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2007 International Conference on Solid Dielectrics, Winchester, UK, July 8-13, 2007

Diagnostic of Pre-breakdown State of Polymeric Insulators by the Thermovision Method

O.S. Gefle* and S.M. Lebedev

High Voltage Research Institute of Tomsk Polytechnic University

2A, Lenin Avenue, 634050, Tomsk, Russia

* E-mail: polymerghvd.tsk.ru

Abstract: The possibility of diagnosing the pre- breakdown state of polymeric insulators by the thermovision method is represented in this paper. The diagnostic method is based on the monitoring of time of the appearance of the local temperature difference and the value of the local temperature difference on the insulator surface due to the defect presence inside the insulator volume. Time corresponding to the critical or pre-breakdown state of dielectric may be estimated by

means of above mentioned parameters. Good agreement

between the experimental results and the model predicted data was found. The deviation between the experimental results and the model predicted time

corresponding to the critical (or pre-breakdown) state of

dielectric does not exceed 15%.

INTRODUCtION

Application of solid polymeric dielectrics as HV insulation in the power engineering and electrical

engineering results in a necessity of development of

new effective methods of diagnostics of their pre- breakdown state under the electric field. It is well known that the tree inception in the region of the local field enhancement is the most often reason of a breakdown of polymeric insulation. It has been reported [1, 2] that this local region of the electric field magnification is an active source of heat release. The source of heat release inside the polymeric insulation may be conditioned by different reasons such as the dielectric loss due to the dipolar-relaxation and interfacial polarization, a non-linear increase of the conductivity, an ionization process inside the gaseous cavities, a non-ideal contact between the electrode surface and a dielectric, etc. The local area of a temperature rise on the dielectric surface can arise under the action of such source of heat release. This temperature rise on the dielectric surface may be

detected by existing methods of a remote thermometry.

The damage process of solid dielectrics in the divergent field has discrete temporal character. In general, this process includes the induction or incubation stage of a formation of the incomplete breakdown channel (a tree), the growth stage and the formation stage of the high- conductivity breakdown channel. It has been demonstrated [1, 2] that the damage process of solid polymeric dielectrics in the divergent field is

accompanied by the step-wise change in the local

temperature rise on the dielectric surface. When forming

1-4244-0750-8/07/$20.00 ©2007 IEEE.

647

a high-conductivity channel, the temperature difference on the dielectric surface is increased by a factor of 3 and the breakdown time of an insulating gap depends on the induction stage duration. In turn, duration of the induction stage depends on the local temperature difference at the initial stage of the dielectric ageing, power of the source of heat release and time of the heat transfer from the source of heat release to the dielectric surface. By using this approach, a novel phenomenological model for estimation of the tree- inception time in polar dielectrics in the divergent electric fieldhas been proposed [3-4].

Assessing applicability of proposed phenomenological model for the diagnostic of state of polymeric insulators

kV by the

thermovision method was the aim of this paper.

4

for the HV overhead lines 35

110

EXPERINTAL

The local temperature difference on the surface of HV polymeric insulators was measured by means of the thermovision device the main parameters of which are

as follows: the scanning time of one frame is

total resolution is 14000 units; the total sighting angle is

174x174 mradians; the instantaneous sighting angle is 1.3 mradians; the scanning area is 11.5x11.5 cm at the focal distance 0.95 m; the temperature resolution is 0.2°C at the ambient temperature 30°C; the wave band

is

constant of the radiation receiver at the wave length 10

tm are 9 1010 cm*Hz*W'1 and 10-6 s, respectively. The monitoring of temperature on the insulator surface during the experiment was carried out by means of the

reference radiation source with a radiation factor of 0.97. The control of ambient temperature was made simultaneously by the mercury thermometer with scale interval 0.1°C.

All insulators before tests were conditioned in air for 24 h at the ambient temperature To. The control of temperature on the insulator surface To and the local temperature difference AT = T - To during the

experiment was carried out at the sensitivity values 5°C

or 10°C, where T is temperature of the local area with a higher radiation intensity on the insulator surface. The insulator surface temperature To and AT are given by

1/16 s; the

8

14 gim; the maximal sensitivity and the time

To =Tr -Ts (II-I20)

and

(1)

AT= Ts. (I21-I20),

(2)

where Tr and Ts are temperature of the reference radiation source and the sensitivity value, respectively;

I, is the reading of a marker "Isotherm 1" corresponding

to the temperature level of the reference radiation source in the isothermal dimensionless units; I21 and I20 are the readings of marker "Isotherm 2" corresponding to both the insulator surface temperature and the area with a higher temperature on the insulator surface in the isothermal units. The scale interval of isothermal levels

was 0.01. Time of appearance of the local temperature

difference on the insulator surface t was monitored by a

timer with the scale interval 0.01 s.

Composite non-ceramic insulators LK-70/35 and LK-

70/110 (produced by the Siberian Power Engineering

Research Institute, Novosibirsk, Russia) for 35 kV and 110 kV AC overhead transmission lines respectively were used as the samples. The HV composite insulator consists of a fiber-glass core, silicone rubber insulation

and two metal fittings. When producing composite non-ceramic insulators, the

formation of different defects inside the insulator such as cracks or cavities inside a fiber-glass core, defects inside the silicone rubber insulation, formation of gaseous cavities between a core and silicone rubber insulation is possible. In order to estimate a possibility of the thermovision method applicability for assessing insulation, artificial defect such as cavity inside the fiber-glass core was made in some insulators.

All insulators were tested under 50 Hz AC voltage. The test voltage was monitored by using an electrostatic voltmeter. The test voltage was slowly increased tillthe appearance of the local temperature difference on the insulator surface. After that the voltage was switched off. The insulator was conditioned at the ambient

temperature To till a disappearance of the temperature

difference (AT= 0) on its surface. Then, the same

voltage was applied to the insulator by step. In this case

time of appearance of the temperature difference on the insulator surface t was monitored. Test of insulator was carried out at this voltage with simultaneous monitoring of temperature on the insulator surface until the breakdown. Ambient temperature To was 22°C.

EXPERIMENTALRESULTSAND DISCUSSION

The surface heating of the first unit due to the corona discharge in the vicinity of the metal fitting is observed at the test voltage increase. For this case an artificial defect of 500±100 tm inside the fiber-glass core was located between the first and second units of insulator

(near the bottom fitting, see figure 1). This defect was

detected by means of the thermovision device at the test

voltage V = 66 kV RMS. Time of appearance of the

local temperature difference on the insulator surface is

648

420 sandAT= 0.25°C.

Figure 1: Isothermal picture of temperature distribution on the insulator surface LK-70/35 at t= 420 s; A\T 0.25°C. 1, overheated unit of an insulator due to the corona discharge appearance in the vicinity of fitting; 2, A\T on the insulator surface in the area of an artificial defect of fiber-glass core.

The temperature difference on the insulator surface is increased up to 0.55°C at t= 1950 s after the voltage application (figure 2) and it does not change till 3950 s. At t= 5485 s the temperature difference A\T in the area of the defect localization is increased up to 0.75°C (figure 3). Further this temperature difference does not change till t= 10800 s.

Figure 2: Isothermal picture of temperature distribution on the insulator surface LK-70/35 at t = 1950 s; AT= 0.550C. 1, overheated unit of an insulator due to the

corona discharge appearance in the vicinity of fitting; 2,

AT on the insulator surface in the area of an artificial

defect of fiber-glass core.

After that an oscillatory nature of the temperature difference change from 0.75 to 1.50C on the insulator

surface is observed until the insulator breakdown. The insulator breakdown from the area of the defect localization along the insulator surface to the grounded

upper fitting is observed at t = 12300 s afterthe voltage

application.

The temperature increase of the first unit is observed

simultaneously with the development of the damage in

the area of the artificial defect (see figures 1

temperature difference AT on the surface of the first unit does not exceed 0.4°C in the time interval from 420 till 1950 s (figure 1). The temperature difference AT on the surface of the first unit is increased up to 0.9°C in the time interval from 1950 till 12300 s (figure 2). This fact testifies that the overheating of the first unit of the insulator is caused not only by the corona discharge appearance in the vicinity of the fitting but also by the artificial source of heat release (a defect inside the fiber- glass core).

The

3).

Figure 3: Isothermal picture of temperature distribution on the insulator surface LK-70/35 at t = 5485 s; AT= 0.750C. 1, overheated unit of an insulator due to the

corona discharge appearance in the vicinity of fitting; 2,

AT on the insulator surface in the area of an artificial

defect of fiber-glass core.

For the insulator LK-70/110 an artificial defect inside the fiber-glass core was located between the fourth and fifth units of insulator. The defect was detected at the

test voltage V=90 kV RMS. Time of appearance of the

local temperature difference on the insulator surface is 535 s and AT= 0.2°C. The temperature difference is increased up to 0.4°C at t = 5027 s afterthe test voltage application. This temperature difference does not

change during 17693 s. At t . 22720 s the oscillatory

nature of the temperature difference change from 0.6 to 2.5°C is observed just like for the LK-70/35. The breakdown of LK-70/110 is observed 24142 s after the

voltage application from the area of the defect

localization along the insulator surface to the grounded

649

upper fitting. The overheating of the first and second

units (near the bottom HV fitting) is observed 5027 s afterthe voltage application. The temperature difference on the surface of these units was 0.8°C. At t . 20000 s the heating of the third unit begins and AT on the surface of the first and second units is increased from

1.2 up to 3.0°C.

It is obvious that dielectric loss caused by partial discharges (PDs) in gaseous cavities of composite insulators is the source of the heat release. The intensity of PDs in the insulation will be increased after the tree inception. In turn this results in the increase of the temperature difference on the insulator surface in the area of a defect. Because the dielectric failure process in the divergent field has a discrete nature with time and in volume, then the temperature difference on the insulator surface will have the same nature. An invariability of AT in given time intervals may be conditioned by the integrating of a heat flow due to the thermal conductivity and the thermal capacity of solid dielectric in the vicinity of the hollow tree channel. It has been reported [1-4] that the tree inception in polymeric dielectrics takes place when the temperature difference on their surface is increased by a factor of 1.5 2. The

tree-inception time is given by [5]

r

Z'i = -

(1 - erfx) a

,U U

(3)

where t is time of the appearance of the local temperature difference on the dielectric surface; erfx is

the error integral; x = 0.5(AFo )-1; Fo = a*t*h 2 is the

Fourier number; a is the thermal diffusivity; t is the heat-flow mobility; h is the stratification depth of a defect from a sample surface monitored by the

thermovision device; and U is the applied voltage.

The critical time tc corresponding to formation of the high-conductivity tree channel (aterfx = 0) is given by

where

tC = t alg U,

t = hlt Em,

(4)

(5)

and the maximum local field strength can be written as

Em = U (To + Al-)/hAT,

(6)

where AT is the initial value of the local temperature difference on the dielectric surface at t.

The calculating results of parameters describing the

damage process of the insulator with gaseous cavity are listed in Table 1. The values of tc in Table 1 correspond

to the experimental values of both the tree-inception

time and time of appearance of the tree channel with high conductivity.

Table 1: The calculating parameters of the insulator

damage process at To = 22°C (a = 1.8

Type

10-7m2s'1)

Tc lTc

s

11035

Em,

t, lo-,, tj/j

S

2108

Note

MV/m m2s'lV'1

367

1.038

h=16mm;

t=420 s;

LK-

70/35

1950 10800 AT=0.250C

1-erfx=0.19

LK-

70/110

588

0.54

4379

19815

h=17mm;

t=535 s;

5027 22720 AT=0.20C;

1-erfx=0.22

It can be seen that the deviation between the

experimental values of ti and t, and the calculating values of tit and tj, does not exceed 15%. The calculated values of tc are lower than the experimental values by ll1% and 22% for LK-70/35 and LK-70/110 respectively.

Thus, this method allows us to carry out the diagnostics of pre-breakdown state of polymeric insulation. However it is possible only when the stratification depth of a defect from a dielectric surface h and the thermal diffusivity a are known. For the real insulating systems the stratification depth of a defect as a rule is an

unknown parameter. Substituting (5) and (6) into (4) we

obtain

-c= iFo [(TO AT)+ 1]

(7)

Supposing that the critical Fourier number is Fo, =

we obtain h = aT. The temperature difference is usually increased by a factor of 3 4 at the stage of formation of the high-conductivity tree channel. This allows unknown parameters h and a to be excluded. In this case we can define the time interval corresponding to the critical state of an insulating system

1,

T

( /TO +I1

K4AT

<

rc

<

(3TO

+

3AT+1

1)

(8)

From (8) we obtain that the values of tc should lay within the intervals 9660 < tc < 12740 s and 15248 < tc

< 20152 s for LK-70/35 and LK-70/110 respectively.

Thus, adopted assumptions mentioned above give a satisfactory convergence with the experimental results

and they allow us to carry out the diagnostics of real

insulating systems with the divergent electric field.

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CONCLUSIONS

1. The thermovision method can be used for the

diagnostics of pre-breakdown state of polymeric insulating systems.

2. A novel semi-empirical relation for the assessment

of the time interval corresponding to the critical pre-

breakdown state of the polymeric insulation was offered.

3. The deviation between the experimental results and the model predicted time corresponding to the critical (or pre-breakdown) state of dielectric does not exceed 15%.

REFERENCES

[1] O.S. Gefle, "Development of the diagnostics method for assessing the initiation and development of failure in the polymeric electrical insulation", Doctoral Dissertation, Tomsk, Tomsk Politechnic University, Russia, pp. 1-234, 1984.

[2] O.S. Gefle, "Estimation of the integral temperature

difference at the initial stage of polymeric dielectrics failure under the high electric field",

Russian J Electricity, no. 6, pp. 84-88, 1988.

[3] O.S. Gefle, E. Gockenbach, "The study of tree- inception and growth in PMMA in visible and IR

spectra", Ann. Rept. Conf. Elec. Insul. Dielect.

Phenom., Albuquerque, pp. 649-652, 2003.

[4] O.S. Gefle, E.I. Cherkashina, "Diagnostics of pre-

breakdown state of polymeric dielectrics by means

of thermal effects", Proc. Tomsk Polytechnic University, vol. 308, pp. 54-59, 2005.

[5] O.S. Gefle, V.A. Volokhin, S.M. Lebedev, Y.P.

Pokholkov and E.I. Cherkashina, "Assessment of an initial stage of the PMMA damage in the

divergent field by using thermal effects", Proc. Tomsk Polytechnic University, vol. 309, pp. 117-

121, 2006.