertically. Figure 6 illustrates how these
coils are typically wound. This type of winding lends itself to the interleaved
arrangement previously discussed (Figure 7).

Figure 66 –– Pancake
Pancake winding
winding during
during winding
winding process

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Figure 77 –– Stacked
Stacked pancake
pancake windings
Layer (Barrel) Windings
Layer (barrel) windings are among the simplest of windings in that the insulated
conductors are wound directly next to each other around the cylinder and spacers.

Several layers can be wound on top of one another, with the layers separated by
solid insulation,ducts,or a combination. Several strands can be wound in parallel
ifthe current magnitude so dictates.

Variations of this winding are often used for applications such as tap
windings used in load-tap-changing (LTC) transformers and for tertiary

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windings used for,among other things,third-harmonic suppression.

Figure 8 shows a layer winding during assembly that will be used as a regulating
winding in an LTC transformer.
Figure 88 –– Layer
Layer windings
windings (single
(single layer
layer with
with two
two strands
wound inin parallel)

Helical Windings
Helical windings are also referred to as screw or spiral windings, with each term
accurately characterizing the coil’s construction.

A helical winding consists of a few to more than 100 insulated strands wound
in parallel continuously along the length of the cylinder, with spacers inserted
between adjacent turns or discs and suitable transpositions included to minimize
circulating currents between parallel strands.

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Figure 99 –– Helical
Helical winding
winding during
during assembly

The manner of construction is such that the coil resembles a corkscrew. Figure 9
shows a helical winding during the winding process. Helical windings are used for
the higher-current applications frequently encountered in the lower-voltage

Disc Windings
A disc winding can involve a single strand or several strands of insulated
conductors wound in a series of parallel discs of horizontal orientation, with the
discs connected at either the inside or outside as a crossover point. Each disc
comprises multiple turns wound over other turns, with the crossovers alternating
between inside and outside.

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Figure 10
10 –– Basic
Basic disc
disc winding
winding layout
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Figure 11
11 –– Disc
Disc winding
winding inner
inner and
and outer
outer crossovers

Figure 10 outlines the basic concept, and Figure 11 shows typical crossovers
during the winding process.

Most windings of 25-kV class and above used in core-form transformers

are disc type. Given the high voltages involved in test and operation,
particular attention is required to avoid high stresses between discs and
turns near the end of the winding when subjected to transient voltage

Numerous techniques have been developed to ensure an

acceptable voltage distribution along the winding under these conditions.
Reference: Electric Power Transformer Engineering, published May 16, 2012 by
CRC Press // chapter Power Transformers authored by H.J. Sim and S.H. Digby
(Get this ebook from CRC Press)


process software power transformer winding

disc winding interleaved winding

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Edvard Csanyi
Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP.
Highly specialized for design of LV/MV switchgears and LV
high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations,
commercial buildings and industry fascilities. Professional
in AutoCAD programming.

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Nice informative post…

Sir i want to know about SPACER used in power
CHINMOY transformer..what is the main purpose of using it? Whether to
EBB 2233,, 22001177 provide insulationg between colis or to provide free passage of


Dear Sir/Madam
I would like to obtain written permission to copy diagrams/pictures
from your website for my college assignment.
I am studying for a HNC in Electrical/Electronic Engineering at
MEDWID Bradford College here in the United Kingdom.
OCCTT 2222,, 22001166
I will only use them for my personal educational use and not for
any commercial use or not for publishing elsewhere.
I would be very grateful if you could reply as soon as possible.
Many thanks.
Yours sincerely
Iwan Medwid


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So what are the pros and cons of each type of winding? I have a
project where we are replacing two small power transformers at
Andrew medium voltage. Why would you choose Layer over helical or
P 2244,, 22001155 disc etc? Any info would be great, cheers.


Good post. It’s amazing that one could get this type of
information on the internet that electrical engineers can benefit
Reay from.
Group (reply)
ULL 0066,, 22001155
Hello, I wanna create a Power Transformer and I have to design
a “3D Double-Pacake Coil” with a tape that has the following
Paulo M. dimensions: 4mm x 1mm. The simulation I have to run is a little
EBB 11
11,, 22001144 complicated, but the worst part is to draw this coil. The software
I’m using to simulate the project is not good at drawing.
Therefore, I wanna design the DP coil at AutoCad and then I’ll
export it to the silumate’s software. Could you help me to draw
this 3D DP coil? I think you know exactly what it is, right? I’ll wait
for your answer. Thank you.

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