Online power transformer diagnostics using multiple modes of microwave radiation

Sammanfattning: In the present thesis, we propose and investigate a new approach to diagnose the effects of the various degradation mechanisms, including thermal degradation at hot spots, winding deformations due to the mechanical forces from short circuit currents, partial discharges due to local electric field surges, and increased moisture levels in the cellulose insulation due to decomposition, that affect electric power transformers during their normal operation in an electric power grid.Although the proposed diagnostics method can in principle be used to detect various degradation mechanisms mentioned above, we focus in the present thesis on mechanical deformations of transformer winding structures. Such mechanical deformations are most often caused by mechanical forces from short circuit currents, but they may also be caused by initial manufacturing errors and inconsistencies not detected by the power transformers’ suppliers quality assurance processes.We model a transformer winding surrounded by the transformer-tank wall and the magnetic core as a two-dimensional parallel plate waveguide or as a three-dimensional coaxial waveguide, where one metallic boundary (plate or cylinder) represents the wall of the transformer tank and the other metallic boundary (plate or cylinder) represents the iron core that conducts the magnetic flux. In between there is a set of parallel or coaxial conductors representing the winding segments.The new principle proposed in the present thesis is to insert a number of antennas into a transformer tank to radiate and measure microwave fields interacting with metallic structures and insulation. The responses from the emitted microwave radiation are expected to be sensitive to material properties that reflect the changes caused by any harmful deterioration processes mentioned above. Specifically, we investigate the mechanical deformations of transformer winding structures by determining the locations of the individual winding segments or turns, using measurements of the scattered fields at both ends of the winding structure. We solve the propagation problem using conventional waveguide theory, including mode-matching and cascading techniques.The inverse problem is solved using modified steepest-descent optimization methods. The optimization model is tested by comparing our calculated scattering data with synthetic measurement data generated by the commercial program HFSS.A good agreement is obtained between the calculated and measured positions of winding segments for a number of studied cases, which indicates that the diagnostics method proposed in the present thesis couldbe potentially useful as a basis for the design of a future commercial on-line winding monitoring device. However, further development of the theoretical analysis of a number of typical winding deformations, improvements of the optimization algorithms and a practical study with measurements on an actual power transformer structure are all needed to make an attempt to design a commercial winding monitoring device feasible.