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By F. FAVELL, Member,t and E. W. CONNON, B.Sc, M.Eng., Associate Member.f

(The paper was first received 9 th November, 1942, and in revised form lOth February, 1943. // was read before the TRANSMISSION
SECTION 10^ March, 1943.)
The type of construction used for substations is generally SUBSTATION
governed by requirements, e.g. fire and air-raid precautions, The following is a brief description of the substation in
which may conflict with the maintenance of the atmospheric which most of the work described in this paper was carried
conditions necessary for keeping the equipment in good order. out and which is probably typical of many of the sub-
These conditions are not necessarily the same as those needed
for human comfort, and the application of heat alone has often stations constructed immediately preceding the war and
been found to be ineffective and costly. likely to be constructed thereafter.
The authors were faced with this difficulty and, after much (2.1) General Layout
investigation, evolved a method of overcoming it.
Although containing a general consideration of the problem, The substation comprises two 33-kV switchboards, each
the paper is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on the subject consisting of 750-MVA duplicate-busbar metalclad switch-
but merely as a record of the authors' experiences in overcoming gear. These switchboards, together with their relay panels,
ventilation problems in particular cases. are housed in two similar brick and reinforced-concrete
buildings which are 90 ft. apart. The switches are
operated from a control room about half-a-mile away.
(1) EFFECT OF CONSTRUCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS The relay panels are accommodated in separate rooms
Requirements which have to be met in substation from the main switches, and main and control cables are
building construction and which may have considerable accommodated in separate compartments in a basement.
effect on the ventilation problem are:— In a compound behind the substation, and at a lower
(1) A.R.P. recommendations. 1 ' 6 level, two 15 000-kVA 33 000/6 600-volt transformers are
(2) Fire precautions. 2 ' 3 ' 4 * 5 installed, together with neutral earthing reactors and re-
(3) Protection against the effects of internal explosions. sistances. Metalclad 33-kV neutral earthing switches are
installed in the buildings in separate rooms.
The A.R.P. recommendation that the building should be
so constructed as to protect the plant from the effect of (2.2) Constructional Details
splinters and blast has generally been interpreted to mean Figs. 1A and 1B show the arrangement of one of the
that windows must be above the highest part of the plant. buildings. It should be noted that the basement is divided
This tends to prevent the circulation of air round the plant, to allow the main cables to the switches to be kept separate
even if the windows are opened. from the control cables, also that the windows are above
Fire precautions suggest that:— the plant level in accordance with A.R.P. requirements.
(a) The sections of the plant be separated by fire- The relay panels consist of sheet-steel cubicles, and the
resisting partitions. connections between them and the switches are taken to
(b) Main cables and control cables of each section of the terminal boards placed in the hollow front legs of the
plant be segregated from each other and from those of switch frames. The closing contactors with their fuses and
other sections of the plant. discharge resistances are placed in the back legs of the
(c) Permanent fire-extinguishing plant be installed. switch frames, and all these hollow spaces are intercon-
These recommendations may conflict with effective nected through the conduit provided for the connections
ventilation, the first two by increasing the possibility of to the current-transformer secondary terminals. These
the air becoming stagnant, and the third by making it spaces also connect with the basement through holes pro-
necessary to seal the building in order to prevent the loss vided under the front legs for the multicore cables.
of the fire-extinguishing medium, which is often of a The main cables are taken to cable boxes placed between
gaseous nature. Ventilation schemes for substations must the backs of the switch frames, and close-fitting shrouds
therefore be designed to overcome these difficulties. are fixed to the cable boxes to close the cable slots. The
Most attempts at protection of substation buildings main cables are mostly carried out of the basement directly
against the effects of internal explosions have consisted in through the wall at the rear of the switchgear, but where a
providing the buildings with a "weak" panel facing the cable has to be taken out in the opposite direction it is
switchgear, and, as window glass has too large a variation carried through the basement in a floor duct covered with
of strength to be used for this purpose, windows or doors concrete slabs. Fireproof doors are provided throughout
lightly secured or held closed by springs or weights are the buildings.
often used. Adequate ventilation, however, reduces the (2.3) Fire and Explosion Safeguards
risk of explosion and such protection may then be un-
necessary. In addition to the constructional arrangements described
above, fire precautions of a more specialized character have
• Transmission Section paper.
t North West Midlands Joint Electricity Authority. been taken.

switches are installed to indicate in the control room when

the gas has been released.
For explosion relief purposes the centre frames of the
windows facing the switchgear were hinged at the top and
held shut by weights fastened to radius arms. It is doubt-
ful whether this arrangement would have been effective
and, as the improved ventilation now installed has greatly
reduced the risk of internal explosions, it has been dis-
. LLJ-.
The conditions which are required to maintain equip-
Fig. 1A.—Layout of one building of substation. ment in good order are not, of course, necessarily the same

Fig. 1B.—Sectional arrangement of substation building.

Under each switch is a shallow trough filled with pebbles as those required for human comfort. The latter condi-
about 2 in. to 4 in. in diameter, and from the bottom of tions have been investigated,7'8 but little attention appears
these a common drain runs to a sump outside the building. to have been given to the former. The conditions required
The whole arrangement ensures that oil thrown out or will be discussed under three heads:—
spilled from the switch tanks will be removed from the (3.1) Dryness.
building, any burning oil being cooled and extinguished by (3.2) Cleanliness.
the pebbles. (3.3) Gas dissipation.
A special type of oil sump11 surrounds the transformers The temperature of an unattended substation need not
outside, and little oil is likely to find its way into the cable be considered, as substation equipment is not likely to be
ducts if a leakage of burning oil should occur. If, how- adversely affected by the temperatures which would occur
ever, some burning oil did leak into these ducts, its entry in an unheated building in this country.
into the buildings is prevented by suitably placed barriers.
A permanently-installed thermostatically-operated CO2 (3.1) Dryness
fire-extinguishing plant is provided, a common battery of Dryness is an obvious requirement in a substation.
gas cylinders being used for the switchrooms in the two Extreme dryness is not essential, but it is necessary that
buildings. Smaller separate installations are provided in any moisture in the atmosphere should not be deposited
the neutral switchrooms, and there are portable CO2 and on the plant and, further, that the atmosphere should be
carbon-tetrachloride extinguishers. The CO2 plants have able to absorb and carry away any moisture which may
arrangements for locking the automatic devices while enter the building, thus preventing deterioration of the
leaving hand operation possible. Gas-pressure-operated conditions.

Moisture may enter a building in many ways, several of absorption, and it is for this reason that heat is generally
which, such as leakage of rain or the carrying in of water used for drying. Conversely, if the temperature decreases,
for floor-washing and by personnel on wet days, are a point is reached at which the air is saturated and con-
obviously not susceptible to calculation. Moisture may densation occurs. This is the "dew point" and is constant
also enter basements by leakage through the walls from for a given absolute humidity. Also, if the air is saturated,
the surrounding soil, its quantity depending on the soil the dry-bulb and wet-bulb readings and the dew point are
and the effectiveness of the drainage, but this leakage can all identical.
be prevented by means of an asphalt protection round the Moisture will not be deposited on the plant, therefore,
side walls and under the floor of the basement. The cost if the temperature of the plant is above the dew point,
of this is considerable; for the substation described in but unless the air is kept moving steadily round the plant,
Section 2 it would have been about £500 for each building. appreciable differences of temperature may exist between
The standing charges on this amount would, at 7% per the air and plant inside a building, and condensation may
annum, have been £35 per annum, or £70 for the two occur even if the air is not saturated.
buildings. The large amount of water normally in the atmosphere
Provided the conditions which can be maintained are is not generally realized. In the substation described in
such that the atmosphere can absorb and carry away the Section 2 and having a cubic capacity of 46 000 cu. ft., the
moisture which enters the building, it would seem to be air contains about 3 gallons of water when the temperature
unnecessary to adopt expensive means of preventing its is 60° F. and the relative humidity 75 %.
entry in small quantities. (3.1.2) Moisture in Insulating Materials.
(3.1.1) Moisture in the Atmosphere. Moisture-absorbent materials have a moisture content
The theoretical considerations bearing on moisture in which depends on the hygrometric state of the atmosphere,
the atmosphere have been well discussed elsewhere7' 8> 9 but the rate of change of moisture content may be very
so that only the important points need be summarized slow so that a stable balance will only be reached in an
here. atmosphere which remains constant over a long time.
The amount of moisture may be specified in two ways:— Insulating materials in particular are generally impregnated
(a) Relative humidity, i.e. the moisture content expressed with varnishes or the like, which delay—perhaps for years
as a percentage of that required for saturation. —the entry of moisture.
(b) Absolute humidity, i.e. the quantity of moisture in a It is thus almost impossible to lay down definite hygro-
given quantity of air, generally expressed in grains per lb. metric standards for maintaining insulating materials in
of dry air. good condition, but it can be said that their rate of de-
The amount of moisture may be measured by wet- and terioration depends mainly on the relative humidity, and
dry-bulb thermometers, the reading of the wet bulb being there is evidence that it increases rapidly if the relative
reduced by the latent heat of vaporization of the water humidity exceeds 75-80%. Higher relative humidities
surrounding it. The "wet-bulb depression" (the difference are, however, permissible for shorter periods than would
between the wet- and dry-bulb readings) thus gives a be permissible continuously, because of the delaying effect
measure of the rate at which moisture will be absorbed by of the impregnation.
the atmosphere. (3.1.3) Circulation and Interchange of Air.
Fig. 2 shows the relation between temperature and wet- The readings of a wet-bulb thermometer are not reliable
in still air, the cooling of the bulb being affected by the
movement of air past it. It has been found that this effect
becomes constant at air speeds above 10 ft. per sec.7 The
reduction in the wet-bulb depression in still air is due to
the local increase in the moisture content of the atmosphere
surrounding the wet bulb, and shows the importance of
avoiding, if possible, stagnant conditions in the atmosphere,
particularly where free moisture is present.
This, however, can easily arise in a substation. Ter-
minal boxes containing absorbent material such as the
braiding of cables eventually become filled with saturated
air. To a less extent these conditions also arise whenever
there is no draught to remove the saturated air. It would
appear, therefore, that air movements at speeds of the
HO 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90°F. order of 10 ft. per sec. are desirable.
Temperature (dry bulb) The application of heat may cause some improvement by
increasing the amount of moisture which the air can absorb,
Fig. 2. Relation between rate of drying (proportional to wet-
bulb depression) and temperature, at different values of but increased absorption leads to increased moisture con-
absolute humidity. (Absolute humidity expressed as tent and, unless the moisture is removed, saturation may
grains of moisture per pound of air.) again be reached. If, however, the air is kept moving
throughout the building and an interchange of air between
bulb depression for various absolute humidity values. the building and outside takes place, the amount of
From this it is seen that a rise in temperature of air con- moisture in the air inside will approximate to that outside
taining a given amount of moisture increases its rate of and local stagnant conditions cannot occur.

The rate of air circulation should be such as to ensure

complete freedom from stagnation and to prevent dif-
ferences of temperature from occurring in the building.
The rate of interchange of air between inside and outside,
however, requires further consideration.
When no internal heating is used, the temperature of the
building and the plant will lag behind changes of tem-
perature outside, because of the large thermal capacity.
Similarly, if the interchange of air between inside and out-
side is small compared with the volume of the building,
the internal absolute humidity will also lag behind changes
of the external absolute humidity. Using the formulae
deduced in Appendix 13.1, calculations were made to 0 10 14 20 30 40
determine, in the case of the substation described in Hours
Section 2, which of these lags would be the longer. Fig. 4.—Change of internal conditions with gradual external
Fig. 3 shows what would occur inside the building if the change. Values calculated for external temperature rise of
0-5 deg. F. per hour for 14 hours followed by steady con-
°F. ditions, at a relative humidity of 90%. Calculations are for
40 substation described in Section 2, with an air interchange
of 200 cu. ft. per min.
In the substation under consideration, this would require
1 \
the interchange to be reduced to about 20 cu. ft. per min.,
but other conditions, such as cleanliness and provision for

% 36
1 "Plant temperature
dissipating any explosive gas formed, make it inadvisable
to reduce it to this value.
The net effect is that the relative humidity inside will tend
| 35
I to exceed that outside when outside temperatures are
e \ \ rising; and to be less than that outside when outside tem-
peratures are falling. As high temperatures outside are
(if 34 \ generally accompanied by low relative humidities, this effect
is in the right direction.
y (3.1.4) Newly Constructed Buildings.
32 V" Dew point Considerable quantities of free moisture exist in the
\ materials of a new building, and must be largely removed
31 before stable conditions can be reached. If this is not done
and air stagnancy occurs, conditions will arise which may
cause rapid deterioration of the plant (see Section 4).
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
An estimate of 5 % of the total weight of the building has
Fig. 3.—Change of internal conditions due to sudden external been given12 for the quantity of moisture inside a new
change (see Section 3.1.3). Values calculated for sub- building, which means that approximately 9 000 gallons of
station described in Section 2, with an air interchange of water would have to be removed from each of the buildings
200 cu. ft. per min. of the substation described in Section 2.
outside temperature and the dew point, both starting at In order to carry away this quantity of water, consider-
40° F., suddenly decreased to 30° F. This curve assumes able interchange of air between inside and outside will be
an air interchange of 200 cu. ft. per min. and shows that necessary, and much heat will be taken from the air in
under such conditions the change of internal temperature evaporating the water. The rate of evaporation will de-
is very much slower than the change of internal absolute pend on the "wet bulb depression" (Fig. 2), so that a
humidity. In making these calculations, it was observed tendency towards saturation can be corrected by increasing
that the part played by the air interchange in changing the the rate of air interchange.
internal temperature is very small compared with the effect It is obvious that during this drying period the absolute
of heat transmission through the walls. humidity in the building will always be higher than that
When external temperatures and dew points are rising, outside, and that during damp weather the amount of
conditions leading to condensaiion inside may occur, as drying which will take place will be small. The rate of
the dew point will rise more rapidly than the temperature drying will, of course, be accelerated by an increase of
and may overtake it. This is demonstrated in Fig. 4, in temperature, so that some heating of the building may be
which the curves were calculated from the formulae de- desirable during the initial drying out if this period is not
duced in Appendix 13.2 and are for the substation described to be unduly protracted. The amount of interchange of
in Section 2 with an air interchange of 200 cu. ft. per min. air should also be much larger than would be desirable
As the rate of interchange of air has little effect on the rate later on when stable conditions have been reached.
of change of internal temperature it could therefore be so
adjusted that the internal dew point and the internal tem- (3.2) Cleanliness
perature will alter at the same rate, with the result that con-
densation could not occur inside except in the rare event In districts where there is considerable pollution of the
of saturation occurring (and being maintained) outside. atmosphere it may be extremely difficult to maintain plant

in a clean condition. The requirements of air circulation dended substations, however, the temperature and air
will cause a considerable deposit of dirt if polluted air is required by the personnel must be considered. These
allowed to enter, and to prevent this the manner of inter- problems have received adequate attention elsewhere7' 8
change of air must be considered. and are outside the scope of this paper.
Interchange of air may be effected in two ways:—
(a) By allowing air to leak out from those parts of the (4) THE EFFECTS OF UNSUITABLE CONDITIONS
building which are at the highest air pressure, so that fresh The experience of the authors, largely in connection with
air must leak in where the pressure is lowest. the substation described in Section 2, will give some idea
(6) By injecting air into the building, hence maintaining of what may be expected with unsatisfactory conditions as
the whole building at a pressure above atmosphere. regards ventilation.
Leakage to the outside air then occurs throughout the For some 18 months after it was built, the building was
building. completely unventilated, all windows being kept closed, and
From an air-circulation point of view these two methods the switch and relay rooms were heated by 20 kW of
are equally satisfactory. If, however, the first is used thermostatically-controlled tubular heaters, the basement
with a polluted atmosphere, large quantities of dirt enter being left unheated. The thermostats were set first to
with the air; whereas the second method may be used in 50° F. and later to 60° F. The conditions which existed
conjunction with a filter so that dirt cannot enter. The may be judged from readings, taken just prior to the instal-
quantity of air injected must, however, be sufficient to lation of ventilating plant, which showed relative humidity
maintain the whole of the building slightly above atmo- values varying from 75% to 84% at temperatures of about
spheric pressure, and it is thus desirable to see that all 64° F. in the switch room; while basement conditions varied
openings to the outside are fairly well closed up. Cable from 80 % to 92 % relative humidity at temperatures around
ducts are often overlooked and considerable leakage may 60° F. The actual running cost with the thermostats set
occur if they are not sealed. at 50° F. was £235 for the two buildings, with energy at
|d. per unit, and was estimated at £450 for 60' F.
(3.3) Gas Dissipation The first visible effect of trouble was the appearance of
Switchgear explosions of the type which wreck the a white mildew on the insulation of small wiring, both in
buildings housing the gear are probably due to the collection the switchgear and in the relay panels. Closer inspection
of explosive mixtures within the buildings. Such mixtures, showed that this insulation was very damp. Later the
it has been suggested,10 arise from the incipient breakdown coloured covering faded almost completely in places.
of insulation under oil. The gases evolved by breakdown Electrolysis too, began to cause trouble wherever there
under oil have been found to consist mainly of hydrogen, were direct-current connections, and this was particularly
with some acetylene, and the proportions of these gases severe round the closing-contactor panels. The closing-
which will give an explosive mixture with air are as follows: contactors were also affected by rust, and failures of
Acetylene .. 2 • 5 % to 82 % (by volume) switches to close became frequent owing to the contactors
Hydrogen .. 4% to 74% (by volume) sticking.
Thus the lower explosive limit for the gas evolved may On one occasion an important transformer was tripped
be taken to be about 3 %, so that if some interchange of out of circuit owing to a double earth fault on the battery
air between inside and outside is kept up, it is unlikely that wiring. One fault (probably of long standing)* had
an explosive mixture could occur. For instance, if air is occurred on a contactor panel owing to electrolysis, and a
interchanged at the rate of 200 cu. ft. per min. (cf. fault under a wiring clip in a relay panel completed the
Section 5.3) gas would have to be evolved at a rate greater trip circuit. Some trouble was also experienced with
than 6 cu. ft. per min. before an explosive mixture could be inverse-time relays failing to reset and hence preventing the
obtained. It seems unlikely that gas could be evolved at reclosing of switches after operation. This trouble, which
this rate without other consequences of an immediately occurred only with low-energy type relays, has not recurred
serious nature, so that such an interchange of air should since ventilation has been installed, and hence it was
remove, to a large extent, the risk of a switchgear explosion probably caused by dampness.
causing extensive building damage. The deterioration of insulating materials, and particu-
The generation of ozone and nitrogen peroxide by brush larly of h.v. insulators, is, however, the most serious result
discharge may cause trouble in unventilated plant, as small of incorrect conditions, although the effects may be con-
quantities are generally evolved even by the most carefully siderably delayed.
designed high-voltage equipment. Provided the ventila- In this particular substation the h.v. bushings are mostly
tion is adequate to dissipate these gases, no harm is likely of bakelized paper. Tests have not shown deterioration to
to result, but if they are allowed to become concentrated, any extent, probably because the conditions were corrected
their great oxidizing power may lead, in the presence of before serious moisture absorption could occur. The
moisture, to the formation of acids which may, eventually, authors have experience, however, of another instance
destroy the insulation. Such items as open-type current where for a number of years humid conditions existed
transformers are particularly subject to this weakness, round a 6-6-kV switchboard owing to its being placed in
which can be largely overcome by adequate ventilation. an annexe of a generating station—a not uncommon
arrangement about 15 years ago when this board was
(3.4) Personnel
In this case very serious deterioration of the bakelized
In the foregoing it has been assumed that the substation
* A continuous alarm for battery earth-faults has since been installed to
is unattended, as is the general practice to-day. In at- prevent this recurring.

paper insulators, particularly the busbar and feeder spout thence leaked into the switchroom. Similarly in the relay
insulators, had occurred and was shown up when Schering panels, a flow of air took place through the cable slots into
bridge measurements of dielectric loss were commenced in the cubicles and thence leaked into the room. By this
1936. Steps were immediately taken to improve these con- means stagnancy within these enclosed spaces was avoided.
ditions by dividing the switchboard from the generating The several variations of this arrangement which were
station by a brick wall. The results of this did not tried will now be described in detail.
show any rapid improvement, but a slow general improve-
ment has occurred over a number of years. This improve- (5.1) Air Injection
ment was not, however, such as to make it unnecessary to The first method tried in one switch-house was to venti-
replace the worst cf these insulators. late by means of a fan driven by a 1 h.p. motor injecting
In Fig. 5 are shown the dielectric-loss measurements on air into the basement of the switch-house at a rate of about
2 0C0 cu. ft. per min. By this means the air in the building
Fhis insulator' dried out was maintained in practically the same condition as that
by iacal heat outside, and the tubular heaters were left on load to keep
0-6 the temperature of the plant above that of the outside air.
This method has two important drawbacks. Firstly,
during wet or foggy periods large quantities of moisture
0-5 are drawn into the building and must subsequently be re-
moved; and secondly, the amount of heat required from
the tubular heaters to maintain a given temperature is in-
0-4 creased considerably owing to the rapid interchange of air.
This latter drawback is minimized because the subsequent
experiments described in Section 5.3 showed that con-
tinuous heating might not have been necessary.
On account of the first drawback it was considered de-
sirable to shut off the fan during wet or foggy weather.
This meant that the fan was running for very short periods
during the winter months, and for this reason the method
0-) was ruled out.

(5.2) Air Circulation with Leakage

1930 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 An air-circulation method was tried in the other switch-
house. Air was drawn from the switchroom and, after
Fig. 5.—Dielectric-loss measurements with 5-kV portable passing through a 12-kW heater, was discharged into the
Schering bridge, on metalclad-switchgear spout insulators
of pre-1929 manufacture. basement at the rate of about 2 000 cu. ft. per min. This
Broken line shows replacement of insulators.
arrangement, which is shown diagrammatically in Fig. 1B,
results in a higher air pressure being developed in the
some of these insulators. These measurements were made basement than in the switchroom, and a flow of air is
with a 5-kV portable Schering bridge, and the difference maintained through the switchgear. In order to ensure a
between the 1937 figures and those for the replacement slight interchange of air between the inside and outside,
insulators gives some idea of the deterioration which had air leaks between the basement and outside were deliberately
occurred, although it must be remembered that the tech- left. The outward leakage from the basement is then
nique of manufacture of bakelized paper bushings improved balanced by an inward leakage to the switchroom.* The
considerably between 1929 and 1937. thermostat which controlled the heater was placed in the
The gradual improvement in the older insulators which air intake, and the tubular heaters were left in circuit.
the better air conditions have caused is also shown in this This arrangement was immediately found to be successful
Figure, and an attempt which was made to dry insulators in drying the gear in the substation, and the troubles due
by means of local heat will be seen to have had only tem- to excessive dampness, described in Section 4, began to
porary effect. Some slight deterioration of the new insu- disappear. The drying-out was so successful that a similar
lators is shown, and both old and new insulators appear to ventilating plant was installed in the other switch-house,
he tending towards a common limiting value. and it was decided to carry out other long-term tests to
improve the arrangement and, if possible, to reduce the
(5) ARRANGEMENTS OF VENTILATING PLANT amount of heat necessary. The tests therefore took the
form of frequent readings of humidity and temperature, the
Several arrangements of ventilating and heating were thermostat settings being reduced in steps. The relative
tried before a satisfactory and economic method was humidity was measured in these tests with a paper hygro-
evolved for the substation described in Section 2. meter so that great accuracy is not to be expected.
A common feature of all the forced-ventilation arrange-
ments was that a flow of air was arranged through the It was noticed that the temperature maintained had con-
enclosed parts of the switchgear. By maintaining a higher siderable effect on the relative humidity, and average and
air pressure in the basement than in the switchroom, a flow maximum values of the relative humidity observed for each
of air took place up the hollow legs of the switches, where * Subsequent measurements taken under injection conditions (see
Section 5.3) led to an estimate for this leakage of 40% of the circulation, i.e.
the terminal boards and closing contactors were placed, and about 800 cu. ft./min. This amount is excessive.

thermostat setting were plotted against the average Tests were commenced in order to discover the mini-
temperature. mum amount of heat required with this arrangement,
From this curve and from the number of units consumed a start being made without any heat at all. Readings were
for various temperature differences between the air inside first taken, every half-hour, of wet- and dry-bulb thermo-
and outside the building, a graph (Fig. 6) was derived which meters outside and in the switchroom, and of the tem-
For each perature of the switch frames. A typical graph is shown
switch house in Fig. 7. It was deduced from these readings that:—

Switchgear frame tempi!ratur

Internal air temperature
External air temperature

Internal d e w / "V>'
point /
External dew point

4 6 8 10 12 2 4 6 8 10 12 2 4 (RP.S.l)
Midnight. Nocn
Fig. 7.—Typical half-hourly readings of temperature inside and
05 75 85 95% outside substation, 21-22 April, 1942.
Relative humidity
Fig. 6.—Relative-humidity range obtained for a given expendi- (a) The rate of change of frame temperature and internal
ture on heating (under conditions described in Section 5.2). air temperature is very slow. Within 24 hours the outside
temperature varied about 15 deg. F. but the internal air
shows approximately the cost of maintaining any required temperature only 3 deg. F., and the frame temperature less
relative humidity in the building. These readings were than 2 deg. F.
taken during the winter and early spring and therefore
(b) The dew points inside and outside appear to vary
probably represent the worst conditions. In calculating
almost at the same time, but the variation is less inside than
the cost of maintaining a given indoor temperature, how-
ever, allowance was made for the summer period by taking
(c) Owing to the time-lag between the rise and fall of
the average outdoor temperature for the whole year.
the temperature of the outside air and that of the frame,
Whilst it is not claimed that these figures are scientifically
the difference between the latter and the dew point appears
accurate they do show the enormous expenditure necessary
to be least at about 2 p.m. (British D.S.T.), whereas the
to obtain low humidities reliably with thermostatic control
difference between the air temperature and the dew point
and considerable interchange of air. In spite of the success
outside is a minimum at 4 a.m.
of this method of drying the plant, the expense involved
and the amount of dirt which was being brought into the As the internal conditions appeared to be worst at 2 p.m.
substation led to a more thorough investigation of the it was decided to take daily readings at this time (1 p.m.
conditions required, and the method was abandoned in when Double Summer Time was discontinued). A few
favour of the circulation-injection method described below. weeks' readings showed again that the dew point inside
tended to follow that outside much more closely than the
(5.3) Air Circulation with Injection frame temperature followed the outside temperature. As
This method differs from the previous method only in this confirmed the general conclusions arrived at from the
that a small fan driven by a ;}-h.p. motor is used to theoretical calculations mentioned in Section 3.1.3, it was
inject air into the switchroom from outside. A filter in decided to examine the conditions under which condensa-
this circuit prevents the ingress of large amounts of dirt, tion might be expected to occur in the switchroom. Re-
and a filter is also incorporated in the circulation fan so as ferring to Section 3.1.3 it will be noted that if a rise in ex-
to assist in removing the dirt already in the building. The ternal temperature occurs while a high relative humidity is
injection fan is arranged so that a slight positive pressure maintained, the internal dew point will rise faster than the
is maintained in the switchroom, and hence a higher pres- frame temperature and might overtake it, particularly if the
sure is maintained in the basement so that there is no inward rise followed a considerable period of low temperature. In
leakage. With all openings closed as thoroughly as was considering this question it was thought that the time-lags
practicable, it was found sufficient to inject an amount of concerned were sufficient for the hour-to-hour variations
air equal to 10% of the circulation (200 cu. ft./min.). to be neglected, and that only the day-to-day variations
Fabric-type air filters were used. need be considered.

28 30 2 4 6 8 10 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 7 9 11 13 15 17 19
April May June October
Spring 1942 Summer 1942 Autumn 1942
Fig. 8.—Typical readings of temperatures and relative humidities inside and outside substation at 1 p.m. B.S.T.
O Inside air temperature. A Outside air temperature.
• Switchgear frame temperature. • Outside dew point.
1 Inside dew point.

From the records previously taken of external tempera- will be found to be 90 % over a wide range of air tempera-
ture during tests with different ventilating arrange- ture, namely from 35° F. to 70° F. approximately. Hence,
ments, it was observed that conditions which might possibly if the relative humidity is not allowed to exceed 90%,
lead to condensation had occurred on a few occasions condensation is unlikely in the circumstances described.
during one winter. It was therefore decided to install
humidity control so that, if condensation threatened, the (5.3.2) Summary of Results of Circulation—Injection Method.
air heaters would be switched on. The wet- and dry-bulb thermometer readings inside and
outside the substation, and the plant temperature readings,
(5.3.1) Humidity Control. were continued for a considerable period; extracts from
Several types of humidity-control devices or "humidi- these readings are plotted in Fig. 8.
stats" are available, but satisfactory operation of these The circulation-injection method with protective humi-
devices generally depends on their being in a considerable dity control has been found to be the most satisfactory of
draught. the methods tried and, in addition, a large saving of fuel
A humidistat was therefore placed in the air intake from has been achieved. The following figures summarize the
the switchroom and was arranged to switch on the 12-kW results over some 43 weeks' operation (23rd April, 1942,
heaters when the humidity exceeded 90%. The humidi- to 16th February, 1943):—
stat should, however, be regarded as a protective device Range of relative humidity observed at 1 p.m., B.S.T.
rather than as a controlling device. A watt-hour meter - 3 6 % to 89%.
was installed so that an approximate record could be (Note.—Although no reading as high as 90% was
obtained of the number of hours of heating. obtained, the relative humidity must have reached this
The setting for 90 % relative humidity was chosen for the value in order to switch on the heating.)
following reasons. It had been observed that the dif- Approximate average relative humidity at 1 p.m., B.S.T.
ference between the inside air temperature and the plant -68-5%.
temperature during these experiments seldom exceeded Approximate number of days on which the relative
2 deg. F. and never 3 deg. F., so that condensation cannot humidity exceeded 80% at 1 p.m. (see Section 3.1.2)
occur if the difference between the air temperature and the = 34(11%).
dew point is greater than 3 deg. F. When the dew point is Condition of plant remained clean and dry.
3 deg. F. less than the air temperature the relative humidity [Continued at foot of col. 1 on next page.]

80 (5.4) Natural Ventilation

Various devices of a proprietary nature are on the
market which may be mounted in the substation roof and
70 will effectively cause a flow of air through the building,
provided air bricks or louvres are left open near ground-
Heatir\g on level.
for 2l/2 hours— Sufficient circulation through the gear cannot, however,
60 be obtained in this way, and a further difficulty is that the
operation of these devices depends on outside conditions
and little control can be exercised over the interchange.
50 Their application is thus generally limited to the smaller
substations (see Section 8) where they can, if necessary, be
used in conjunction with a forced-circulation system.
(5.5) Precautions against Spread of Fire
With any ventilation system it is desirable to ensure that,
/ ! in the event of fire, the air movements will not assist in
30 \^ \
\ / i spreading the fire or in dissipating the CO 2 or other fire-
V /
i extinguishing medium.
h In the case of the substation described in Section 2 this
has been achieved automatically by the use of gas-pressure-
operated switches. These switches, which operate on the
release of the CO 2 from the automatic equipment, are so
50 connected that their operation shuts down all the ventilating
1 1 1 i i i i i i 1 1 1
3 5 7 9 11 13 15
The following figures give a comparison of the cost of
the various methods which have been tried in the sub-
Winter 1943 station described in Section 2.
Fig. 8—continued.
(6.1) Supply Costs
Approximate annual consumption
Section of for two buildings
paper Method Remarks
No. of units Cost*

4 Tubular heaters with thermostatic control. 50° F. No ventilation Unsatisfactory 150 380 £235t
4 Tubular heaters with thermostatic control. 60° F. No ventilation Unsatisfactory 288 000$ £450
5.2 Tubular heaters and air heaters. Air circulation with approx. Doubtful 116 000 £180
800 cu. ft./min. interchange. Thermostatic control for 50° F., method (from Fig. 6)
giving an average relative humidity of 75 %
5.2 Tubular heaters and air heaters. Air circulation with approximately Satisfactory 282 000 £440
800 cu. ft./min. interchange. Thermostatic control for 60° F., (from Fig. 6)
giving an average relative humidity of 65 %
5.3 Circulation—injection method with air-heaters controlled by pro- Satisfactory 11 530 £18.0.4§
tective humidistat set at 90% relative humidity, giving an average
relative humidity of 68-5%

* At Jd. per unit. t Actual cost for 12 months. t Estimated. § Estimated from 43 weeks' records (see Section 5.3.2).

Costs (one building only). (6.2) Capital Costs (including erection) on a 1942 basis
No. of units used by fans = 4 530 (equivalent to 5 480 Tubular heater and thermostat installa-
per annum). tion £360 ] ,-, .
Cost of electrical energy for fans (at *d. per unit) Circulation and injection fans with air I For two
-^ £7 Is. 7d. (i.e. £8 11s. 3d. per annum). heaters and humidistats £370 buildings
No. of hours of heating = 191 (i.e. 23i per annum).
Units used for heating — 236 "(i.e. 285 per annum). (7) TRANSFORMERS INSIDE BUILDINGS
Cost of electrical energy for heating at -j}d. per unit The ventilating arrangements discussed so far have all
7s. 4ld. (i.e. 8s. lid. per annum). aimed at the smallest possible use of heat, in order to reduce
Total cost of electrical energy for one building, on an the cost. The problem of maintaining plant in good con-
annual basis = £9 0s. 2d. dition is, however, eased where heat can be used, if suitable

arrangements to remove dampness are also provided. and natural and converted interchange is frequently a
Transformers are therefore frequently installed in sub- satisfactory arrangement (see Section 8.3). The rate of air
station buildings so that the heat dissipated due to the flow and the size of air openings required for the cooling
losses may assist in the maintenance of suitable atmo- of transformers have been discussed by Sia,13 who also
spheric conditions. describes a chimney type of convection ventilator.
This practice materially affects the ventilation problems As it has been demonstrated (Section 5.3) that only small
and has several disadvantages, so that it cannot be con- amounts of heat are required to ensure good conditions in
sidered to be a universal solution of the problem. Fire a switchroom, it would not therefore seem advantageous,
risks are, of course, materially increased, and special ar- in view of the difficulties mentioned, to house transformers
rangements may have to be made to deal with them.17 in switchgear buildings merely in order to make use of the
Explosion risks are not greatly increased, but the effects waste heat.
of a switchgear explosion may be very much more serious
as the transformer will be exposed to damage therefrom. (8) APPLICATION TO SMALLER SUBSTATIONS
The building may have to be considerably larger than would The subject has been considered so far in its relation to
otherwise be necessary and, in addition, the transformer the larger substations. In applying the principles to
itself may have to be larger because of the less effective smaller substations the following points have to be borne
cooling. One of the more serious disadvantages of which in mind:—
the authors have experience, however, is the deterioration (a) The smaller importance of the supply and the lower
of the transformer. value of the gear do not justify elaborate ventilating
(7.1) Effect on Transformer Deterioration (b) Similarly the reduction of heating to the minimum
One of the most important causes of transformer de- is even more important than in the larger substations.
terioration is the oxidation and consequent increase in the (c) The ventilating equipment must be arranged to
acidity of the oil. Much has been written on this problem, operate with the minimum of attention and maintenance.
the recent contributions by Pollitt14 and Welch15 being It is still essential to maintain a steady circulation of air
notable. Whilst the conditions which are favourable to round the plant together with a small interchange, but
rapid oxidation do not seem to be completely understood, natural ventilation may often be relied on for such inter-
it appears that the better the ventilation around a trans- change while a fan is used to create circulation. The cost
former and the lower the temperature, the less is the of running another small fan for interchange is, however,
deterioration.14 very small and, in view of the disadvantages of natural
In this connection the following figures, for a group of ventilation, may be preferable.
transformers well known to the authors, show the increased Some details of the application of these principles to
rate of deterioration of transformers installed indoors. various types of switchgear arc given below.
The transformers comprise 605 of various ratings installed
throughout a rural distribution system. They are not all (8.1) Cubicle and Truck-type Gear
of the same type, only a few having conservators and In this type of gear a good circulation can generally be
breathers, and were supplied between 1929 and 1942, achieved by means of a fan injecting air into the cubicles
mostly by one manufacturer. and maintaining them at a pressure above atmosphere so
A sample of oil is taken from each transformer once a that air will leak out at the gaps in the doors and similar
year and an electric strength test and an acidity test are places. The provision of holes in the barriers between the
made on each sample. Particular note is taken of any various parts of the gear may be necessary in order to
which have an acid value above 0-5 mg. KOH per g. attain sufficient circulation through all parts.
of oil. If it is not desired to use natural ventilation or to install
a separate injection fan, interchange of air between inside
Total number of transformers at 31st and outside the building may be attained by allowing a
March, 1942 605 small amount of leakage from the cubicles to the outside.
No. of transformers installed indoors (in- Where an auxiliary transformer is incorporated in the
cluding kiosks) .. .. .. .. 26 gear, the injection of air past it assists not only in cooling
Percentage of "indoor" transformers having the transformer but also in maintaining dryness, by heating
acid value greater than 0-5 .. .. 23 • 1 % the air.
No. of transformers installed outdoors .. 579 Gear of this type often includes open-type current trans-
Percentage of "outdoor" transformers formers, in some designs of which moisture is particularly
having acid value greater than 0-5 .. 1 • 035 % likely to enter and cause subsequent breakdown, and the
maintenance of dry conditions will tend to prevent this.
(7.2) Effect on Ventilation
When power transformers are installed indoors, the (8.2) Metalclad Switchgear
ventilation problem frequently becomes one of obtaining a There are so many different types of metalclad switchgear
sufficient interchange of air to carry away the heat from that it is almost impossible to generalize on their ventila-
the losses and thus prevent overheating. The natural tion. When busbars, current transformers and the like are
ventilation caused by convection from the transformer may oil- or compound-immersed the ventilation may be con-
prove sufficient; but care must be taken that other im- fined to the small wiring, but with air-insulated busbars
portant items of gear are not placed where the air may and current transformers some method of maintaining
become stagnant. A combination of forced circulation circulation of air through the chambers containing them

is desirable. The method described in Section 5 is concerning the Authority's substations and equipment;
especially suitable for compound-filled metalclad gear, but and to their colleagues on the staff of the Authority for
the structural arrangements necessary are seldom prac- their valuable assistance.
ticable in the smaller substations.
In such circumstances the incorporation of a ventilating (12) REFERENCES
fan in the gear itself is particularly desirable. In this (1) A.R.P. Memorandum No. C.2, Section 3.
connection greater co-operation between manufacturers (2) "Fire Prevention at Generating Stations" (Electricity
and users is desirable, as the cost of providing and operating Commission, 1938).
small ventilating equipments is generally a negligible pro- (3) F. C. WINFIELD: "Fire Precautions in Major Elec-
portion of the initial cost and the cost of maintenance of trical Stations," Journal I.E.E., 1937, 81, p. 289.
the gear. (4) H. W. CLOTHIER, B. H. LEESON and H. LEYBURN : " Safe
(8.3) Kiosks guards against Interruption of Supply," ibid., 1938,
A kiosk substation housing a transformer, a high-voltage 82, p. 445.
switch and low-voltage fusegear, is a case where natural air (5) "Fire Fighting Equipment for Electrical Installa-
interchange and forced circulation are especially suitable. tions" (E.R.A. Report), ibid., 1939, 85, p. 719.
A satisfactory arrangement consists in providing louvres (6) R. H. BAILEY: "A.R.P. in the Electrical Industry"
near the floor and openings under the eaves in the trans- (A. Reyrolle and Co., Ltd.).
former compartment only, so as to allow natural con- (7) E. L. JOSELIN: "Ventilation" (Arnold, London, 1934).
vection there, while the other compartments are completely (8) J. A. MAYER and R. U. Frrrz: "Air Conditioning"
closed from outside. Louvres near the floor are then pro- [McGraw-Hill, New York, 1933].
vided between the compartments and a fan is placed near (9) W. H. CARRIER: "Rational Psychrometric Formulae,"
the roof to extract warm air from the transformer com- Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical
partment and supply it to the other compartments, whence Engineers, 1911, 33, p. 1005.
it will return through the floor louvres. The fan used for (10) Discussion on Symposium of papers on "Insulating
this purpose will require to be reasonably silent if the kiosk Oils," Journal I.E.E., 1943, 90, Part II, p. 53.
is situated in a residential district. (11) F. FAVELL: Discussion on "Fire Fighting Equipment
Where kiosks house switchgear only, the method used for Electrical Installations," ibid., 1940, 87, p. 272.
will depend mainly on the type of switchgear installed. (12) R. GRIERSON: "Space Heating by means of Electri-
cally Warmed Floors as applied to Surface-Type
(9) FACTORIES ACT Air-Raid Shelters," ibid., 1942, 89, Part II, p. 4.
Certain provisions of the Factories Act, 1937, apply only (13) V. SIA: "Some Problems encountered on a Distribu-
to premises where mechanical power is used. Ventilating tion System, with Special Reference to Shanghai,"
fans, however, are not deemed to be "mechanical power" ibid., 1942, 89, Part II, p. 143.
in this connection,16 so that their installation in a substation (14) A. A. POLLITT: "Mineral Oils for Transformers and
does not alter its position under the Act. Switchgear," ibid., 1943, 90, Part II, p. 15.
(15) L. H. WELCH: "Maintenance of Insulating Oils in the
(10) CONCLUSION Field," ibid., 1943, 90, Part II, p. 29.
(16) Factories Act, 1937, Section 152(3).
The provision of adequate and suitably planned ventila-
(17) Electricity Supply Regulations, 1937; Regulation 16.
tion is a means of maintaining substation equipment in a
satisfactory condition with a far smaller use of heat than (13) APPENDICES
has generally been considered necessary. The investigation
(13.1) Relation between Internal and External Conditions
described in the paper should be regarded as in its early
(with sudden external change)
stages, for there are several points which require clarifica-
tion. Further collaboration by manufacturers, for in- The relation between the internal and external condi-
stance in designing gear which would be unharmed by the tions, when a small amount of air injection takes place,
occasional condensation that might occur in an unheated may be obtained as follows:—
building, might enable heating to be entirely dispensed with.
It is by no means certain that present-day switchgear will Change of Internal Absolute Humidity.
be adversely affected by occasional bad conditions, and Let us assume that, after steady conditions, an increase
further investigation of this matter is required. from absolute humidity a to absolute humidity b occurs
Substation equipment and the buildings housing it have suddenly outside.
in the past been designed and constructed as separate units,
as were engines and electric generators in the early days of Let C = capacity of building in cu. ft.
electricity supply. The authors would therefore conclude i = air interchange in cu. ft./min.
this paper with the suggestion that such equipment and «! = absolute humidity of internal air after t min.
buildings are, in reality, one unit and should be designed from external change.
and constructed as such from the outset. Then C(dat) = idt(b — a{), whence al = b — (6 - a)e~u/c

(11) ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Change of Internal Temperature.

The authors' thanks are due to the Chairman and Let us again assume that, after steady conditions, an
Members of the North West Midlands Joint Electricity increase in external temperature from Ta to Tb occurs
Authority for their permission to publish the information suddenly.
VOL. 90, PART II. 23
Heat may enter the building in two ways, namely occurs outside from absolute humidity a at a rate o f /
(1) carried in by the injected air, and (2) transmitted through grains per cu. ft. per min.
the walls.
Let K •--•:- thermal capacity of the building. Let at = absolute humidity of internal air after t min.
XSW, where S — specific heat and W = weight. bx — absolute humidity of outside air after t min.
i ~ air interchange in cu. ft./min. Then Cdax = idt(by — ay) and bx = a f ft
Sa -~ specific heat of air. so that Cda{ = idt(a — ax+ ft)
P ••--air density.
H — heat transmitted through walls (B.Th.U. per min. Whence a, = a + # + —(e~''lc — 1)
per deg. F.).
Tt — internal temperature after t min. from external
change. Change of Temperature.
Then, again, K(dTt) - (iPSa + H)dt(Tb - Tt) Let us assume that, after steady conditions, an increase
occurs in the external temperature from Ta at a rate of
Whence T, - Tb - (Tb - Ta)e~{iPS- + mt/K Tf deg. F. per min.
(13.2) Relation between Internal and External Conditions If TQ = temperature outside after t min.
(with gradual external change) then KdTt = (iPSa + W ( r 0 - r r )
When an external change has taken place gradually, the and TQ = Ta + Tft
internal conditions can be determined as follows:—
so that KdTt = (iPSa + i?)dSf(rfl + Tft - Tt)
Change of Absolute Humidity.
whence Tt = Ta + Tft + - 1
Let us assume that, after steady conditions, an increase


Mr. R. Grierson: The authors ingenuously record the tion. It would be interesting to know, for example, why
fact that they expended substantial sums of money in the roof was (presumably) constructed only of 6 in. of solid
maintaining the temperature of an unattended substation concrete (for which the thermal conductivity may be esti-
at 50' and also at 60 u F., without producing evidence to mated at 0-54B.Th.U. per hour or 0-16 watt per sq. ft.
prove that the results obtained provided any marked im- per deg. F., although it has been established that the
provement over a temperature of 40° F. If, in the initial maximum safe value is 0• 3 B.Th.U. per hour or 0 • 088 watt
stage of their investigation, they had made a survey of the per sq. ft. per deg. F.), when it was desired to eliminate
available information regarding the seasonal variation of the risk of condensation.* The effect of material and
relative humidity in this country, as provided, for example, surface finish on the stabilization of the temperature and
by "The Book of Normals,"* they would have seen that relative humidity has not been adequately stressed in the
the hourly mean only exceeded 89-9% at Kew between paper. Thus, entirely different results will be obtained in
2 a.m. and 7 a.m. in September and October, whereas at (a) a kiosk constructed of non-absorbent materials, such as
Eskdalemuir it occurred between midnight and 6 a.m. in steel or cast-iron plates; (b) a brick building in which the
July and August. internal surfaces of the walls have been rendered non-
Again, according to Bilham/j* "the range of the diurnal absorbent, either by means of glazing (glazed bricks or
variation of relative humidity depends a good deal, like tiles) or by paint, distemper, etc.; and (c) a building in which
that of temperature, on the conditions in respect to cloud the ordinary absorbent bricks have been left in their natural
and wind. In clear calm weather the relative humidity at state. In this connection I would recall a contribution of
inland stations during the summer half-year often varies Mr. A. C. Pallotf to the discussion on the paper by Mr.
from an early morning maximum of 95% or even 100% Betts and myself, in which he mentioned the extraordinary
to an afternoon minimum of 40% or lower. Values of results which had been achieved in the Lower Orangery
100% arc not uncommon at all times of the year; in spring, at Hampton Court Palace, where it was necessary to main-
summer and early autumn they are confined, except at tain the relative humidity within the limits of 55% and
high levels, to the night and early morning hours, but in 75%, corresponding to a variation in the air content of
the late autumn and winter they may also occur during 50 lb. of water. The gallery contains a large amount of
the daytime, usually in association with wet fog." At panelling and other woodwork, but it is painted, and its
Eskdalemuir, the highest mean nourly value of 91 0% in reaction to changes in relative humidity would be com-
August corresponds to the lowest mean of 74 • 2 % and a paratively slow. It was found possible to stabilize the
daily mean of 82%, giving a diurnal range of 16-8%; relative humidity between the specified limits of 55% and
whereas in December the respective values are 89-1%, 75 % merely by installing 2 000 lb. of old, unlined canvas
86-0%, 88-4% (maximum for year) and 3-1%. fire hose in the air ducts, which it was calculated could
The thermal resistance of the walls, floor and roof, the absorb and release 80 lb. of water within the prescribed
materials employed and the surface finish are of vital limits.
importance from the point of view of preventing condensa- Unsaturated air (like sponges, towels, etc.) has a capacity
• Section VI, "Normals of Relative Humidity" (H.M. Stationery Office,
1928. 9d. net). * Journal I.E.E., 1942, 89, Part II, p. 12.
t E. G. BUHAM: "The Climate of the British Isles" (Macmillan), p. 226. t Ibid., 1935, 76, p. 514.