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IEEE Guide for Moisture Measurement

and Control in SF6 Gas-Insulated


Equipment

IEEE Power and Energy Society

Sponsored by the
Substations Committee

IEEE
3 Park Avenue IEEE Std C37.122.5™-2013
New York, NY 10016-5997 (Revision of
USA IEEE Std 1125™-1993)

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IEEE Std C37.122.5™-2013
(Revision of
IEEE Std 1125™-1993)

IEEE Guide for Moisture Measurement


and Control in SF6 Gas-Insulated
Equipment

Sponsor

Substations Committee
of the
IEEE Power and Energy Society

Approved 31 October 2013

IEEE-SA Standards Board

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Grateful Acknowledgements: Thanks to CEATI International for permission to use Figure 4, Figure 5,
Figure 6, Figure 7, Figure 8, Figure 9, Table 1, and Table 2 in this guide.

Abstract: Guidelines for moisture level measurement, moisture data interpretation, and moisture
control in gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) are provided.

Keywords: circuit breakers, gas-insulated substation, gas-insulated switchgear, GIS, GIS design,
GIS equipment, GIS installation, GIS testing, IEEE 1125™, IEEE C37.122.5™, moisture
measurement, SF6, SF6 analysis, SF6 handling, sulfur hexafluoride

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.


3 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-5997, USA

Copyright © 2013 by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.


All rights reserved. Published 20 December 2013. Printed in the United States of America.

IEEE is a registered trademark in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, owned by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics
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Print: ISBN 978-0-7381-8761-7 STDPD98462

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Participants
At the time this IEEE guide was completed, the K8 Working Group had the following membership:

David F. Giegel, Chair


Brian Withers, Vice Chair

John Boggess Charles L. Hand Daniel Mutter


Philip Bolin Bob Hardy Lukas Rothlisberger
Ravi Dhara Gregory Harquail Scott Rummans
Matt Dunn Hermann Koch Alex Salinas
Markus Etter Steve Laberge Devki Sharma
John Eastman Robert Laverne David Solhtalab
Arnaud Ficheux David Lin Ryan Stone
Patrick Fitzgerald Jorge Marquez Ronald Wampole
Noboru Fujimoto James Massura Ian Wylie
Peter Grossman Russ Yeckley

The following members of the individual balloting committee voted on this guide. Balloters may have
voted for approval, disapproval, or abstention.

Ficheux Arnaud David F. Giegel Charles Ngethe


Arun Arora Randall Groves Lorraine Padden
Senthil Kumar Asok Kumar Charles Hand Larry Putman
Peter Balma John Harley Michael Roberts
George Becker David Harris Oleg Roizman
Wallace Binder Gary Heuston Jesse Rorabaugh
Frank Blalock Werner Hoelzl Bartien Sayogo
William Bloethe Andrew Jones Devki Sharma
Anne Bosma Laszlo Kadar James Smith
Eldridge Byron Gael Kennedy David Solhtalab
Paul Cardinal James Kinney John Spare
Robert Christman Hermann Koch Gary Stoedter
Gary Donner Joseph L. Koepfinger James Swank
Randall Dotson Jim Kulchisky John Vergis
Denis Dufournet Chung-Yiu Lam Jane Verner
Edgar Dullni Michael Lauxman Mark Waldron
Donald Dunn Hua Liu Kenneth White
Patrick Fitzgerald Jorge Marquez James Wilson
Doaa Galal Georges Montillet Brian Withers
Frank Gerleve Michael Newman Xi Zhu

vi
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When the IEEE-SA Standards Board approved this guide on 31 October 2013, it had the following
membership:

John Kulick, Chair


David J. Law, Vice Chair
Richard H. Hulett, Past Chair
Konstantinos Karachalios, Secretary

Masayuki Ariyoshi Mark Halpin Ron Petersen


Peter Balma Gary Hoffman Gary Robinson
Farooq Bari Paul Houzé Jon Walter Rosdahl
Ted Burse Jim Hughes Adrian Stephens
Wael William Diab Michael Janezic Peter Sutherland
Stephen Dukes Joseph L. Koepfinger* Yatin Trivedi
Jean-Philippe Faure Oleg Logvinov Phil Winston
Alexander Gelman Yu Yuan

*Member Emeritus

Also included are the following nonvoting IEEE-SA Standards Board liaisons:

Richard DeBlasio, DOE Representative


Michael Janezic, NIST Representative

Michelle Turner
IEEE Standards Program Manager, Document Development

Erin Spiewak
IEEE Standards Program Manager, Technical Program Development

vii
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Introduction

This introduction is not part of IEEE Std C37.122.5™-2013, IEEE Guide for Moisture Measurement and Control in
SF6 Gas-Insulated Equipment.

The objectives of this guide are to introduce the importance of moisture and control in the design,
manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of transmission class gas-insulated switchgear and to
provide guidance for measurements of moisture in gas-insulated switchgear.

viii
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Contents
1. Overview .................................................................................................................................................... 1
1.1 General ................................................................................................................................................... 1
1.2 Scope...................................................................................................................................................... 2
1.3 Purpose .................................................................................................................................................. 2

2. Normative references.................................................................................................................................. 2

3. Definitions .................................................................................................................................................. 2

4. Conversion and measurement units ............................................................................................................ 3

5. Hygrometers ............................................................................................................................................... 4
5.1 General ................................................................................................................................................... 4
5.2 Chilled mirror instrument technology .................................................................................................... 5
5.3 Capacitive sensor technology................................................................................................................. 6
5.4 Measuring instrument selection considerations ..................................................................................... 7
5.5 Operation ............................................................................................................................................... 8

6. Pressure dependence and temperature influence on humidity measurement .............................................. 9


6.1 Pressure dependence .............................................................................................................................. 9
6.2 Temperature influence ......................................................................................................................... 10

7. Effects of moisture ....................................................................................................................................11


7.1 Effect of moisture on the dielectric strength of materials .................................................................... 12
7.2 Effects of moisture during arcing/interruption ..................................................................................... 15

8. Moisture control ........................................................................................................................................16


8.1 General ................................................................................................................................................. 16
8.2 Adsorbed and absorbed moisture ......................................................................................................... 16
8.3 External moisture sources .................................................................................................................... 17
8.4 Effect of evacuation ............................................................................................................................. 18
8.5 Application of desiccant ...................................................................................................................... 19
8.6 Moisture removal techniques ............................................................................................................... 20

9. Acceptable humidity limits and check intervals ........................................................................................21

10. Summary .................................................................................................................................................23

Annex A (normative) Calculations and conversions ....................................................................................24

Annex B (informative) Bibliography............................................................................................................30

ix
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IEEE Guide for Moisture Measurement
and Control in SF6 Gas-Insulated
Equipment

IMPORTANT NOTICE: IEEE Standards documents are not intended to ensure safety, health, or
environmental protection, or ensure against interference with or from other devices or networks.
Implementers of IEEE Standards documents are responsible for determining and complying with all
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This IEEE document is made available for use subject to important notices and legal disclaimers.
These notices and disclaimers appear in all publications containing this document and may
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Concerning IEEE Documents.” They can also be obtained on request from IEEE or viewed at
http://standards.ieee.org/IPR/disclaimers.html.

1. Overview

1.1 General

Moisture measurement (in the form of humidity) and control constitute a major part of an effective
commissioning and maintenance program for gas-insulated substations (GIS) and other SF6 gas-insulated
equipment (GIE). Note that the term GIS is used throughout this guide as a simplified term, but is also
meant to include other types of GIE as applicable. There are two separate and distinct issues relating to
moisture within GIS:

a) Very high levels of humidity increase the possibility that water molecules will condense into the
liquid phase, adversely affecting the dielectric withstand strength of GIS [B14] 1 and significantly
increasing the possibility of flashover. Therefore, humidity in GIS should be maintained at a level
such that the humidity does not condense in the form of liquid water over the entire range of the
expected operating temperatures and gas pressures.
b) The formation of corrosive and toxic decomposition by-products occurs in reactions between
moisture and dissociated SF6 found in the high energy arcs during normal switching operations.
Higher concentrations of humidity can result in higher concentrations of decomposition by-
products [B3]. These by-products cause corrosion and may degrade insulators and other internal
components within the GIS, and pose a safety hazard.

1
The numbers in brackets correspond with those in Annex B.

1
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IEEE Std C37.122.5-2013
IEEE Guide for Moisture Measurement and Control in SF6 Gas-Insulated Equipment

In an effort to address these two potential problems, users may periodically measure humidity in their SF6
gas-insulated equipment.

Compounding the problem of humidity measurement in GIS is the fact that water molecules inside the GIS
system can exist in the vapor phase in the SF6 gas, in the adsorbed phase on the surface of the enclosure,
and in the absorbed phase inside the polymeric materials such as epoxy insulators. The humidity
measurement itself detects only the amount of water vapor in the SF6 gas and cannot determine the total
moisture in the GIS. Adsorption, absorption, and desorption are temperature and time dependent effects
which influence the distribution of water molecules within the GIS, resulting in variations in the humidity
content of the SF6 gas. For example, humidity measurements taken in the winter would tend to be lower
than humidity measurements taken in the summer. At higher temperatures, more of the moisture on the
surfaces and within the bulk material are released in the form of water vapor into the SF6 gas. A proper
understanding of the sources of moisture and their migration phenomena are key to an effective humidity
measurement and moisture control program.

The objective of this guide is to provide adequate information about the techniques and know-how needed
to implement a successful humidity measurement and moisture control program for GIS.

1.2 Scope

This document establishes guidelines for moisture level measurement, moisture data interpretation, and
moisture control in gas-insulated equipment.

1.3 Purpose

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide guidance and promote understanding among users of gas
insulated equipment. More specifically, the objective is to communicate general knowledge and sufficient
understanding so as to help ensure successful operation of the equipment.

2. Normative references
The following referenced documents are indispensable for the application of this document (i.e., they must
be understood and used, so each referenced document is cited in text and its relationship to this document is
explained). For dated references, only the edition cited applies. For undated references, the latest edition of
the referenced document (including any amendments or corrigenda) applies.

IEEE Std C37.122.3™-2011, Guide for Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) Gas Handling for High Voltage (over
1000 Vac) Equipment. 2

3. Definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply. The IEEE Standards
Dictionary Online should be consulted for terms not defined in this clause. 3

absorbed moisture: Water in molecular form that permeates into a bulk solid (mainly into the insulators in
a gas-insulated substations (GIS) compartment).
adsorbed moisture: Water in molecular form that adheres to and accumulates on the surfaces of a solid
(mainly conductors and enclosures).

2
IEEE publications are available from The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (http://standards.ieee.org/).
3
IEEE Standards Dictionary Online subscription is available at
http://www.ieee.org/portal/innovate/products/standard/standards_dictionary.html.

2
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IEEE Std C37.122.5-2013
IEEE Guide for Moisture Measurement and Control in SF6 Gas-Insulated Equipment

decomposition by-products: Gases or solid substances arising out of the reaction of decomposition
products with other gases (such as water vapor and oxygen) or with solids (such as metals and/or
polymers).
decomposition products: Substances arising only from the dissociation of SF6 (in the high energy arc) into
its constituent components and their various combinations, such as SF2 and SF4.
desorbed moisture: Water in molecular form that is released from a bulk solid or the surface of a solid.
dew point temperature: The temperature to which the gas must be cooled to start condensing water vapor
in the form of liquid water. Dew point temperature is pressure dependent and must be accompanied by the
associated gas pressure.
NOTE—In practice, measured values below 0 °C were commonly termed dew point temperature, but in reality they are
frost point temperature values. Within this document, frost point temperature values are implied below 0 °C, but for
historical purposes and due to common industry practice, we continue to refer to these frost point temperature values
4
with the term, dew point temperature.
humidity: Water molecules in vapor form (water vapor) within a background gas. Humidity may be
expressed in various ways. See also: water vapor partial pressure; saturation vapor pressure; dew
point temperature; relative humidity; volume ratio; mass ratio.
hygrometer: An instrument used for measuring humidity in a gas.
mass ratio (moisture mass concentration): Ratio of the mass of water vapor to the total mass of the
humid gas, generally expressed in parts per million by weight, ppmw. Once determined, ppmw is not
pressure dependent.
moisture: Water molecules bound on the surface or in the structure of solids. See also: absorbed
moisture; adsorbed moisture.
relative humidity: The ratio between the water vapor partial pressure and the saturation vapor pressure at a
given temperature, generally expressed as a percentage (%).
saturation vapor pressure: The maximum water vapor partial pressure that can exist at a given
temperature. Any attempt to increase the water vapor partial pressure beyond the saturation vapor pressure
results in condensation.
volume ratio (moisture volume concentration): Ratio of the water vapor partial pressure to the total
pressure of the humid gas, generally expressed in parts per million by volume (ppmv). Once determined,
ppmv is not pressure dependent.
water vapor partial pressure: The part of the total pressure contributed by the water vapor pressure, or
the partial pressure exerted by the water vapor alone, usually in Pascal (Pa).

4. Conversion and measurement units


Several physical quantities and units are used to indicate the amount of humidity in a GIS compartment.
They are:

 Water vapor partial pressure, usually in Pascal (Pa)


 Volume ratio, usually in parts per million by volume (ppmv)
 Mass ratio, usually in part per million by weight (ppmw)
 Dew point temperature, usually in degrees Celsius (°C)
 Relative humidity, usually in percentage (%RH)
Note that the recommended unit of measurement commonly used in GIS is ppmv .

4
Notes in text, tables, and figures of a standard are given for information only and do not contain requirements needed to implement
this standard.

3
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IEEE Std C37.122.5-2013
IEEE Guide for Moisture Measurement and Control in SF6 Gas-Insulated Equipment

Refer to Annex A of this guide for a short explanation of each measurement unit as well as conversion
formulae between the various measurement units. Also, see Annex B of IEEE Std C37.122.3-2011.

5. Hygrometers

5.1 General

Various instruments are available for measuring humidity. Most of the instruments operate on one of two
measurement principles: chilled mirror, or capacitive (polymer or aluminum oxide) sensor technology.
Operating principles are discussed briefly in 5.2, along with advantages and disadvantages.

Figure 1 shows the location of the hygrometer and valves in a typical humidity measurement setup when
measuring from a GIS. Figure 2 depicts measuring directly from a cylinder [refer to item h) in 5.5
regarding testing of upright cylinders in liquid phase]. The GIS equipment manufacturer should provide
maximum permissible humidity levels expressed in ppmv or ppmw (independent of pressure); or expressed
in dew point temperature with associated pressure, as the dew point temperature value is pressure
dependent.

Typically, these instruments are equipped with a gas inlet for connection to the GIS and a gas outlet for
connection to a gas collection system (Recovery Method 1, as shown in Figure 1). Instruments are also
available with built-in gas recovery systems (Recovery Method 2, as shown in Figure 1). Stainless steel or
PTFE tubing is used for connection to the gas compartment.

Figure 1—Typical humidity measuring instrument set-up when connecting to GIS

4
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IEEE Std C37.122.5-2013
IEEE Guide for Moisture Measurement and Control in SF6 Gas-Insulated Equipment

Figure 2—Typical humidity measuring instrument set-up when connecting to cylinder

5.2 Chilled mirror instrument technology

Chilled mirror hygrometers measure the dew point temperature of a gas using the following principles.
Light shines onto a polished mirror surface, the temperature of which is controlled by a thermoelectric heat-
pump known as a Peltier element. A light-sensitive receiver measures the intensity of the direct reflection.
When the mirror is clean and dry, the intensity of the reflected light is at its maximum. Conversely, a cold
mirror with water vapor condensed on its surface scatters the light, resulting in less directly reflected light
and in reduced signal intensity. Using this received light signal as feedback in a closed loop control system,
the mirror is cooled to the temperature at which the thickness of the condensed layer, detected through the
intensity of the received light, remains constant. A condensate layer of constant thickness, with no further
net increase or decrease in condensation, is in dynamic equilibrium with the gas surrounding the mirror. In
this equilibrium condition, the dew point temperature of the gas is determined by measuring the
temperature of the mirror. If the condensate is known to be in liquid form, even for temperatures below
freezing, then the measured mirror temperature is taken as the dew point temperature. If the condensate is
known to be in a solid form as ice or frost, then the measured mirror temperature is taken as the frost point.
The typical flow rate is 40 l/h to 60 l/h.

Advantages include the following:

 High dew point temperature accuracy (± 0.1 °C to ± 0.5 °C)


 Wide measurement range (–60 °C to +20 °C dew point temperature at 101.3 kPa; 11 ppmv to
23 600 ppmv)
 Wide input pressure range (100 kPa to 1000 kPa)
 No frequent calibration required.
 Not adversely affected by decomposition by-products
 Mirror is easily cleaned of contamination

5
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IEEE Std C37.122.5-2013
IEEE Guide for Moisture Measurement and Control in SF6 Gas-Insulated Equipment

 Measurements can be taken at atmospheric or system pressure


 No measurement hysteresis or temperature sensitivity

Disadvantages include the following:

 High initial acquisition cost


 Potentially long sampling times for very dry gas in high ambient temperatures
 Requires periodic cleaning of the mirror
 Possible errors due to particulates on the mirror surface

5.3 Capacitive sensor technology

5.3.1 Polymer

These sensors use a hygroscopic polymer film which changes the capacitance of the sensor depending on
the relative humidity. Hygrometers using capacitive polymer sensors are typically the most commonly used
capacitive sensor type. These hygrometers usually measure the humidity content at atmospheric pressure,
with the inlet connected to the GIS system being sampled. Depending on the instrument design, flow rates
are maintained either automatically by the instrument, or by manual adjustment of a needle valve. Flow
rates are approximately 20 l/h. The sensors measure relative humidity and recalculate to dew point
temperature for indication. The lowest most instruments can measure is 30 ppmv.

Advantages include the following:

 Low cost
 Fast response time
 Not affected by high humidity values
 Simple in construction
 Lightweight and easy to use in the field

Disadvantages include the following:

 Dew point temperature accuracy ± 2 °C (for –40 °C to +20 °C) and ± 4 °C (for < –40 °C)
 Measurement hysteresis
 Temperature sensitivity
 Requires frequent calibration
 High concentrations of decomposition by-products can damage the sensor
 Low resolution at low humidity

5.3.2 Aluminum oxide

Aluminum oxide sensors are similar in operation to the capacitive polymer type in 5.3.1. The sensor is
constructed of an oxide layer allowing water molecules to migrate in and out of the porous structure
changing the capacitance with water vapor content. Most aluminum oxide sensors are maintained dry
within a desiccant chamber when not in use and between measurements. Flow rates of approximately
60 l/h are maintained until the indicated reading stabilizes. Typical indications are in dew point
temperature.

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Advantages include the following:

 Wide measuring range


 Simple in construction
 Lightweight and easy to use in the field

Disadvantages include the following:

 Slow response time


 Sensor subject to drift
 Dew point temperature accuracy ± 2 °C (for –40 °C to +20 °C) and ± 4 °C (for < –40 °C)
 Measurement hysteresis
 Temperature sensitivity
 Requires frequent calibration
 Decomposition by-products can damage the sensor

5.4 Measuring instrument selection considerations

Considerations for measuring instrument selection are as follows:

a) Should capture sampling gas. It is important to avoid SF6 released into the atmosphere during
measurement. Modern instruments will typically facilitate collection of gas by one of several
methods:
1) An exhaust port that connects to a low-pressure collection bag (as shown in Figure 1,
Recovery Method 1).
2) An exhaust port that connects to a recovery system which pumps the gas into an external
cylinder.
3) A built-in recovery system consisting of an internal pump and internal storage cylinder that
can be emptied back into a pressurized compartment (as shown in Figure 1, Recovery Method
2). Instrument operating pressure is typically 690 kPa to1030 kPa. Most internal recovery
pumps can return the gas to a pressurized gas compartment, but may not be able to provide
enough pressure to return the gas into a pressurized cylinder with liquid SF6 which is
2200 kPa at 20 °C.
Existing instruments without a gas capture capability should be upgraded or modified to include
this feature to avoid release of SF6 to the atmosphere.
b) Require a small quantity of gas for sampling to maximize the amount of samples that can be
performed and stored in the recovery system. Most modern instruments will require a small amount
(on the order of grams) of gas for analysis.
c) Fast response time. Instruments are available with response times as low as 3 min, with typical
times in the 5 to 10 min range (dependent on humidity content of gas being measured). Some
instruments will allow remaining sample time to be skipped and data saved if specified humidity
target level has been reached before testing is complete, saving both time and sampling gas.
d) Select an instrument with adequate accuracy, repeatability, ease of verifying calibration in the field,
and minimal drift.
e) Corrosion resistance. Sensor should be resistant to oil traces and corrosive gases.
f) Self-sealing connections. Sampling tubes and fittings should be equipped with self-sealing quick-
connectors or valves.
g) Resistant to permeation. Sampling tubes should be made of stainless steel or PTFE to minimize the
hygroscopic affects from permeation, adsorption, and absorption.

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h) Sturdy design. Able to withstand field use without leaking gas.


i) Automatic operation, data interpretation and storage. Instruments should have automatic operation
modes that perform the measurements, calculations, and data storage free of operator influence or
interpretation.
j) Multiple measurement instruments. Many instruments can perform simultaneous analyses of other
parameters such as measurement of SF6 purity and decomposition by-products using the same gas
sample as the humidity measurement. This minimizes the total gas amount used for testing all
aspects of gas quality, and reduces the gas that may be lost during test set-up (i.e., emitted in hoses
and connections).
k) Power requirements. For ac-powered units, the required power source must be available. Battery-
powered units may be available but with limited gas recovery options.

5.5 Operation

Based on experiences gained through using the instruments described in 5.1 through 5.3, the following
precautions are recommended to help ensure consistent measurements:
a) Only the type of connection hoses specified by the instrument manufacturer should be used.
Stainless steel is recommended, although PTFE also is used. When used, hoses should have as
small an inner volume as possible so that SF6 contact time with hose is low and permeation is
minimized. Typical hose sizes would be 3.18 mm O.D. / 2 mm I.D. and up to 12 m length, or 6.35
mm O.D. / 4.5 mm I.D. and up to 3 m length. Rubber hoses or similar materials should never be
used because they are hygroscopic and moisture coming from the walls of these materials
invalidates the readings.
b) Prior to assembly, the connection hoses and all fittings should be absolutely clean and dry. Oil and
grease are common causes of incorrect measurements. Once assembled, the system should be leak-
checked thoroughly to help ensure atmospheric moisture cannot enter and SF6 gas cannot escape
into the environment.
c) If the instrument has been left open to ambient air, the instrument and connection hoses should be
evacuated or purged with dry nitrogen prior to taking measurements.
d) The manufacturer’s instructions should be followed and the manufacturer-specified flow rates
should be maintained.
e) To help ensure that proper analysis can be performed, the date, ambient temperature, system
operating pressure, type of instrument, sample pressure (if appropriate), and temperature of the GIS
compartment should be recorded when readings are taken.
f) In the case of manually controlled, non-automatic measurements, sufficient time should be allowed
for the gas flow to provide stable readings. It may take many minutes for the reading to stabilize,
even if the instrument has been properly maintained (i.e., kept dry). Depending on design,
instruments can be manual or automatic, and some may automatically shut down after stabilization.
NOTE—It is important not to allow the gas pressure in the GIS to fall below the recommended limits for safe
operation. The manufacturer’s recommendations for gas sampling and moisture checks should be followed
when making these measurements.
g) Personnel should be aware that reactive gases (decomposition by-products) may be present. These
by-products may affect certain types of hygrometers more than others and could invalidate
humidity measurements.
CAUTION
These by-products are considered hazardous and should not be inhaled. Therefore, a sniff test should never
be used to determine the presence of by-products. The manufacturer and gas supplier handbooks should
be consulted for procedures on checking for the presence of hazardous by-products.

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h) Almost all the SF6 in a new, full cylinder is in the liquid phase occupying approximately 85% of
the total volume. Manufacturers supply the gas with guaranteed moisture content and as the
majority of the gas is in the liquid phase, accurate humidity readings of the gas in the cylinder can
only be obtained by measuring the moisture content of the liquid phase.
When upright, the vapor phase forms a headspace in the cylinder and if humidity measurements of
this headspace are within criteria, the liquid phase will have a far lower humidity level, and all the
gas will be acceptable. If the vapor phase humidity is above the desired criteria, the gas supplier
should be notified regarding possible rejection of the cylinders. Note that liquid phase testing of a
cylinder (without dip tube) would require the cylinder to be inverted and may raise safety concerns,
therefore, is not a recommended practice.
NOTE—Attempting to prove that moisture content of new cylinders is in accordance with the standard to
which the SF6 gas was purchased may not be achievable because the measuring equipment may not be able to
read that low.
i) Use of small sampling cylinders may not provide accurate results (also consult IEC 62271-4
[B12]), therefore, is not recommended practice as the inner surface of the cylinder may alter the
sample result.

6. Pressure dependence and temperature influence on humidity


measurement

6.1 Pressure dependence

Dew point temperature is pressure dependent and can be converted from dew point temperature at one
pressure to the equivalent dew point temperature at another pressure (see A.3). In order to obtain correct
results, the following shall be observed.

a) Dew point temperature without a corresponding pressure is meaningless. Either the dew point
temperature is with respect to system pressure (GIS compartment) or atmospheric/standard
pressure. This pressure requirement is independent of the type of hygrometer used. Hygrometers
without a pressure measurement are generally expecting that measurements take place at 101 kPa
absolute.
b) Historically, due to lack of computational capability, dew point temperature was used as the direct
measurement and de facto standard for reporting humidity data in GIS. However, newer
technology with built-in computing capability, provides automatic conversion of pressure-
dependent dew point temperature to pressure-independent ppmv. Consideration should be given to
the use of ppmv rather than dew point temperature for all future humidity data reporting.
c) Refer to Clause 4 for conversion and measurement units.
d) If the GIS manufacturer specifies an acceptable moisture limit at system pressure, the measurement
taken with the dew point temperature hygrometer shall be converted to that unit (usually ppmv or
ppmw for the appropriate pressure). Figure 3 shows a flow chart for typical unit conversion and
comparison.

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Figure 3—Flow chart for moisture determination and comparison with guidelines at GIS
system pressure [B11] (*Value from IEC 62271-1)

6.2 Temperature influence

The temperature of the GIS influences the humidity in the gas. Moisture is adsorbed on all solid surfaces in
the system or absorbed in the solid insulator material.An equilibrium exists between this adsorbed/absorbed
moisture and the humidity present in the gas. As the system temperature increases, more water molecules
are driven from the surfaces and bulk materials into the gas phase. Conversely, as the system temperature
decreases, water molecules from the gas phase are adsorbed on the surfaces and absorbed into the solid
insulator materials. Thus, SF6 systems have higher humidity levels at higher operating temperatures.
Therefore, seasonal variations of humidity measurements are usually observed in GIS. A typical experience
with the variation of humidity content with temperature is shown in Figure 4.

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The humidity measurement techniques discussed determine only the water vapor content in the gas.
Therefore, the results reflect only a fraction of the total moisture in the system. When humidity
measurements are taken in winter, the values are always low in comparison with summer values. This
seasonal variation of the recorded humidity values can give the impression of erratic measurements which
can be confusing to maintenance personnel. Without a satisfactory understanding, this variability in the
recorded values can eventually lead to loss of confidence in the overall humidity measurement program.
The influence of temperature on humidity measurements also implies that measurements should be carried
out in the summer months in order to establish the maximum humidity values in the system. This is a
common practice among utilities. The influence of temperature on the distribution of moisture in GIS is
discussed extensively in Nitta, T. et al [B14] and Chu, F. et al [B3].

Reprinted with permission from CEATI International, Report 217-T-424, ©1989.

Figure 4—Seasonal variation of humidity (moisture content) measurement in a


typical GIS compartment

7. Effects of moisture
In order to assess the effects of moisture on the dielectric strength of materials and, therefore, performance
of the GIS, an inventory of the main location of the moisture content inside GIS needs to be studied.
Epoxy insulators (spacers and rods) are the source of most of the moisture originally introduced during
commissioning. The aluminum oxide wall of the enclosure contains less moisture and the humidity
introduced with SF6 filling is generally insignificant to the total moisture content. Once in service, the only
additional source of moisture is through permeation of seals and from leaks. The process is driven by the
difference in partial pressure of water vapor between the inside of the GIS and ambient air and acts
independently of the difference in total pressure. Table 1 shows the moisture inventory determined on a
laboratory model. The mass balance of the moisture was determined by derived equations in [B4].

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Table 1 —Moisture inventory on a laboratory model

Moisture solubility Moisture in breaker


Pathway (g H20/g) component (g) Moisture distribution in breaker (g)
Summer 30 °C Winter -30 °C
Epoxy spacer/rod
(50% RH) 0.011 1199.2 1140.1 1269.0
Aluminum (50%
0.15 172.6 65.7 103.0
RH, 1 kg oxide)
-6
SF6 3.5 × 10 1.6 167.6 1.5
–40 °C dew point –40 °C dew point 18 °C dew point –41 °C dew point
Rubber permeation
3.0 per annum
(50% RH)
Crack diffusion
0.001 per annum
(50% RH)
Reprinted with permission from CEATI International, “A New Approach to moisture measurement and control in Gas
Insulated Switchgear.” ©1986.

These results show that the epoxy materials contain most of the moisture and the aluminum oxide layer
contains far less. The amount of moisture from permeation and diffusion is just a fraction of that contained
in the epoxy and aluminum oxide.

This distribution of moisture affects the humidity measurement results. For example, equipment with epoxy
insulators with high moisture content will result in higher humidity at all temperatures.

7.1 Effect of moisture on the dielectric strength of materials

Figure 5 is from detailed experiments carried out by Nitta et al [B5]. The experiments looked at the effects
of frost and liquid water on the surface of the insulator. The figure shows the flashover voltage in SF6 gas
(uniform field breakdown conditions at 250 kPa) at various humidity levels as the insulator was warmed
from –40 °C to room temperature. The humidity content is given as the partial pressure of water. The dew
point temperature is displayed as TD at the various moisture levels. When the temperature is below 0 °C,
the flashover voltage is similar to the dry condition level, indicating that frost on the surface of the insulator
does not result in a significant reduction of the dielectric withstand of the insulator. As the temperature
rises, the flashover voltage decreases as the frost turns to liquid water. The flashover voltage is lowest at
the highest water content. Once the temperature reaches the dew point temperature the flashover voltage
increases again approaching that of the dry condition level as the liquid water evaporates. The dielectric
constant of liquid water (k = 80) compared to ice (k = 2) is suspected to be the reason for the drop in the
dielectric withstand as liquid water is formed on the surface. In addition, a conductive path bridging the
electrodes could also result from liquid water. Impurities and SF6 decomposition by-products will likely
further increase this conductivity [B5]. Similar results were obtained under impulse conditions (see
Figure 6).

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Reprinted with permission from CEATI International, Report 217-T-424, ©1989.


Figure 5—Influence of moisture on the ac flashover voltage on GIS insulator surface
(1 mm Hg = 554 ppmv @ 2.4 atm SF6)

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Reprinted with permission from CEATI International, Report 217-T-424, ©1989.


Figure 6—Influence of humidity (vapor pressure) on the Impulse flashover voltage on GIS
insulator surface(1 mm Hg = 343 ppmv @ 3.9 atm SF6)

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The effects of SF6 decomposition by-products combined with moisture cannot only compromise the
integrity of the insulator from longer-term exposure, but it has also been shown to decrease the surface
resistance of the insulator. Figure 7 shows this effect [B5].

Reprinted with permission from CEATI International, Report 217-T-424, ©1989.

Figure 7—Variations of surface dc resistivity with exposure to HF and moisture

7.2 Effects of moisture during arcing/interruption

SF6 is a very stable molecule. In a high energy arc, the fluorine atom captures an electron causing SF6 to
dissociate into fragments and, under very high energies, into its atomic constituents—sulfur and fluorine.
In the ideal case. this reaction is reversible. Following the discharge, the fluorine atoms will lose this
captured electron and most of these constituents recombine to SF6 often referred to as “self-healing.”

nSF6 ↔ SF5 + SF4 + SF3 + SF2 + SF + S + F

However, in the presence of impurities such as moisture and oxygen, these fragments of dissociated SF6
react to form decomposition by-products. The gaseous decomposition by-products formed include thionyl
fluoride (SOF2), hydrogen fluoride (HF), sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). SOF2 and HF
on contact with moisture (including on the skin or in the respiratory tract) forms hydrofluoric acid. These
decomposition by-products cause corrosion of the components, especially over the long-term.

SF4 + H2O → SOF2 + 2HF


SOF2 + H2O → SO2 + 2HF

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8. Moisture control

8.1 General

In order to formulate an effective moisture control program, it is necessary to understand the moisture
dynamics in GIS. After the major sources and sinks of moisture have been identified, control techniques
can be applied to keep the moisture at an acceptable level. Since the GIS compartment is completely
enclosed, the major sources of moisture are surface adsorption and bulk absorption (internal), and leaks
through cracks and permeation through seals (external).

8.2 Adsorbed and absorbed moisture

Adsorbed moisture is water in molecular form that sticks on the surfaces of the aluminum conductors,
enclosures, and epoxy insulators. Surface adsorption is different from surface condensation because water
in the adsorbed mode is not in the liquid phase. Since most aluminum surfaces contain a thick oxide layer,
the amount of moisture adsorbed can be significant.

Absorbed moisture is water in molecular form that permeates into or out of the organic solids depending on
the intial concentration, mainly into the filled epoxy insulators in the GIS compartment. When the
insulators initially are exposed to humid ambient air, the water molecules permeate into the epoxy. The rate
of permeation is proportional to the diffusivity and solubility of the water molecules in the solid.

Although the diffusion rate of water molecules into the epoxy solid is slow, a significant amount of water
can be absorbed by the insulator during and after fabrication, and prior to commissioning, due to the large
mass of the insulators. Research indicates that absorbed moisture constitutes the biggest source of moisture
in GIS [B4]. Further research has shown that an effective way to control moisture is to prevent it from
getting into insulators in the first place [B4]. Placing the epoxy insulators in a dry environment can
minimize the amount of moisture uptake. As shown in Figure 8, absorbent materials also are effective in
keeping moisture from entering epoxy insulators. In temporary situations, moisture can be controlled
through the use of enclosures (such as plastic bags) with desiccants.

Other sources of moisture, such as diffusion through pinhole leaks, permeation through elastomeric seals,
and aluminum porosity, are minor compared with the adsorbed or absorbed moisture on the aluminum
enclosures and epoxy insulators.

Because the rate of desorbed moisture is proportional to temperature, the combination of heating and
applying vacuum to the compartment (evacuating) is an effective drying technique. However, heating a full
size GIS compartment is impractical in most circumstances and evacuation is often the only viable
technique to remove moisture. Moisture scavenging with an extremely dry gas over an extended period of
time is required to remove the absorbed moisture from the insulators.

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Reprinted with permission from CEATI International, Report 217-T-424, ©1989.


Figure 8—Moisture content detected in an enclosed chamber with materials placed
inside (as specified in legend)

8.3 External moisture sources

The most common sources of moisture ingress from the outside of the GIS enclosure are permeations
through elastomeric seals, gaskets, and pin-hole leaks. The mechanism of moisture ingress is through the
process of diffusion, driven by the water vapor partial pressure difference between the compartment and the
ambient air. Since SF6 is significantly drier than air, the water vapor partial pressure difference generates a
gradient, driving the water through the organic material seals to the SF6 (i.e., against the gas flow), even
though the pressure is higher inside the compartment than outside.

In a properly designed and assembled GIS system, the amount of external moisture that diffuses into the
GIS through leaks and O-rings has been shown to be small compared to the moisture coming from the
epoxy insulators and the adsorbed moisture on the aluminum walls [B6]. However, in order to prevent
accumulation of excessive moisture inside the compartment, leaks should be kept to a minimum.

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8.4 Effect of evacuation

Prior to filling the GIS with SF6, the GIS compartments must be evacuated to a pressure prescribed by the
manufacturer.

Research [B4] has demonstrated that the application of a vacuum is an effective way to remove surface
adsorbed moisture. Figure 9 illustrates the differences in the amounts of desorbed moisture from a stack of
aluminum panels with large surface areas under evacuated and non-evacuated conditions. The vacuum
achieved was about 0.066 kPa (500 microns) for about one hour. As this figure shows, the removal of
adsorbed moisture can occur at a very rapid pace. When the proper vacuum level is reached, complete
desorption of moisture can be achieved in a matter of hours. It is important to note, however, that if organic
solids such as epoxy insulators are present in a gas compartment, the desorption moisture will take much
longer.

Reprinted with permission from CEATI International, Report 217-T-424, ©1989.

Figure 9—Effects of evacuation (vacuuming) on the moisture content


of aluminum surfaces

Previous research indicates that the time constant for the absorbed moisture in the insulator to diffuse is on
the order of weeks [B7]. Applying a vacuum for a short time removes only the surface adsorbed moisture,
mostly on aluminum surfaces. Thus, a prolonged evacuation time, such as 24 hours, will not remove the
absorbed moisture in the bulk material such as the epoxy insulators—the vacuum needs to be applied for
weeks to achieve this. Purging the GIS compartment with gas, such as dry nitrogen or dry air, may be
another alternative for removing adsorbed moisture, but, the same as with evacuation, many weeks would
be required for absorbed moisture to permeate out of the bulk material. After the dry gas has taken up the
desorbed moisture, it can be discarded (in the case of air or nitrogen) or dried again by passing it through a
dryer (if SF6 is used).

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After initially filling the GIS with SF6, the humidity level in the gas increases slowly due to the desorption
of moisture from the internal surfaces, then from the bulk material, until the moisture inside and outside the
bulk material (such as epoxy insulators) is in equilibrium.

Evacuating gas compartments to a level between 0.027 kPa (200 microns) and 0.040 kPa (300 microns) has
shown to be very effective [B13]. Manufacturer’s instructions should always be followed since they will
account for the quantity of desiccant (if used) as well as the internal volume of the compartment and
internal components.

8.5 Application of desiccant

Many manufacturers have installed desiccant canisters in the GIS compartments to absorb any excessive
moisture and decomposition by-products. The desiccant materials are normally activated alumina, silica
gel and molecular sieves (such as zeolites). The desiccant materials effectively remove humidity by
trapping it on the desiccant's surfaces. With proper application of the desiccant materials, the moisture
levels in the gas compartments (such as circuit breaker enclosures) can be maintained at a low level.

Sizing of desiccant will usually consider the weight of water contained in the initial fill of insulating gas
plus the weight of water contained in the epoxy components, painted and bare metal surfaces, and the
amount of water that can enter from the atmosphere via exposed insulator edges and elastomeric seals for
the specified amount of time. This total weight of water will be divided by the absorption capability of the
desiccant specified along with a safety factor to determine the total amount of desiccant required. Typical
absorption capabilities of zeolites are 10% to 15% of their total weight.

The ideal sizing of the desiccant should insure that with normal current interruption of the equipment (for
CB or switches), or with normal conditions for other gas compartments, the humidity level will be kept
below the recommended maximum allowable value. Therefore, the desiccant will not need to be replaced
for the expected life of the equipment, or at least the next required opening of the compartment to perform
maintenance.

Each manufacturer typically has a formula for calculating the correct amount of desiccant that is installed
in each gas compartment.

Although most desiccant materials can be reactivated after they have been saturated with water vapor, such
practice is not recommended in GIS operation. When used in circuit breakers, the desiccant absorbs
decomposition by-products and moisture. Heating of the contaminated desiccant can lead to a catalytic
reaction between the desiccant materials and the corrosive by-products. This reaction is known to be
exothermic, and can generate sufficient heat to cause equipment damage. Therefore, reactivation of
desiccants, after application in an SF6 environment known to contain traces of decomposition by-products,
is not recommended. Saturated desiccants should be replaced with new material, and since they could
contain decomposition by-products, should be treated as contaminated material and disposed of
accordingly.

Some manufacturers may not specify the use of desiccant due to the thorough drying process which is
required prior to gas filling. The process usually includes purging with a dry gas (usually nitrogen) for a
specific holding time, evacuating to a low level, such as 0.027 kPa (200 microns) with hold times of
2 hours or more, and confirmation of minimal vacuum leaks [0.007 kPa (50 microns) rise over 1 hour].

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8.6 Moisture removal techniques

8.6.1 Assembly of new switchgear

New switchgear gas compartments should be dried in accordance with the manufacturer’s
recommendations or using the process which is described in 5.2 of IEEE Std C37.122.3-2011.

8.6.2 Switchgear which has been in service

Gas in switchgear that has been in service and determined to have a humidity content which is either wetter
than the manufacturer’s recommendations or higher than a –5 °C dew point temperature at system pressure
should be dried or replaced. Dew point temperatures should be referenced to the GIS temperature range.

In gas compartments where desiccants are not used, water vapor can be removed from the gas by passing
the SF6 through a gas handling system equipped with a desiccant dryer. The dryer material can be arranged
in the gas handling system so that gas withdrawn from the equipment passes through the dryer and into the
storage tank. It then can be returned from the tank to the compartment, again passing through the dryer.
Care should be exercised to help ensure that the desiccant is not saturated before the gas is passed through
the dryer system back into the equipment. A closed recirculation system, in which the gas is removed from
one end of the compartment and returned to the other end through a dryer while the system is energized,
has also been examined in Dale and Chu [B7]. Experiments have shown that the turbulence generated in
the SF6 at the filling port is not a problem during such recirculation, as shown in [B6]. The other factors to
consider before implementing recirculation of SF6 on an energized system are the cleanliness of the return
hose and the adaption of proper filters to prevent particles from entering the gas compartment, and the
possibility to move existing internal particles in harmless locations into areas where they may cause an
internal fault.

Gas compartments which contain desiccant will require the equipment to be taken out of service, de-
energized, the gas removed for drying, and the gas compartment processed as if it were new switchgear
(including changing of the desiccant).

8.6.3 Equipment sizing recommendations

The hoses and fittings are an important part of the evacuation process as they can affect the time required to
reduce the moisture in the compartment before introduction of SF6 gas. Long hoses or hoses with a small
diameter can significantly increase the evacuation time and should be avoided. Hoses should be sized
appropriately given the equipment fitting size. Typically, a minimum of 20 mm in diameter is used.

The residual pressure (inlet pressure) of a vacuum pump should be lower than 2 kPa (15,000 microns). In
order to speed up evacuation of gas compartments, the use of vacuum pumps with a residual pressure at the
inlet lower than 0.01 kPa (75 microns) is recommended.

For additional recommendations, refer to [B12], IEC 62271-4 and IEEE Std C37.122.3.

8.6.4 Low temperature moisture removal considerations

Removing moisture from gas compartments prior to filling with gas, when the temperature of component
surfaces is below freezing, is very difficult and time consuming. The moisture adsorbed on the enclosure
walls and other cold surfaces will turn into a solid and may appear as frost.

Low vacuum levels, such as 0.027 kPa (200 microns), will need to be maintained for a very long time in
order to sublimate the solid water (ice or frost) into a vapor which will be removed by the evacuation
equipment. The compartment may also be artificially warmed above the freezing point, or possibly warmed
by sunlight.

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If it is necessary to evacuate and fill a compartment at ambient temperatures below the freezing point,
humidity measurements should be made as soon as all components reach a temperature above freezing to
confirm that the moisture content is in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations. Additional
measurements may be made during warmer conditions in the first year of installation to confirm the
humidity level is acceptable, since desorbed moisture from interior surfaces and bulk solids will enter the
gas as the temperature increases.

9. Acceptable humidity limits and check intervals


As indicated in Clause 1, a major reason for controlling moisture in GIS compartments is to prevent
condensation of water on the surface of the solid insulators and interior surfaces. Previous research in Nitta,
T. et al [B14]and Chu et al [B3], has shown that the formation of liquid water on the insulator surface can
reduce the dielectric withstand strength, while the formation of ice on the surface has negligible effects (see
Figure 5). Therefore, the dew point temperature is used as one of the criteria for determining acceptable
humidity limits in GIS.

Additionally, since water vapor can combine with trace amounts of decomposition by-products in the gas to
form corrosive hydrofluoric (HF) acid, some equipment manufacturers have established more stringent
humidity limits in compartments such as circuit breakers. Table 2 outlines a few acceptable limits
recommended by manufacturers in addition to IEC standards and CIGRE brochures. Table 3 outlines IEC
and ASTM standards for new and re-used gases. It should be noted that the IEC and ASTM standards are
for new gases to be introduced into the GIS compartment, and that these specifications do not constitute the
humidity limits in the equipment. In practice, the humidity level increases after the introduction of new gas
into the compartment—the result of moisture redistribution from insulators and interior surfaces as
discussed in Clause 8.

The moisture limits suggested by manufacturers in Table 3 are equilibrium values taken several months
after the new gas is introduced and are based on –30 °C to +30 °C ambient temperature range.

Humidity check intervals are typically 24 hours after initial filling, and on a periodic basis. It should be
noted that 24 hours is not sufficient for the moisture levels in the gas and epoxy insulators to reach
equilibrium. The specific manufacturer's recommendations should always be followed.

Most manufacturers recommend checking the humidity level six months after filling to help ensure that the
limit has not exceeded the recommended values.

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Table 2 —Recommsended humidity limits from various


manufacturers and organization

Humidity Limits (in ppmv)


Other
Gas insulated equipment Circuit breakers equipment Remarks
A 400 550
B 100 -- Dead tank puffer-1

400 -- Dead tank puffer-2

810 -- Live tank puffer

-- 800 Bus

C 120 600

D 300 300

E 70 -- Two pressure ype

-- 150 Bus with disconnect switch

-- 500 Bus w/o disconnect switch

F 150 1000
Organization Limit Document

Brochure 234 (SF6 Recycling Guide) for


CIGRE 200
pressures less than 850 kPa

IEC -5a IEC 62271-1 (2007) [B11]

a
–5 °C limit is dew point temperature referenced to system pressure, and not ppmv.

Portions of Table 2 reprinted with permission from CEATI International, Report 217-T-424, ©1989.

Table 3 —Maximum humidity limits from standards and gas distributors

Dew point
@ 100 kPa
SF6 manufacturer (in ppmv) ppmw (14.7 psig)

A 111

Standards
IEC 60376 (2005-06) [B9] 200 25 –36 °C New SF6 gas
IEC 60480 (2004-10) [B10] 200 25 –36 °C Re-used SF6 gas
ASTM D2472-00 [B1] 8a 1 –62 °C New SF6 gas
a
Based on liquid phase sampling by gas manufacturer
.

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10. Summary
In order to obtain a reliable moisture measurement in gas-insulated equipment, it is necessary to establish
consistent procedures specific to the type of humidity measuring instrument to be used. Conversion factors
shall be properly applied to the specific instrument readings so they can be properly related to the units of
measurements, as specified by the GIS manufacturers for acceptable humidity limits. In addition, humidity
measurement shall be related to the equipment temperature and pressure. When these factors are under
adequate control, the records of the humidity values collected over time show a pattern of consistent
measurements. This provides a solid foundation for diagnosing the GIS for moisture problems and, if
necessary, the need for corrective action.

An effective moisture control program also should take into account the various internal and external
moisture sources. Moisture adsorption and absorption in epoxy insulators, before commissioning and after
repair, constitute the biggest source of moisture in GIS. Proper handling of epoxy insulators and aluminum
enclosure surfaces greatly reduces the amount of moisture in GIS. The proper use of desiccants, both inside
the GIS enclosure and on the gas handling equipment, is also an effective way to remove moisture. With a
carefully formulated moisture control program, the levels of moisture in the GIS can be maintained at an
acceptable level, preventing the risk of flashover due to condensation of water, and corrosion caused by the
generation of large amounts of decomposition by-products.

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Annex A

(normative)

Calculations and conversions

A.1 General

There is a range of measuring instruments available giving a variety of different parameters. In addition,
manufacturers specify their acceptable limits in differing units. Formulas and conversion between these
varying units and values are presented to help ensure equivalency between measured and reported
parameters.

Table A.1—Symbols, units and values

Description Symbol Units Value

Total pressure p Pa, kPa −


Standard pressure p kPa 100
Temperature t, T °C, K −
Water vapor partial pressure e Pa −
Dew/frost point temperature (see NOTE) td / tf °C −
Volume ratio, parts per million by volume ppmv μl/l −
Mass ratio, parts per million by weight ppmw mg/kg −
Molecular weight of carrier gas (SF6) Mg g/mol 146.06
Molecular weight of water vapor (H2O) Mv g/mol 18.02

NOTE—In practice, measured values below 0 °C were commonly termed dew point, but in reality they are frost point
values. Within this annex, for correct results, we use frost point values (tf) below 0 °C, but for historical purposes and
due to common industry practice, we continue to refer to the frost point values with the term, dew point.

A.2 Fundamental formulas

A.2.1 Water vapor partial pressure


There are many different empirical equations to express the saturation vapor pressure with respect to water
at a specific temperature. These equations have varying degrees of complexity. Some have large numbers
of parameters and are not analytically reversible. For most technical applications, a less complex
approximation formula is given by Magnus. This formula provides saturation vapor pressure with respect to
water (i.e., water vapor partial pressure) as a function of temperature and can be reversed to provide dew
point temperature as a function of vapor pressure. Equation (A.1) is valid for temperatures 0 °C to +50 °C.

 17.62 ⋅ t 
e = 611.2 ⋅ exp   (A.1)
 243.12 + t 

where
e is the water vapor parial pressure in Pa
t is the temperature in °C

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Equation (A.2) is valid with respect to ice in the range −60 °C to 0 °C.

 22.46 ⋅ t 
e = 611.2 ⋅ exp   (A.2)
 272.62 + t 

where
e is the water vapor parial pressure in Pa
t is the temperature in °C

A.2.2 Dew point temperature

The Magnus formula for saturation vapor pressure with respect to water, Equation (A.1), may be reversed
to calculate dew point temperature given a known vapor pressure. Equation (A.3) takes the following form
which is valid over the temperature range of 0 °C to +50 °C.

 e 
ln  
t d = 243.12  611.2  (A.3)
 e 
17.62 − ln  
 611.2 

where
e is the water vapor parial pressure in Pa
td is the temperature in °C.

To calculate the vapor pressure e from dew point temperature td, Equation (A.1) is used substituting the
temperature t with the dew point temperature td, as shown in Equation (A.4).

 17.62 ⋅ t d 
e = 611.2 ⋅ exp   (A.4)
 243.12 + t d 

Equation (A.2) may also be reversed in the same way. Equation (A.5) takes the following form which is
valid over the temperature range −60 °C to 0 °C.

 e 
ln  
t f = 272.62  611.2  (A.5)
 e 
22.46 − ln  
 611.2 

where
e is the water vapor parial pressure in Pa
tf is the dew (frost) point temperature in °C (See NOTE in Table A.1)

To calculate the vapor pressure e from dew point temperature td, Equation (A.2) is used substituting the
temperature t with the dew (frost) point temperature tf, as shown in Equation (A.6).

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 22.46 ⋅ t f 
e = 6112 ⋅ exp   (A.6)
 
 272.62 + t f 

A.2.3 Volume ratio (parts per million by volume)

Volume ratio is defined as the ratio of the number of water molecules to the number of molecules of the
carrier gas (SF6). It is most often expressed as parts per million by volume, ppmv, and given by Equation
(A.7).

e
ppm v = ⋅ 10 6 (A.7)
p−e

where
e is the water vapor parial pressure in Pa
p is the total pressure at which the vapor pressure e is measured

The inverse Equation (A.7) for calculating the vapor pressure e from ppmv and total pressure p is given by
Equation (A.8).

ppm v ⋅ p
e= (A.8)
ppm v + 10 6

A.2.4 Mass ratio, parts per million by weight

Mass ratio is defined as the ratio of the mass of water to the mass of the carrier gas (SF6). It is most often
expressed as parts per million by weight, ppmw, and given by Equation (A.9).

Mv e
ppm w = ⋅ ⋅ 10 6 (A.9)
Mg p−e

where
e is the water vapor parial pressure in Pa
p is the total pressure at which the vapor pressure e is measured
Mv is the molecular weight of water (H2O) 18.02
Mg is the molecular weight of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), 146.06

Using the molecular weights for water vapor and SF6, results in Equation (A.10).

18.02 e e
ppm w = ⋅ ⋅ 10 6 = 0.123 ⋅ 10 6 (A.10)
146.06 p − e p−e

The inverse Equation (A.10) for calculating the water vapor partial pressure e from ppmw and total pressure
p results in Equation (A.11).

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ppm w ⋅ p
e = 8.1 (A.11)
ppm w + 10 6

A.3 Humidity conversions

A.3.1 Converting between ppmv and ppmw


The simplest of conversions is between ppmv and ppmw. These conversions are done with the following
relationships (as shown in Equation (A.12) and Equation (A.13) if water content is measured in pure SF6
with a molecular weight of 146.06 g/mol.

ppm v = 8.1 ppm w (A.12)

ppm w = 0.123 ppm v (A.13)

A.3.2 Dew point temperature pressure correction

Dew point temperature is a pressure dependent quantity and is usually measured at standard pressure
(100 kPa) or system pressure (for example 450 kPa). To convert the dew point temperature from one
pressure to another, use the following procedure:

A.3.2.1 Convert dew point temperature at pressure p1 to the equivalent dew point
temperature at pressure p2

With Equation (A.6), use dew point temperature t1 to calculate vapor pressure e1 with respect to total
pressure p1, as shown in Equation (A.14).

 22.46 ⋅ t1 
e1 = 611.2 ⋅ exp   (A.14)
 272.62 + t1 

Convert vapor pressure e1 to vapor pressure e2 relative to total pressure p2, as shown in Equation (A.15).

p2
e2 = ⋅ e1 (A.15)
p1

With Equation (A.5) and vapor pressure e2, calculate dew point temperature t2 relative to pressure p2, as
shown in Equation (A.16).

 e 
ln  2 
t 2 = 272.62  611.2  (A.16)
 e 
22.46 − ln  2 
 611.2 

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Following this procedure, convert −20 °C dew (frost) point temperature measured at 100 kPa to the
equivalent dew (frost) point temperature with respect to a system pressure of 450 kPa, as shown in
Equation (A.17), Equation (A.18), and Equation (A.19).
t1 = –20 °C
p1 = 100 kPa
p2 = 450 kPa

 22.46 ⋅ (− 20) 
e1 = 611.2 ⋅ exp  = 103.26  (A.17)
 272. 62 + (− 20 ) 

450
e2 = ⋅ 103.26 = 464.67 (A.18)
100

 464.67 
ln  
 611.2 
t 2 = 272.62 = −3.3 ° C (A.19)
 464.67 
22.46 − ln  
 611.2 

The dew (frost) point relative to system pressure p2 of 450 kPa is −3.3 °C.

A.3.2.2 Convert ppmv to dew (frost) point temperature tf relative to pressure p

With Equation (A.10), use the ppmv to calculate vapor pressure e with respect to total pressure p, as shown
in Equation (A.20).

ppm v ⋅ p
e= (A.20)
ppm v + 10 6

With Equation (A.5) and vapor pressure e, calculate dew (frost) point temperature tf relative to pressure p,
as shown in Equation (A.21).

 e 
ln  
t f = 272.62  611.2  (A.21)
 e 
224.6 − ln  
 611.2 

Following this procedure, convert 150 ppmv to the equivalent dew (frost) point temperature with respect to
a standard pressure p of 100 kPa, as shown in Equation (A.22) and Equation (A.23).

ppmv = 150
p = 100 kPa = 100000 Pa

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150 ⋅ 100000
e= = 14.998 (A.22)
150 + 10 6

 14.998 
ln  
t f = 272.62  611.2  = −38.6 ° C (A.23)
 14.998 
22.46 − ln  
 611.2 

The dew (frost) point temperature relative to standard pressure p of 100 kPa at 150 ppmv is −38.6 °C.

A.3.2.3 Convert dew (frost) point temperature tf relative to pressure p to equivalent ppmv
With Equation (A.6), use dew (frost) point temperature tf to calculate vapor pressure e with respect to
measurement pressure p, as shown in Equation (A.24).

 22.46 ⋅ t f 
e = 611.2 ⋅ exp   (A.24)
 272.62 + t f 
 

With Equation (A.9), use vapor pressure e and measurement pressure p to calculate ppmv , as shown in
Equation (A.25).

e
ppm v = ⋅ 10 6 (A.25)
p−e

Following this procedure, convert a dew (frost) point temperature of –40 °C measured at standard pressure
p of 100 kPa to the equivalent volume ratio in ppmv, as shown in Equation (A.26) and Equation (A.27).
tf = −40 °C
p = 100 kPa = 100000 Pa

 22.46 ⋅ ( −40) 
e = 611.2 ⋅ exp   = 12.850 (A.26)
 272.62 + ( −40) 

12.850
ppm v = ⋅ 10 6 = 128.5 (A.27)
100000 − 12.850

The equivalent volume ratio to a dew (frost) point temperature of −40 °C measured at a pressure of 100 kPa
is 128.5 ppmv.

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Annex B

(informative)

Bibliography
Bibliographical references are resources that provide additional or helpful material but do not need to be
understood or used to implement this standard. Reference to these resources is made for informational use
only.

[B1] ASTM D2472-00—Specification for Sulfur Hexafluoride. 5


[B2] Canadian Electrical Association (CEATI). 6
[B3] Chu, F. Y., J. M. Braun, and H. A. Stuckless, “Generation and effects of low level arcing by-
products in gas-insulated equipment,” Gaseous Dielectrics IV, Proceedings of the Fourth International
Symposium on Gaseous Dielectrics, Knoxville, Tenn., Apr. 29–May 3, L. G. Christophorou and M. O.
Pace, eds. New York: Pergamon Press, 1984.
[B4] Chu, F. Y., et al., “A new approach to moisture measurement and control in Gas Insulated
Switchgear,” Proceedings of the Canadian Electrical Association, Engineering & Operating Division
Meeting, Spring 1986.
[B5] Chu, F. Y., et al., "Assessment of Moisture in Gas Insulated Substations," Canadian Electrical
Association Report 217-T-424, June 1989.
[B6] Cooper, J. S., W. South, and J. F. Shimshock, “Field test experience and diagnostic techniques on
1200 kV gas insulated substation components,” CIGRE, paper no. 23-07, 1984.
[B7] Dale, S. J. and F. Y. Chu, “GIE moisture survey, North American utilities,” unpublished, 1984.
[B8] Gonzalez, L. A. and J. M. Braun, “Ingress and Moisture Migration in GIS,” Ontario Hydro Research
Division Report 86-57-H, Jan. 1987.
[B9] IEC 60376 (2005)—Specification of technical grade sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) for use in electrical
equipment. 7
[B10] IEC 60480 (2004)—Guidelines for the checking and treatment of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) taken
from electrical equipment and specification for re-use.
[B11] IEC 62271-1 (2007)—High-voltage switchgear and controlgear—Part 1: Common specifications.
[B12] IEC 62271-4—High-voltage switchgear and controlgear—Part 4: Handling procedures for sulfur
hexafluoride (SF6).
[B13] Lam, E., Hopkins, M., “Moisture Evacuation Procedure for Gas Insulated Transmission Bus,” IEEE
Transmission and Distribution Conference and Exhibition, 2005/2006 IEEE PES, 21-24 May 2006.
[B14] Nitta, T. et al., “Factors controlling surface flashovers in GIS,” IEEE Transactions on Power
Apparatus and Systems, vol. PAS-97, no. 3, pp. 959-965, 1978.

5
ASTM publications are available from the American Society for Testing and Materials, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, PO Box C700, West
Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, USA (http://www.astm.org/).
6
CEATI publications are available from CEATI, 1010 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 2500, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2R7.
(www.ceati.com).
7
IEC publications are available from the Sales Department of the International Electrotechnical Commission, 3 rue de Varembé, PO
Box 131, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland (htt://www.iee.ch/). IEC publications are also available in the United States from the
Sales Department, American National Standards Institute, 25 West 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036, USA
(http://www.ansi.org).

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