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Seismic Analysis of a 500-kV Power Transformer of the

Type Damaged in the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake


Guo-Liang Ma, S.M.ASCE 1; and Qiang Xie, M.ASCE 2

Abstract: As indispensable electric power equipment in substations, high-voltage power transformers have experienced severe damage in
past earthquakes. This paper illustrates an earthquake-damaged 500-kV power transformer: all three 550-kV bushings fractured, oil con-
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servator supports were sheared off, and leaked transformer oil caused a fire. A detailed finite-element model of the power transformer was
developed. The modal and response-history analyses using the finite-element model were conducted to investigate possible reasons for the
power transformer earthquake damage. The results indicated that the local modes of the transformer components, such as bushings and
turrets, and the oil conservator dominate the power transformer vibration. Spectral accelerations at the top flange plates of the turrets
on the transformer tank were significantly amplified for the transformer bushings. Peak resultant bending moments at the bottoms
of the air-side insulators of the 550-kV bushings subjected to the Wenchuan earthquake motions exceeded their bending capacities.
Accelerations for the oil conservator were also greatly amplified, thus the oil conservator supports suffered large translational and torsional
deformations to the earthquake motions. It is concluded from the earthquake damage and seismic analyses that this type of power transformer
is vulnerable to strong earthquakes because the earthquake effect is not adequately considered in the power transformer structural design.
DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)CF.1943-5509.0001145. © 2018 American Society of Civil Engineers.
Author keywords: Earthquake damage; Power transformer; Finite-element analysis; Response-history analysis; Acceleration response
spectral amplification.

Introduction transformers from their foundations, breakage of bushing air-side


insulators, fracture of bushing flanges, and oil leakage from bush-
High-voltage power transformers, whose function is to step up ings, oil conservators, and power transformer tanks.
and down the rated voltages in the electric power transmission The seismic vulnerability of power transformers and bushings
and distribution systems, are key pieces of substation equipment. was known long ago. Therefore, many studies have been conducted
However, high-voltage power transformers have suffered severe to evaluate and improve the seismic performance of high-voltage
damage in past earthquakes, including the 1971 San Fernando power transformers. Historical earthquake records, generated arti-
earthquake (Palk et al. 1975), the 1994 Northridge earthquake in ficial earthquake motions, sine beats, and steady-state sines were
the United States (Schiff 1997), the 1999 Kocaeli earthquake in used to test substation equipment (Palk et al. 1975) after the 1971
Turkey (Sezen and Whittaker 2006), the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake San Fernando earthquake. Klopfensein et al. (1976) proposed the
in Taiwan (Schiff and Tang 2000), the 2010 Sierra El Mayor seismic requirements on substation equipment by experimental and
earthquake in North America (Cochran 2015), the 2008 analytical studies. The IEEE in the United States developed and
Wenchuan earthquake in China (Yu et al. 2008; Xie and Zhu 2011), updated IEEE 693 (IEEE 2006) for seismic test and qualification
the 2010 Haiti earthquake (Fujisaki et al. 2014), the 2011 Tohoku- of electric equipment. The ASCE Electric Power and Communica-
Oki earthquake in Japan (Eidinger et al. 2012), and the 2013 tions Committee gave specific guidelines to improve the earthquake
Lushan earthquake in China (You and Zhao 2013). Take the performance of electric power equipment (Schiff 1998). Seismic per-
Wenchuan earthquake, for example, a surface wave magnitude formance of 196-, 220-, and 550-kV porcelain transformer bushings
Ms 8.0 earthquake caused widespread earthquake damage to the were evaluated by tests and analyses (Gilani et al. 1998, 1999a, b;
power grid of Sichuan, a southwest province of China. More than Whittaker et al. 2004; Fahad 2013). The seismic performance of
85 high-voltage power transformers with rated voltage of 110 kV high-voltage power transformer-bushing systems was studied by
and greater, including two 500-kV power transformers, 20 220-kV earthquake simulator tests and numerical analysis (e.g., Bellorini
power transformers, and 63 110-kV power transformers, were et al. 1998; Villaverde et al. 2001; Ersoy et al. 2008; Filiatrault
damaged in the earthquake (Yu et al. 2008; Xie and Zhu 2011). and Matt 2005, 2006; Kong 2010; Płatek et al. 2010; Reinhorn
The earthquake damage and failure included overturning of the et al. 2011; Koliou et al. 2013a, b; Zareei et al. 2016). Seismic iso-
lation devices (e.g., sliding bearings, rubber bearings, segmented
1 high-damping rubber bearings, and Friction Pendulum bearings)
Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Structural Engineering, Tongji Univ.,
A806 Civil Bldg., Shanghai 200092, China. E-mail: mgldut@163.com were also used to seismically protect high-voltage power transform-
2
Professor, Dept. of Structural Engineering, Tongji Univ., A807 Civil ers (Murota et al. 2006; Ersoy et al. 2008; Saadeghvaziri et al. 2010;
Bldg., Shanghai 200092, China (corresponding author). E-mail: qxie@ Oikonomou et al. 2016). All these studies only focused on evaluating
tongji.edu.cn
and improving the seismic performance of high-voltage power trans-
Note. This manuscript was submitted on October 25, 2016; approved on
September 21, 2017; published online on January 18, 2018. Discussion former bushings and transformer-bushing systems. But detailed
period open until June 18, 2018; separate discussions must be submitted earthquake damage to a high-voltage power transformer in an actual
for individual papers. This paper is part of the Journal of Performance earthquake and a preliminary analysis of the earthquake damage to
of Constructed Facilities, © ASCE, ISSN 0887-3828. the power transformer are scarce.

© ASCE 04018007-1 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


This paper illustrates structural details and detailed earthquake 500-kV Power Transformer
damage to a 500-kV power transformer that was seriously damaged
in the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. The main objectives are to Description of the Power Transformer
evaluate the seismic response and preliminarily analyze the pos-
sible failure reasons of the power transformer, and to appeal to The power transformer mainly consisted of an oil-filled tank, cores
professional practitioners to pay due attention to the seismic design and coils in the tank, radiators and fans attached to the two ends of
of high-voltage power transformers. An earthquake reconnaissance the tank, porcelain bushings with four different rated voltages, and
trip acquired the detailed information on the damaged power an oil conservator above the tank. Figs. 1(a–d) show the structural
transformer and the ground motions in the vicinity of the Maoxian configuration of the 500-kV power transformer. The top plate, bot-
substation. A detailed finite-element analysis model of the power tom plate, and front and rear walls of the tank were stiffened by steel
transformer was established. Modal and linear response-history channels. The tank walls and channels were made from steel plates
analyses were performed on this model to evaluate the seismic with a typical thickness of 16 mm. The total mass of the power
response of the power transformer to the given earthquake transformer was 510 t, with the internal cores and coils of 284 t,
motions. Possible failure reasons of the power transformer are dis- transformer oil of 137 t, and transformer tank as well as its append-
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cussed to take the lessons from the earthquake-damaged power ages of 92 t. Hence, the internal cores and coils as well as the trans-
transformer. former oil accounted for the majority of the power transformer mass.

(a) (b)

(c) (d)

Fig. 1. Structural details of the power transformer: (a) plan; (b) front elevation; (c) side elevation; (d) cross section

© ASCE 04018007-2 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


Table 1. Details of the Power Transformer Bushings
Dimensions (m)
Air-side insulator Oil-side insulator Height
Rated Upper outer Upper internal Lower outer Lower internal Outer insulator
voltage (kV) diameter diameter diameter thickness diameter Total Air side Oil side Mass (kg)
550 0.38 0.33 0.43 0.37 0.39 7.88 5.9 1.72 1,960
252 0.31 0.26 0.31 0.26 0.27 4.33 2.73 1.27 410
72.5 0.18 0.13 0.18 0.13 0.16 2.44 1.12 0.90 165

The 500-kV power transformer was a three-phase autotrans- All three 550-kV bushings were destroyed. Two air-side insulators
former with 750 MVA capacity. Each phase had four bushings of the 550-kV bushings (BH and CH) were entirely broken
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corresponding to 550-, 252-, 72.5-, and 52-kV rated voltages, re- [Fig. 2(a)], leaving porcelain debris on the ground [Fig. 2(b)]. The
spectively, so there was a total of 12 porcelain bushings in the flange of the third 550-kV bushing (AH) fractured [Fig. 2(c)].
power transformer. Table 1 tabulates key physical details of the The transformer oil from the CH bushing spilled on the radiators
power bushings with three different rated voltages. The bushings and cables. Subsequently, the radiators and cables caught fire.
were all bolted on the top flange plates of the turrets that protruded The kraft paper condenser of the CH bushing was also burnt
from the top plate and one tank sidewall. The three bushings and [Figs. 2(d and e)]. The upper tips of the 550-kV bushings were
turrets, respectively on the tank sidewall, one side of the tank top connected to cables that overhung insulators from a high portal
plate, and one end of the tank top plate, were denoted as A (B, C) frame, and these cables had enough slack to allow the bushing
phase high-voltage (AH, BH, CH), A (B, C) phase medium-voltage upper tips to move in the earthquake, so no interaction damage be-
(AM, BM, CM), and A (B, C) phase-neutral point (AN, BN, CN) tween the transformer bushings and other substation equipment
bushings and turrets. The three bushings installed on an oval- was observed in the earthquake reconnaissance.
shaped turret on one side of the tank top plate were denoted a–c Two angle supports of the oil conservator were sheared off due
bushings [Fig. 1(a)]. Each transformer bushing was mainly com- to large deformations between the oil conservator and the tank
posed of a dome, an air-side porcelain insulator, a metal flange with top plate.
a sleeve, and an oil-side porcelain insulator. The insulators were No dislodgement, overturning, or collapse of the power trans-
filled with transformer oil and a kraft paper condenser wrapped former tank was observed in the earthquake reconnaissance.
around the center copper tube. The porcelain flexural strength of
30 MPa and the modulus of elasticity of 80 GPa were provided
by the transformer manufacturer. Ground Motion Shaking in the Vicinity of Maoxian
All these bushings were bolted on the top flange plates of Substation
their turrets, and all oil-side insulators of the bushings were inserted The 500-kV substation had a latitude of 31.696°N and longitude
into their oil-filled turrets rather than directly into the transformer of 103.867°E and was located in Maoxian County, Aba Tibetan
tank. The 550-kV bushings were mounted on the L-shaped and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China. Fig. 3
turrets (AH, BH, and CH) with outer diameter of 1.1 m and wall identifies the locations of the Wenchuan earthquake epicenter,
thickness of 10 mm. The outer diameter and wall thickness of the strong earthquake motion observation stations, and the Maoxian
inclined turrets for the 252-kV bushings (AM, BM, and CM) substation. The Maoxian substation was to the northeast of the
were 0.7 m and 6 mm, respectively. The 72.5-kV bushings were epicenter (Yingxiu Town, Wenchuan County). There is no ground
installed on the vertical turrets (AN, BN, and CN) with outer motion recorded right in the substation, so ground motions re-
diameters of 0.6 m and wall thicknesses of 6 mm. The inclination corded in the vicinity of the Maoxian substation from the Diban
angles of the 550- and 252-kV bushings and turrets are shown in and Nanxin stations in Maoxian County, the Wonglong station
Figs. 1(b and c). in Wenchuan, the Bajiao station in Shifang, the Qingping station
The oil conservator, 8.1 m in longitudinal axis and 1.5 m in in Mianzhu, and the Zengjia station in Guangyuan could be used
diameter, was propped by four 2.6-m-high angle supports from for the response-history analysis of the power transformer (Li et al.
the transformer top plate. The distance from the longitudinal axis 2008; Zhou et al. 2010). Properties of the ground motions recorded
of the oil conservator to the transformer top plate was 3.3 m. The in these observation stations are listed in Table 2. The peak ground
four angle supports braced the conservator along the transformer acceleration (PGA) for the substation was estimated at 3.5 m=s2
longitudinal direction asymmetrically. from the ground motions recorded at the nearest stations, Diban
The power transformer was bolted to its concrete foundation and Nanxin stations in Maoxian County. Figs. 4 and 5 plot accel-
beams, which were mounted on the top of an underground oil con- eration histories recorded in the Diban and Nanxin stations, respec-
tainment. The oil containment under the power transformer was tively. Fig. 6 shows the 2% damped response spectra of the
used to gather the transformer oil for the sake of the serious oil recorded ground motions, modified Joshua Tree station ground
leakage from the power transformer, causing serious environmental motions (1992 Landers earthquake), to match the ultrahigh voltage
contamination. required response spectrum (UHV RRS) (Ma et al. 2017a) and
the three-component IEEE spectrum-compatible Construction
Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL)–generated motions
Earthquake Damage to the Power Transformer
[CERL histories and spectra are presented in Gilani et al. (1999a)]
The studied power transformer was one of the two main 500-kV for the response-history analysis.
power transformers in the Maoxian substation. Both transformers The recorded ground motions in the Wenchuan earthquake have
were damaged in the earthquake. Figs. 2(a–e) show the earthquake different frequency properties. For example, the main frequency
damage to the 500-kV power transformer components in detail. contents of the horizontal ground motion records at the Zengjia,

© ASCE 04018007-3 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


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Fig. 2. (Color) Seriously damaged 500-kV power transformer: (a) panorama of the damaged power transformer; (b) porcelain debris and oil leakage;
(c) flange breakage of the AH bushing; (d) burnt oil-immersed kraft paper condenser of the CH bushing; (e) burnt radiators

100° E 104° E 108° E Finite-Element Analysis of the Power Transformer


34° N

34° N

Modeling and Assumptions


Zengjia station
A detailed finite-element model was developed using the commer-
Diban station cial finite-element analysis software ABAQUS for the power
transformer.
Qingping station
Maoxian substation Fig. 7 shows the finite-element analysis model of the power
Nanxin station transformer, which includes the transformer tank, all 550-,
Bajiao station 252-, and 72.5-kV bushings and turrets, the oil conservator, and
Wolong station
30° N

30° N

radiators. The transformer tank, channel stiffeners, turrets, and con-


servator were discretized by the 4-node reduced integration shell
Ground motion station element S4R in ABAQUS, which could consider the bending
0 90 180 270 360 km
Earthquake epicenter and membrane effect simultaneously. The 2-node linear beam
element B31 with a tubular section in ABAQUS was used to model
100° E 104° E 108° E the bushings.
Fig. 3. (Color) Locations of the epicenter, strong motion observation Several assumptions were made before the development of the
stations, and Maoxian substation (figure courtesy of X. J. Li) finite-element analysis model. The power transformer appendages,
such as radiators, turrets, angle supports of the oil conservator, and
channel stiffeners, were assumed to be rigidly connected to the
tank. The radiators were simplified as plates with equivalent mass
Bajiao, and Wolong stations concentrates at 2–4 Hz, while and the same centroid to avoid modeling their complicated geom-
the main frequency contents at the Qingping station are approxi- etries. The transformer tank and turrets were assumed to be full of
mately 10 Hz and more. The mean horizontal response spectrum the transformer oil. The oil-sloshing effect in the tank, turrets, and
of these normalized ground motions can envelop the high- oil conservator was neglected. Therefore, the oil in the tank, turrets,
performance level RRS of IEEE 693 (IEEE 2006) beyond the and oil conservator was evenly distributed to their sidewalls as
2 Hz shown (Fig. 6). additional masses, which led to a proper modeling of the centroid

© ASCE 04018007-4 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


Table 2. Locations of the Earthquake Epicenter, Maoxian Substation, and Strong Motion Observation Stations with Recorded PGAs
Locations Recorded PGA (m=s2 )
Stations or epicenter Latitude Longitude Surface rupture distance (km) East-west North-south Up-down
Earthquake epicenter 31.0°N 103.4°E — — — —
Maoxian substation 31.7°N 103.9°E 22 — — —
Diban, Maoxian 31.7°N 103.9°E 25 3.07 3.02 2.67
Nanxi, Maoxian 31.6°N 103.7°E 20 4.21 3.49 3.53
Wolong, Wenchuan 31.0°N 103.2°E 23 9.58 6.58 9.48
Qingping, Mianzhu 31.5°N 104.1°E 3 8.24 8.03 6.23
Bajiao, Shifang 31.3°N 104.0°E 10 5.49 5.86 6.33
Zengjia, Guangyuan 32.6°N 106.1°E 86 4.25 4.11 1.83
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5.0
2
Diban EW (Peak:-3.1 m/s )
Acceleration [m/s ]

2.5
2

0.0

-2.5

-5.0
0 20 40 60 80 100
(a) Time [sec]

5.0
2
Diban NS (Peak:-3.0 m/s )
Acceleration [m/s ]

2.5
2

0.0

-2.5

-5.0
0 20 40 60 80 100
(b) Time [sec]

5.0
2
Diban UD (Peak:-2.7 m/s )
Acceleration [m/s ]

2.5
2

0.0

-2.5

-5.0
0 20 40 60 80 100
(c) Time [sec]

Fig. 4. Acceleration histories recorded at the Diban station in Maoxian County: (a) east-west component; (b) north-south component; (c) up-down
component

and thus the dynamic effect of the transformer oil. The massive response-history analysis could provide possible design defects
cores and coils were not considered in the model because the cores and valuable lessons for the future seismic design of high-voltage
and coils inside the transformer tank were firmly rested on the tank power transformers, at the same time avoiding the complicated
base plate. The power transformer was pinned to the foundation simulation of the progressive failure of the power transformer
beams to model the bolted connections. The cables connected to the components.
upper tips of bushings had enough slack, so the dynamic interaction
between bushings and other equipment was not included in
the model. An 11-kg shield ring was fixed on the top of every Modal Analysis
550-kV bushing to consider the masses of the cables. Finally, this The natural frequencies, corresponding mode shapes, and effective
research was only in the linear range because the linear seismic modal masses of the power transformer were obtained using the

© ASCE 04018007-5 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


5.0
2
Nanxi EW (Peak:-4.2 m/s )

Acceleration [m/s ]
2
2.5

0.0

-2.5

-5.0
0 20 40 60 80 100
(a) Time [sec]

5.0
2
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Nanxi NS (Peak:3.5 m/s )


Acceleration [m/s ]
2

2.5

0.0

-2.5

-5.0
0 20 40 60 80 100
(b) Time [sec]

5.0
2
Nanxi UD (Peak:-3.5 m/s )
Acceleration [m/s ]

2.5
2

0.0

-2.5

-5.0
0 20 40 60 80 100
(c) Time [sec]

Fig. 5. Acceleration histories recorded at the Nanxi station in Maoxian County: (a) east-west component; (b) north-south component; (c) up-down
component

block Lanczos method (Nour-Omid and Clough 1985; Clough and Then the horizontal components of these ground motions were
Penzien 2003). The sum of the effective masses of all modes in rotated 90° and excited the power transformer again. In accordance
every global translational direction should give the total mass of with the experimental results of power transformer–bushing
the power transformer. Thus, if the effective masses of some modes systems by Koliou et al. (2013a, b) and Ma et al. (2017b), 2% criti-
add up to a value that accounts for the majority of the total mass of cal damping ratio was employed in the response-history analysis.
the power transformer, it means that these modes have a significant
participation in a certain excitation direction. Summed modal ef-
fective mass participation ratios (summed modal effective masses Analysis Results
normalized by the total mass of the power transformer) were used
The seismic responses of interest are the modal properties of the
to evaluate whether some modes have a significant participation in
power transformer, accelerations (and amplification), and displace-
a certain excitation or not.
ments at key locations of the power transformer (e.g., tank sidewall,
tank top plate, top flange plates of turrets, and the oil conservator
Response-History Analysis supports) and the internal forces in the transformer bushings. The
results for the bushings and turrets labeled BH and BM are con-
A linear response-history analysis was performed on the power sidered representatives of all the 550- and 252-kV bushings and
transformer using the Hilber-Hughes-Taylor time integration turrets.
method (Hilber et al. 1977) to evaluate the seismic response of
the power transformer. The previously mentioned eight sets of
earthquake records were used as earthquake excitations in the Modal Properties
analysis. The east-west, north-south, and up-down components Table 3 tabulates the modal properties of the power transformer.
of these ground motions with PGAs of 0.35g, 0.35g, and 0.8 × Fig. 8 displays typical mode shapes of the power transformer.
0.35g excited the power transformer along the transformer tank The power transformer’s appendages had many low-frequency
in transverse, longitudinal, and vertical directions, respectively. modes. The mass participation factors of these modes were

© ASCE 04018007-6 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


5 5
Diban EW Nanxin EW
Diban NS Nanxin NS

Spectral acceleration [g]

Spectral acceleration [g]


4 Diban UD 4 Nanxin UD

3 3

2 2

1 1

0 0
0.1 1 10 100 0.1 1 10 100
(a) Frequency [Hz] (b) Frequency [Hz]

5 5
Wolong EW Qingping EW
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Wolong NS Qingping NS

Spectral acceleration [g]


4
Spectral acceleration [g]

4 Wolong UD Qingping UD

3 3

2 2

1 1

0 0
0.1 1 10 100 0.1 1 10 100
(c) Frequency [Hz] (d) Frequency [Hz]
5 5
Bajiao EW Zengjia EW
Bajiao NS Zengjia NS
Spectral acceleration [g]
Spectral acceleration [g]

4 Bajiao UD 4 Zengjia UD

3 3

2 2

1 1

0 0
0.1 1 10 100 0.1 1 10 100
(e) Frequency [Hz] (f) Frequency [Hz]
5 5
Modfied Joshua Tree EW CERL EW
Modfied Joshua Tree NS CERL NS
4 Modfied Joshua Tree UD 4 CERL UD
Spectral acceleration [g]
Spectral acceleration [g]

3 3

2 2

1 1

0 0
0.1 1 10 100 0.1 1 10 100
(g) Frequency [Hz] (h) Frequency [Hz]

5
Mean Horizontal Spectrum
Mean Vertical Spectrum
Spectral acceleration [g]

4 IEEE high performance level RRS

0
0.1 1 10 100
(i) Frequency [Hz]

Fig. 6. Response spectra of ground motions for the analysis, 2% damping: (a) Diban records; (b) Nanxin records; (c) Wolong records; (d) Qingping
records; (e) Bajiao records; (f) Zengjia records; (g) modified Joshua Tree records; (h) CERL records; (i) mean spectra

© ASCE 04018007-7 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


transformer bushings. The amplified accelerations would easily in-
duce large bending moments at the bottoms of the bushing air-side
insulators, which could fracture the bushing air-side porcelain
insulators. The acceleration response spectral amplifications at dif-
ferent locations of the transformer (such as the tank top plate, tank
sidewall, turret top flange plates, and the tops of the oil conservator
supports) were compared to determine where the power transformer
would amplify the acceleration strongly. The acceleration response
spectral amplification is equal to the ratio of the 2% damped re-
sponse spectrum of acceleration at different locations of the trans-
former to the 2% damped response spectrum of acceleration at the
base of the transformer for a given ground motion and for a given
direction. The peaks of the acceleration response spectral amplifi-
cations occur at the natural frequencies of the power transformer
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components.
Fig. 7. (Color) Finite-element model of the power transformer Fig. 9 shows the mean spectral amplifications generated from
the acceleration histories at the top and bottom flange plates of
the BH turret along the transformer tank in transverse, longitudinal,
and vertical directions, respectively. The spectral amplifications at
much smaller than 100% because these modes were the local the top flange plate of the BH turret exhibit two major peaks in all
modes of the power transformer appendages (bushings, turrets, three directions, which occur at the first and second natural
and the oil conservator) rather than the transformer tank, and these frequencies of the BH bushing and turret assembly on the trans-
appendages had small masses relative to the total mass of the power former tank sidewall. However, the spectral amplifications at the
transformer. bottom flange plate of the BH turret, namely, the tank sidewall,
do not exhibit such large peaks in any direction and they are much
smaller than those at the top flange plate of the BH turret. The dif-
Acceleration Amplification for the Transformer
ferences between the top and bottom flange plates of the BH turret
Bushings and the Oil Conservator
indicate that the accelerations the BH bushing suffered are mainly
It is generally acknowledged that the transformer tank and the tur- amplified by the interaction between the L-shaped turret and the
rets that support transformer bushings amplify accelerations for the tank sidewall in all directions (Ma et al. 2017a).

Table 3. Computed Modal Properties of the 500-kV Power Transformer


Modal mass participation (%)
Mode Natural frequency (Hz) X-direction Y-direction Z-direction Mode shape
1 2.3 5.5 0.0 0.6 CHbushing and turret
2 2.4 0.8 0.0 0.1 AHbushing and turret
3 2.4 0.1 0.0 0.0 BHbushing and turret
4 2.7 0.0 2.3 0.1 CHbushing and turret
5 2.7 0.0 1.9 0.1 AHbushing and turret
6 2.8 0.0 2.0 0.0 BHbushing and turret
7 2.9 0.0 5.1 0.0 Oil conservator
8 3.2 4.2 0.0 0.0 Oil conservator
9 3.6 1.1 0.0 0.0 Oil conservator
10 7.1 0.0 0.5 0.0 CM bushing and turret
11 7.7 0.0 0.6 0.0 BM bushing and turret
12 8.7 0.2 0.0 0.0 BN bushing and turret
13 8.7 7.7 0.0 0.7 CM bushing and turret
14 8.9 0.1 0.2 0.2 BN bushing and turret
15 9.2 0.8 0.2 0.0 BM bushing and turret
16 9.3 0.0 0.5 0.0 BH bushing and turret
17 9.3 0.0 1.3 0.0 CH bushing and turret
18 9.3 0.0 0.9 0.0 AH bushing and turret
19 9.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 AM bushing and turret
20 9.9 6.7 0.1 0.2 AH, BH, CH, and AM bushings and turrets
21 10.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 CH bushing and turret
22 10.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 AH, BH bushings and turrets
23 10.4 0.4 0.3 0.1 AM bushing and turret
24 11.6 4.7 0.0 0.2 Oil conservator
25 11.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 CN bushing and turret
26 11.9 0.1 0.1 0.1 AN bushing and turret
27 12.9 0.1 0.0 1.1 CM bushing and turret, oil conservator
28 13.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 AN, BN, and CN bushings and turrets
29 13.2 26.4 0.0 0.0 Tank
30 14.8 7.7 0.0 0.0 AN, BN, and CN bushings and turrets
Total — 67.6 16.5 3.5 —

© ASCE 04018007-8 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


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Fig. 8. (Color) Typical mode shapes of the power transformer: (a) Mode 1, frequency ¼ 2.4 Hz; (b) Mode 4, frequency ¼ 2.7 Hz; (c) Mode 7,
frequency ¼ 2.9 Hz; (d) Mode 8, frequency ¼ 3.2 Hz

Fig. 10 shows the mean spectral amplifications calculated from Moment and Displacement Responses of the
the acceleration histories at the top flange plate of the BM turret, the Transformer Bushings
top of one oil conservator support, and the tank top plate along the
Due to the previously mentioned acceleration amplification, the
transformer tank in transverse, longitudinal, and vertical directions,
transformer bushings generated large inertial forces in the earth-
respectively. The bottoms of the BM turret and the oil conservator
quake. Consequently, large bending moments accumulated at the
support were bolted on the tank top plate. The spectral amplifica-
bottoms of the air-side insulators of the transformer bushings.
tions at the top flange plate of the BM turret exhibit two prominent
peaks in the transverse and longitudinal directions and only one Table 4 lists the normalized peak resultant moments at the bottoms
peak in the vertical direction. The two peaks of the spectral ampli- of the air-side insulators of the BH and BM bushings. The peak
fications in the transverse and longitudinal directions occur at the moments were normalized by theoretical bending capacities of
first and second natural frequencies of the BM bushing and turret the bushings, which were the products of the porcelain flexural
assembly, while the peak of the spectral amplification in the vertical strength and the bending modulus at the bottoms of the bushing
direction happens at the fundamental frequency of the tank top air-side insulators. The normalized peak resultant moments at
plate. The spectral amplifications at the top of one oil conservator the bottom of the BH bushing air-side insulator were all larger than
support also have peaks at its fundamental frequencies in all direc- 1.0, which suggested the failure of the air-side porcelain insulators
tions. These indicate that the accelerations at the top flange plates of of the 550-kV bushings. However, the normalized peak resultant
the inclined turrets and at the tops of the oil conservator supports moments at the bottom of the air-side insulator of the BM bushing
were also largely amplified due to the interaction between them and were much smaller than 1.0, which meant that the air-side insula-
the tank top plate because accelerations at the tank top plate are tors of the 252-kV bushings were safe in the earthquake.
only slightly magnified at its fundamental frequencies (Ma et al. Table 4 also lists the peak resultant displacements (vector result-
2017b). ant of displacements in the transverse, longitudinal, and vertical

© ASCE 04018007-9 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


20 20
Top flange plate of the BH turret
Transverse direction Top flange plate of the BM turret
Botttom flange plate of the BH turret
16 Transverse direction A top of the oil conservator supports
Spectral amplification

Spectral amplification
16
Tank top plate

12 12

8 8

4 4

0 0
1 10 100 1 10 100
(a) Frequency [Hz] (a) Frequency [Hz]
20 20
Top flange plate of the BH turret Top flange plate of the BM turrret
Longitudinal direction
Botttom flange plate of the BH turret A top of the oil conservator supports

Spectral amplification
16
Spectral amplification

16
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Tank top plate


Longitudinal direction
12 12

8 8

4 4

0 0
1 10 100 1 10 100
(b) Frequency [Hz] (b) Frequency [Hz]

20 10
Top flange plate of the BH turret Vertical direction Top flange palte of the BM turret
Botttom flange plate of the BH turret 8 A top of the oil conservator supports
Spectral amplification

Spectral amplification
16
Tank top plate
Vertical direction
12 6

8 4

4 2

0 0
1 10 100 1 10 100
(c) Frequency [Hz] (c) Frequency [Hz]

Fig. 9. Acceleration spectral amplifications for the BH bushing and Fig. 10. Acceleration spectral amplifications for the BM bushing and
turret: (a) transverse direction; (b) longitudinal direction; (c) vertical turret and the oil conservator: (a) transverse direction; (b) longitudinal
direction direction; (c) vertical direction

directions) at the upper tips of the BH and BM bushings relative of the BH turret and at the tank base subjected to the Wolong
to the tank base. The peak displacement at the upper tip of the BH ground motions. The accelerations at the top flange plate of the
reached 190 mm, which was a very large value for a 550-kV por- BH turret began to increase significantly with the Wolong ground
celain bushing. motion at approximately 10 s, while the accelerations at the bottom
The peak resultant moments and displacements of the bushings flange plate of the BH turret did not have this resonant response.
varied greatly because the bushings and turrets suffered resonant Fig. 12 shows the displacement histories at the upper tip of the
vibration to some ground motions. For example, the 550-kV BH bushing and the top and bottom flange plates of the BH turret
bushings and turrets had a large seismic response subjected to relative to the tank base in response to the Wolong ground motions.
the Wolong, Baojiao, and Zengjia ground motions, but a small seis- The upper tip of the BH bushing and the top flange plate of the BH
mic response subjected to the Qingping ground motions. turret had large displacements, but the bottom flange plate of the
BH turret only had small displacement. The displacements at the
upper tip of the BH bushing and turret also began to resonate with
Amplified Seismic Response of the 550-kV Bushing the Wolong ground motions at approximately 10 s. The displace-
and Turret Assembly ment histories at the BH bushing top were similar to those at the
The 550-kV bushing and turret assemblies on this power trans- top flange plate of the BH turret, which further indicated that the
former had much lower fundamental frequencies in comparison BH bushing and turret assembly mainly rocked around the bottom
with the 550-kV bushing fundamental frequency of 8 Hz acquired flange of the BH turret.
by Gilani et al. (1999b). These low frequencies coincided with
predominant frequencies of some Wenchuan earthquake ground
Seismic Response of the Oil Conservator
motions. The analysis indicated that the 550-kV bushing and turret
assemblies suffered large amplified vibrations subjected to the Table 5 lists the mean peak translational and rotational displace-
Wolong, Bajiao, and Zengjia earthquake ground motions. Fig. 11 ments and the drift angles of the oil conservator supports relative
shows the acceleration histories at the top and bottom flange plates to the transformer tank top plate. The translational displacements

© ASCE 04018007-10 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


Table 4. Normalized Peak Resultant Moments and Peak Resultant Displacements of the BH and BM Bushings
Normalized peak resultant moments at the bottoms Peak resultant displacements at the upper tips
of the bushing air-side insulators of the bushings relative to the tank base (mm)
Bushing Mean − 1 standard deviation Mean Mean þ 1 standard deviation Mean − 1 standard deviation Mean Mean þ 1 standard deviation
550 kV, BH 1.22 2.07 2.92 100 190 280
252 kV, BM 0.28 0.46 0.65 15 24 32

300
20
Top flange plate of the BH turret Top of the BH bushing
Botttom flange plate of the BH turret Top flange plate of the BH turret
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15 200 Bottom flange plate of the BH turret


Tank base
10 Transverse direction Transverse direction

Displacement [mm]
Acceleration [ m/s ]
2

100
5

0 0

-5 -100

-10
-200
-15

-20 -300
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
(a) Time [sec] (a) Time [sec]

300
20
Top flange plate of the BH turret Top of the BH bushing
Longitudinal direction Longitudinal direction
15 Bottom flange plate of the BH turret Top flange plate of the BH turret
200
Tank base Bottom flange plate of the BH turret
10
Displacement [mm]
Acceleration [ m/s ]
2

100
5

0 0

-5
-100
-10
-200
-15

-20 -300
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
(b) Time [sec]
(b) Time [sec]

300
20
Vertical direction Top of the BH bushing
Vertical direction Top flange plate of the BH turret Top flange plate of the BH turret
15 Bottom flange plate of the BH turret 200 Bottom flange plate of the BH turret
Tank base
10
Displacement [mm]
Acceleration [ m/s ]

100
2

5
0
0

-5 -100

-10
-200
-15
-300
-20 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
(c) Time [sec]
(c) Time [sec]
Fig. 12. (Color) Displacement histories at the top of the BH bushing,
Fig. 11. (Color) Acceleration histories at the top flange plate of the BH top and bottom flange plates of the BH turret relative to the power
turret in response to Wolong ground motions: (a) transverse direction; transformer base in response to Wolong ground motions: (a) transverse
(b) longitudinal direction; (c) vertical direction direction; (b) longitudinal direction; (c) vertical direction

© ASCE 04018007-11 J. Perform. Constr. Facil.

J. Perform. Constr. Facil., 2018, 32(2): 04018007


Table 5. Peak Deformations of the Oil Conservator Supports Caused by and rocking vibrations of the 550-kV bushings and turrets
Earthquake Shaking generated large accelerations and displacements.
Seismic response Mean • The accelerations for the oil conservator were also strongly
amplified. The amplified accelerations resulted in large transla-
Peak displacement (mm): transverse direction 21.3
Peak displacement (mm): longitudinal direction 38.1
tional and rotational vibrations of the oil conservator, and thus
Peak displacement (mm): torsion 23.4 large shear deformations in the oil conservator supports.
Torsion-to-translation ratio 1.1 • The earthquake damage to the transformer bushings and oil
Drift angle: transverse direction (rad) 1/121 conservator supports indicated this type power transformer was
Drift angle: longitudinal direction (rad) 1/68 designed without due considerations for the earthquake effect.
The acceleration amplifications for the transformer bushings
and oil conservator were much larger than the level of high-
voltage bushings required by the standards of IEEE 693 (IEEE
were the average of the peak translational displacements at the tops 2006) and the Chinese code GB 50260-2013 (Code of China
of two pairs of the oil conservator supports along the transformer 2013). The structural configuration of the 500-kV power trans-
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tank in the transverse and longitudinal directions. The torsional dis- former was insufficient to resist the strong earthquake shaking.
placements were the peak differences of the translational displace- It is recommended that the standards (e.g., IEEE 693 and GB
ments between the two pairs of the oil conservator supports along 50260-2013) should give specific requirements for the seismic
the tank in the transverse direction. Drift angles of the two pairs of design and qualification of high-voltage power transformer
the oil conservator supports were the ratios of the mean peak trans- components, e.g., bushings, oil conservator supports, turrets,
lational displacements to the height of the supports. The torsion-to- and transformer tanks.
translation ratio was the mean peak torsional displacements to the
mean peak translational displacements along the tank transverse
direction. Acknowledgments
The mean peak drift angles of the oil conservator supports along
the transformer tank in the transverse and longitudinal directions This study was financially supported by the China Scholarship
were 1/121 and 1/68 rad, respectively, which demonstrated that Council (Grant No. 201606260225). The support is greatly appre-
the oil conservator supports suffered from significant shear defor- ciated. Professor Andrew S. Whittaker in the Department of Civil,
mations under earthquake motions. This agreed well with the shear Structural, and Environmental Engineering, State University of
deformations in the oil conservator supports observed in the earth- New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, is gratefully acknowl-
quake reconnaissance. The mean peak torsion to translation ratio edged for hosting the first author as a visiting scholar and giving
was larger than 1.0, which revealed that the oil conservator supports specific advice on revising the manuscripts.
suffered from large torsional displacements due to their asymmet-
rical structural configuration along the tank longitudinal direction.
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