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Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines Paper ID 0795

Thermal and Lifetime Behavior of Innovative

Insulation Systems for Rotating Machines
Sumereder C. and Muhr M., Member IEEE
Institute of High Voltage Engineering, Graz University of Technology
8010 Graz, Austria
Senn F., Grubelink W., Member IEEE
Marek P.
Isovolta AG, System Development High Voltage
8402 Werndorf, Austria

Abstract- The innovative insulating tape for rotating

machines shows advantages concerning the electrical and
mechanical strength as well as its thickness and thermal
conductivity. In this paper the new developed mica tapes
should be tested with respect to the thermal behaviour of the
end corona protection and voltage endurance of various types
of used mica paper. For this reason a test series of different
defined insulation systems was carried out to test the
temperature rise and a long time test with increased voltage
stress was applied. The results were evaluated within a
statistical analysis and lifetime charts.

Fig. 1: Schematic design of glass yarn [2]

The base of the new mica insulating tape is the glass II. TEST OBJECTS
carrier, which is different from standard products in The test objects for the examinations were chosen under
following point: normally the individual glass yarns are following aspects: a minimum of four generator test bars of
twisted. With the new production method, the glass yarns each type had to be tested to get reproducible test results.
are not twisted and the individual filaments are simply laid For each insulation system a model generator bar was
in parallel. In addition, every single filament of the yarn manufactured manually according to the industrial
strand is coated with a finish. [1] standards. Table II gives a view to the variation of test
Comparing the different glass cloth systems following specimens:
characteristics have to be pointed out in Table 1:
CHARACTERISTICS OF G LASS CLOTH Glass Cloth Production Mica Type
Standard (STD) New (FAB) Type Technology
Thickness 0.04 mm 0.029 mm FAB VPI Muscovite
Base weight 24 g/m² 25 g/m² FAB VPI Phlogopite
FAB RR Muscovite
STD RR Calcined
From the values of Table I, it can be seen that the glass Muscovite
cloth is thinner than the glass cloth typically being used, STD RR Uncalcined
while the weight remains roughly the same. The reason for Muscovite
this is the result of a new production method for glass STD VPI Muscovite with
small grain size
cloths. STD VPI Muscovite with
The principal difference in construction can be seen in big grain size
Fig. 1. The new tape can be used for both production
technologies, Resin Rich (RR) and Vacuum Pressure
Impregnation (VPI).

978-1-4244-1736-0/08/$25.00 ©2008 IEEE 1

Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines

III. APPLIED TESTS By the means of incinerating the resin content of the bars
Following tests were applied to the generator bars: was determined with a high-temperature furnace. The bars
• Measurement of dielectric properties and material were heated until the resin burned out and only mica and
consistency: The dielectric constant was determined by glass was left in the insulation. By weighing with a
measurement and the resin content by burning out in a chemical balance the resin content could be calculated.
furnace. Typical values for the resin content are 27 % for VPI STD,
• Thermal observation of the warming of the voltage 22 % for VPI FAB, 34 % for RR STD and 30 % for RR
grading end corona protection tape. This test was done FAB insulations.
by means of a wireless temperature measurement
(Infra-red camera) at different rated voltages.
• Lifetime of generator bars. The generator bars were
tested with high voltage stress: 2.2 and 3.0 times rated
voltage. The residual time until breakdown was



For the determination of the dielectric behaviour an

unbalanced dissipation factor bridge was used [3]. The
capacitance of the model bars was measured at several
points on both sides and an average value of the dielectric
constant εr was calculated. The test setup of the electrode
configuration is shown in Fig. 2.


For the observation of the thermal behaviour of the
different model bars and the performance of the end corona
protection a test setup as shown in Fig. 3 was used.
The bars were clamped on a bracket and the temperature
was measured with an IR-camera [4].
Fig. 3: Test setup for observation of thermal behaviour

The generator bars were loaded with following electrical

stress ratings: nominal voltage UN, 2xUN+1kV, 3xUN. A
test cycle took a duration of 10 minutes and the starting
Fig. 2: Test setup for capacitance and εr measurement
temperature for each cycle had to be the same (room
temperature). The special interest of these tests was the
The result of these measurements showed a variance of
temperature rise, the location of hotspots and the
the capacitances and εr values of 5 %, which is caused by
determination of absolute temperatures. The results showed
deviations of the dimensions due to production of the bars.
a similar behaviour of bars with same production
The average εr of the VPI bars was between 4.0 and 4.5 and
technology and used materials. Hot spots could be observed
the RR bars showed a εr of 4.9 up to 5.2. A significant
at the point with the highest electrical field strength such as
difference between the standard material and the new
at the corners and at the beginning of the stress grading
material could not be found out.
area. Fig. 4 is an example of an IR picture.

Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines

The superior electrical properties of the Resin Rich and

VPI FAB insulation system have been described in detail
earlier in [1], [2]. In this voltage endurance test the
influence of different types of mica, grain sizes of mica and
production technologies according to table II was
For each system a number of four similar bars were
produced and two voltage levels (2.2 and 3.0 times nominal
voltage) were applied for the voltage endurance tests. The
tests were stopped after a maximum of 1000 h when no
breakdown of the insulation system has occurred.

The test setup as shown in Fig. 6 was designed to

simulate realistic conditions; according to this request a
conducting tape was applied to reproduce the grounded
Fig. 4: Thermal performance of voltage grading tape stator slot.

Hotspots at the points of highest electrical field strengths

can be easily recognized as well as at the edges of the bars.
STD VPI after 1 min (3.0 kV/mm)
110 STD VPI after 10 min (3.0 kV/mm)
FAB VPI after 1 min (4.0 kV/mm)
100 FAB VPI after 10 min (4.0 kV/mm)
STD RR after 1 min (2.75 kV/mm)
90 STD RR after 10 min (2.75 kV/mm)
FAB RR after 1 min (3.5 kV/mm)
FAB RR after 10 min (3.5 kV/mm)
Temperature [°C]








1.0 2.0 3.0
Voltage U/UN
Fig. 6: Test setup for voltage endurance tests
Fig. 5: Warming-up of voltage grading tape
In addition a dissection of the generator bars and
The results showed that VPI bars with new FAB microscopic inspection of the breakdown channel was
technology had the highest temperatures as to be expected done. The bars were cut to thin slices that a microscope for
due to testing at very high field strength of 4.0 kV/mm. transmitted light could be used. Good results can be
The maximum temperature of the end corona protection achieved by polishing the surface of conductor and
after 10 min at 3 times the nominal voltage reached almost insulation system. An example of a prepared bar can be
120 °C found in Fig. 7.
In this test the temperature of RR STD and FAB
generator bars was significantly lower compared to VPI
bars as they were operating at a lower electric stress.


The life time behaviour of six different insulation
systems for generator bars was tested.

Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Electrical Machines

The dielectric, thermal and lifetime behaviour of
different motor and generator insulation systems were
investigated. The test objects were produced in RR and VPI
technology comparing a standard (STD) and innovative
(FAB) glass cloth carrier. Also different types of mica
paper and grain sizes were used.

The measurement of the dielectric constant showed a

deviation of 5 % due to production variances. The influence
due to the variation of the material was in the same range.
For this reason the resin content was determined by using a
high-temperature furnace to glow out the resin.

The observation of the thermal behaviour was done with

Fig. 7: Preparation of bars for optical investigation warm-up test. The evaluation of the results showed that the
highest temperatures were recorded at the VPI FAB
VII. LIFE TIME DIAGRAM material having the highest electrical load.
The test results of the voltage endurance tests were
The best results concerning voltage endurance was also
evaluated by application of a life time diagram with
recorded at the VPI bars, the FAB bars showed better
doubled logarithmic scale according to the inverse power
lifetime behaviour with respect to the applied field strength.
law for electrical ageing processes [5]. The statistical
parameters for this diagram were determined by the median
of the breakdown times. Normally a Weibull distribution ACKNOWLEDGMENT
[6] is applied for life time investigations of electric The authors gratefully acknowledge the manufacturer of
equipment, but due to a statistically low number of test
the mica insulation system, Isovolta, System Development
specimen its use was not appropriate.
High Voltage, for the support and production of the model
The endurance points of the test specimens according to
generator bars.
table II are displayed in the following diagram.

[1] Ladstätter W., Marek P., Grubelnik W., Senn F.: New Insulation
Technology impacts Generator Design, Power-Gen International
Electric Field Strength [kV/mm]

LD VPI FAB Conference 2006 Orlando


[2] Senn F., Ladstätter W., Grubelnik W., Marek P.: Improved Mica

27,85 25,91



488,61 515,3


Insulation System for HV Rotating Machines, DISEE 2006,



International Conference, Slovakia


[3] LDV-6,
[5] Sumereder C., Weiers T., Significance of Defects Inside In-Service
Aged Winding Insulations, IEEE Trans. On Energy Conversion, Vol.
23, No. 1, March 2008, p. 9-14
[6] Sumereder C., “Statistical Lifetime of Hydro Generators and Failure
0,01 0,1 1 10 100 1000 10000
Analysis”, IEEE Trans. DEI, Vol.15, No.3, June 2008
Lifetime [h]

Fig. 8: Life time points of VPI and RR bars produced

with different mica types

Uncalcined mica as well as muscovite with big grain size

show a tendency to have slightly increased life times.
To obtain statistically significant results further
evaluations with more specimens have to be performed.