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The ageing state evaluation and lifetime duration estimation for insulation
systems of medium and high power machines represent important present-day
research objects for manufacturers and users. The aim is to obtain a method based
on nondestructive, in-situ insulation tests. In this paper, a new method for the
analysis of insulation systems degradation based on the measurement of
absorption/resorption currents is presented. Based on the accelerated ageing
measurements and on time variation curves of measured absorption currents and
considering their maximal values and mass loss as diagnostic factors, insulation
lifetime is estimated.

Keywords: Absorption/resorption currents, insulation systems, thermal ageing,

1. Introduction

During electrical machines functioning, the insulation systems are exposed
to normal permanent (thermal, electrical, mechanical, environmental, etc.) and
accidental (overvoltage, overcurrent) stresses. These stresses initiate and maintain
insulation degradation processes (oxidation, molecule fracture, micro-cracks,
insulation loosening, etc.), which lead to the deterioration of their mechanical,
and, more often, of their electrical insulation characteristics (with the increase of
charge carriers and polar radicals concentration, etc.), leading to the insulation
systems breakdown and electrical machines premature take out [1].
Therefore, the knowledge regarding the states of the insulation systems
and their lifetime estimation has become a present-day problem. The existing
methods are destructive (based on the mass loss determination, on the
chemiluminescence’s intensity, etc.) or global (based on the measurement of the
insulation resistance, loss factor, partial discharge level, etc.) [2-8]. Recently,
there is an attempt to analyze the ageing state of electrical equipment insulation
systems based on the values of absorption/resorption currents [6].
These currents are obtained when a step voltage U is applied to condensers
with dielectrics whose ageing state is studied and have the following form:
Prof., Electrical Engineering Faculty, POLITEHNICA University of Bucharest, Bucharest,
GENA ELECTRIC S.R.L., Bucharest, Romania

271 - 1

which contains glass texture (13 %).1. Therefore. Using steel plates of 650x110x2. respectively as a result of the increase of their electrical conductivity. The permanent component of the absorption current. respectively to a small movement of a large number of bound charges [2]. The samples’ accelerated thermal ageing was made in a Trade Raypa forced air flow oven with 271 . mechanical. ions and molecular ions and allows the determination of the electrical resistance and resistivity of the dielectric. Engineering sciences ia (t )  ii (t )  i p (t )  iss (t )  ic (t ) . Its values increase for a movement process (chemical. which leads to the macromolecules fracture and polar species generation.5 mm3.5 hours. a new non-destructive method for lifetime estimation of electrical machines insulation is presented. different methods of evaluation of the insulations’ degradation state based on the conductivity factors and polarization index were presented. 2.18 mm in thickness were rolled up (with ½ superposition) and pressed at p = 3 bar and T = 160 oC for t = 2. In the previous papers [5] and [7]. The polarization current corresponds to the exterior orbit deformation of ions and/or atoms inside the dielectric and to the spinning of the trapped charge of electrical (permanent or temporary) dipoles. there is an analysis of the influence of the ageing state of high-power machine insulation on the maximal values of the absorption currents Imax. From these plates were made samples of 100x100x(1. In the presented paper. During the ageing of insulations still found in use. iss(t) – the space charge current and ic(t) – the conduction current [2]. The iss(t) component corresponds to the movement of the existing space charge (electrons. particularly on the interfaces between their homogenous areas. ii(t) – the charging current of the condenser with vacuum dielectric.8) mm3. (1) where ia(t) is the absorption current.6.2 . which have been processed to obtain a requested thickness and a fine surface. Based on these values.. All samples were thermally conditioned at 190 oC for 48 h. thermal. radiated). there is a molecule fracture process which leads to the increase of the concentration of charge carriers fixed on their defects. ip(t) – the polarization current. Experiments The experiments were made on plane plates made up of tape CALMICAGLAS (ISOVOLTA). because of the insulation degradation.. ions) fixed on the defects of the insulators volume. seven layers of tape with 0. iss(t) values increase with electrical machines’ service time. respectively the conduction current ic(t) = Ic is given by the convection of electrons. Ic values increase during machine functioning. mica paper (47 %) and epoxy resins (40 %).

3 . Part of the obtained results is presented in Figures 2–7. Fig. Discussions. therefore. At determined time intervals. absorption current values decreased compared to the ones for the unaged samples. 1. It is noticed that. Results. for all ageing temperatures. Certainly. Experimental set-up for absorption currents measurement: 1 – Electrometer Keithley 6517. current values increased with . Time variations of the absorption currents in samples thermally stressed for longer periods of time are presented in Figure 3. aged at 210 °C (176 h). curve 4). unaged (1). 3 – PC. 1092 h for T = 230 °C and 470 h for T = 250 °C. the variations of medium absorption currents determined on 5 samples. The experimental set-up used to measure the absorption currents is presented in Figure 1. The temperature values for the accelerated ageing were chosen accordingly to the IEC 60216-3/2002 standard. 2 – Resistivity Test Fixture Keithley 8009. The ageing times τ were 1500 h for T = 210 °C. with the increase of the ageing temperature. in the first part of the experiments. The mass loss during the ageing process was measured with a SHIMADZU AW220 electronic balance. This is due to the elimination of polar products (solvents) left inside the samples after the fabrication process and. Lifetime Estimation of Electrical Machines’ Insulation Systems by Absorption Currents adjustable temperature (between 30 and 250 oC). It can be noticed that. polar product elimination (diffusion) is faster. the samples were cooled (inside the oven) at room temperature and their mass loss and absorption currents were measured and their medium values determined. 230 °C (118 h) and 250 °C (107 h) are presented. The tests were made on groups of 5 samples for each ageing temperature. thus ia values are smaller (Figure 2. In Figure 2. of the reduction of the polarization component ip from the absorption current ia. 3. which was due to the degradation of epoxy resin molecules and the generation of polar products (which led to the increase of the polarization current ip) and charge carriers (electrons and 271 .

r()) are presented in Figure 4. 250 °C at τ = 432 h. corresponding to the ageing time  (Imax. marked Imax(1. lifetime duration curve ln τ = f(1/T) has been determined (Figure 5). Based on the curve presented in Figure 5. 4 – T = 679 h.4)  I max ( ) I max. lifetime values DI are obtained for different temperatures.4 seconds after applied voltage start). for T1 = 155 °C.r ( )  . From all measured absorption currents.r()).4) Reported currents variations with  (Imax. for each ageing temperature. Time variation of the absorption current Fig. Engineering sciences ions). 2 – T = 210 °C at τ = τ = 176 h. 271 . 3. 2. part of them fixed on the interfaces between the mica paper and glass texture layers. (3) m(0) where m(0) is the initial mass of the samples’ epoxy resin and m() – the mass of the epoxy resin at ageing time . (2) I max (1. leading to the increase of the space charge current iss.4) and. 4 – T = 250 °C at τ = 107 h. 3 – T = 230 °C at τ = 118 h. Thus. defined as: I max (1. Fig.4 . Time variation of the absorption current for plane plates at different ageing for plane plates at different ageing temperatures: 1 – unaged.64 years. while for T2 = 120 °C.8 (meaning an 80 % increase in the maximal current). the epoxy resin relative mass loss variation curves Δmr() defined by: m(0)  m( ) mr ( )  . Choosing the end-of-life criterion the value Imax. the first measured values were gathered after each interspace (1. are presented. the currents relative maximal values were determined. 2 – T = 210 °C at temperatures: 1 – unaged. 3 – T = 230 °C at τ = 626 h.r = 1. it is obtained DI1 = 9. In Figure 6. DI2 = 248 years.

lifetime duration values are smaller [1].5 .r = 1. DI 1 9. lifetime duration curve was drawn (Figure 7). It is noticed that the difference between the values of the lifetime estimation for the two methods at T = 155 °C is relatively small.87 % . Taking as end-of-life criterion the value Δmr = 8 %. Lifetime curve corresponding to the Fig. 5. 6. 7. Dm2 = 182 years. Fig. Variations of the relative maximal values Imax diagnostic factor.46 years. Lifetime duration curve corresponding to for three ageing temperatures. respectively: DI 1  Dm1 9.64  9. it is obtained Dm1 = 9. For multiple synergetic stresses.64 It should be noticed. 7).m    1. 271 . insulation lifetime estimation was determined for two functioning temperatures: for T1 = 155 °C. criterion Imax.8. that the calculated lifetime values do not take into account other stresses which insulation systems suffer during service. mass loss for end-of-life criterion Δmr = 8%. Lifetime Estimation of Electrical Machines’ Insulation Systems by Absorption Currents Fig.46 DI . while for T2 = 120 °C. however.r with ageing time τ. Mass loss variations with ageing time  Fig. for the end-of-life of the absorption current Imax. Using the lifetime duration curve (Fig. 4.

Research and Youth (CEEX Project 256/2006) is gratefully appreciated. Busoi. 2008.V. Notingher. In the first phase of the experiment. Tanasescu. L. 3. Dumitran. Based on the maximal values of the absorption currents. E. Proceedings of Joint International Conference “Materials for Electrical Engineering”. Lifetime duration values acquired through the absorption current method – for 155 °C – are close to the ones obtained through mass loss method. pp 19-25. Droper. 1995. Busoi. Proceedings of 2006 IEEE International Symposium on Electrical Insulation. K. Cristina Stancu. Vol.E. Materials for electrotechnics. David. The Use of Conductivity Factors for Estimating the Degradation State of Insulation Systems of Medium- Power Electrical Machines. Influence of the Ageing State of Insulation Systems on Absorption/Resorption Currents.A. Siodla.H. China. Tanasescu. S. Bucharest. [3] P. R..M. 2. V. L. The Influence of Thermal Stress on Absorption/Resorption Currents. 2008. Proceedings of 2008 International Conference on Condition Monitoring and Diagnosis CMD. 1. Stancu. Sci. pp 271-1 – 271-6. P.V. Acknowledgements The financial support of the Romanian Ministry of Education. pp. pp 383-393. 5. 4. [4] R. [7] S. REFERENCES [1] P. The method of absorption currents presented in this paper is a nondestructive one and can be applied for the lifetime estimation of the high power electrical machines in service (through off-line measurements). IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine. [6] G. vol. 1-15.J. 53. 2007. Aleksandra Rakowska. Toronto. Bucharest. 1. published in CONFERENCE EXCELLENCE RESEARCH – A WAY TO E. C.M. 13. G. Notingher jr. Gockenbach. 271 . 420-425. 2008. IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation. 2006. – Brasov. L. thermal lifetime for both samples and insulation systems can be estimated. Reza. Politehnica Press. 2005. Conclusions 1. there is a decrease of the absorption current values due to the elimination of the polar products generated during the manufacturing process. Accelerated thermal stresses of CALMICAGLAS tape samples lead to an increase of the absorption currents. E. Dielectric Response Studies on Insulating System of High Voltage Rotating Machines.V. [2] P. 2007. Balescu and G. Notingher. H. Dumitran. L. 2006.. Engineering sciences 4.V. B.Electr. [8] M. [5] P. Condition Assessment of Rotating Machine Winding Insulation by Analysis of Charging and Dischargind Currents. Et Energ. 4. Insulation System Evaluation for Rotating Machinery.Notingher.6 .M. pp 126–129. Dumitran. Busoi. S. Borsi. E. Beijing. Estimation of the Degradation State of Medium Power Machines Insulation by the Polarization Index. Balescu. Rehder. Notingher. . vol. 11. Notingher. Farahani.R. Revue Roum. P.M. Moore. Tech. E. pp. vol. Dumitran. pp 336-339.