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IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No.

5,OctoberZOOZ 763
Partial Discharges
Their Mechanism, Detection and Measurement
R. Bartnikas
lnatitut de Recherched'KydroQuehec, Varennes, Quebec, Canada
Different partial discharge (PD) detection and measurement procedures suitable for use on ca-
bles, capacitors, transformers and rotating machines are examined and compared. Both narrow
and wide bandwidth PD detectors are considered; particular attention is given in regard to their
suitability to different types of electrical apparatus and cable specimens under test as well as
their applicability to discharge site location and their capability to detect different forms of PD.
A rather substantial portion of the discussion is devoted to the use of intelligent machines as
applied to PD pattem recognition in terms of either PD pulse-heightldischarge epoch (phase)
distributions or discharge pulse shape attributes.
HE subject of PD or corona discharges, which represents an an-
T tecedent termthat has been commonly applied to themin the past,
constitutes a field of endeavor which can betraced back to the begin-
nings of the twentieth century [14]. While the study of PD may thus
beconsidered as a well developed field, its preeminent importance as
a tool for assessing the quality and performance characteristics of HV
equipment has been responsible for sustaining a high level of activity in
investigations related to its mechanisms, physical and chemical effects,
detection and measurement techniques: 15-71, Over the years, the level
of investigative effort in the PD field has varied considerably both as re-
gards to the type of electrical apparatus under consideration as well as
the type of discharge behavioral aspect being examined, e.g. nature and
form of the discharge, detection sensitivity, degradation of insulation
exposed to PD, discharge pulse quantities recorded such as the apparent
charge transfer, pulse repetition rate, energy loss, distributions of pulse-
heights, discharge epochs (phase) and pulse separation time intervals,
as well as pulse pattern recognition in terms of the sources causing the
Perhaps nowhere are the different tendencies in PD studies and test-
ing procedures easier to follow and evaluate in their chronological de-
velopment over last fivedecades than those applicable to solid extruded
dielectric insulated power distribution cables. Tnis is attributable to a
large extent to the relatively simple geometry of cables and their trans-
mission line behavior, which greatly facilitate the interpretation of the
I'D measurements. While few interpretational difficulties arise in low
capacitance lumped HV components such as bushings and capacitors,
the detection of PD in capacitors of high capacitance poses substantial
difficulties. Discharge detection and its accurate measurement in trans-
former specimens becomes appreciably more complicated as a result of
a more complex transmission line behavior of the coils as well as cou-
pling and resonance effects between the windings. Similar interpreta-
tional and calibration difficulties are encountered also with rotating ma-
chines, where, in addition to the difficulties inherent with transformer
specimens, the magnitudes of the detected pulses may vary apprecia-
bly, ranging from low levels generally intrinsic to internal discharges
within stator bar insulation to extremely high levels ordinarily associ-
ated with slot discharges. Also the question of calibration has not been
resolved and there is indeed considerable controversy as to whether or
not calibration should bea prerequisite for rotating machine specimens.
The intent of this paper is to examine the PD mechanismand its behav-
ioral characteristics and to delineate and compare the I'D detection and
measwement procedures that have evolved over the past fivedecades,
which are either currently, or may be, utilized on different HV electrical
apparatus and cables.
Oscillograph methods have been employed in the detection of PD
in electrical apparatus and cables, following the work reported by
Tykociner et ai. in 1933 [8,9]. Thesetechniques respond principally
to pulse type discharges; while pulseless glow and pseudoglow dis-
charges can readily occur, their appearance is generally accompanied
by the occurrence of pulsed type discharges that can be readily detected
so that in the vast majority of cases conventional PDpulse detectors are
effective indicators of the presence of PD. However, it should be borne
in mind, that pulsed PD detectors may not always indicate the full ex-
tent of intensity of the PD present. There are bridge type PD detectors
available that respond to both pulse and pulseless discharges 15,101,
but their intrinsically lower sensitivity has tended to impede their large
scale implementation in the PD area.
Although the fastest rise time limit of pulse type discharges at the
107&9878/2/$3.00 0 2002 IEEE
764 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
PDsite of origin may be established theoretically, historically the fastest
measurable rise times, claimed to berecorded experimentally, tended
to suggest a monotonically decreasing relationship with the bandwidth
capability of the oscilloscopes utilized. With the availability of GHz
bandwidth oscilloscopes, it is now generally agreed that PD pulses may
have rise times as short as 1 to 2 ns, which should however not be
taken tacitly to infer that most discharges do exhibit these rapid rise
times. Thus detection of PD pulses at frequencies at bandwidths up
to 1 GHz is suitable; but cognizance should be made of the fact that
the energy content of PDpulses is a decreasing function of frequency
Commercially available conventional PD detectors for routme use on
cables, capacitors and transformers are of the narrow band type and are
designed to operate within the band of - 30 to 400 kHz; they are charge
integrating devices and may be calibrated directly to provide the charge
transfers associated with detected discharge pulse in accordance with
ASTM method D1868 [ll]. Higher bandwidths are utilized in research
related work, where faithful reproduction of the PD pulse shapes is
of paramount importance. Also for improved pulse resolution, wider
bandwidths are employed on work involving discharge site location
in cables (- 20 MHz), rotating machines (800 l cHz to 1 GHz) and bus
ducts as well as compressed gas cables (- 1 GHz).
The early PDdetection systems employed analog instrumentation.
This instrumentation performed adequately well for discharge incep-
tion and extinction voltage measurements; with the PDpulse pattems
displayed oscillographically on a power frequency time base and cal-
ibrated ordinate scale, the charge transfers associated with the dis-
crete discharge pulses could be estimated visually and the approximate
phase relationship between the pulses and the applied voltage noted by
the observer performing the tests. The availability of crystal controlled
pulse counters in the 1950s, allowed the counting of PD pulses per unit
time and thereby the determination of the pulse density of discharge
patterns 112,141, and permitted as well the development of differential
pulse-height analyzers [15] and single channel pulse-height analyzers
[16]. The availability of low cost A/D converters led to the commer-
cial introduction of multi-channel analyzers in the 1960s suitable for
PD pulse-height distribution analysis [17]. The area of discharge pulse
interval and discharge pulse epoch (phase) distribution measurements
developed rapidly thereafter inthe 1970s [la, 191 and was extended into
the practical area with application to rotating machines [ZO]. This was
shortly followed by the introduction of computerized techniques for
the measurement of PDpulse distributions [21-231.
neadvent of PC computers in the 1980s and their extensive use in
the 1990s rapidly altered the approach in the PDpulse distribution anal-
ysis area in that the measurement systems shifted away from the hard-
ware based instrumentation to software dominated techniques [24-28].
This study area eventually led to investigations on discharge pattern
recognition and classification, involving the use of neural network (NN)
129-321and fuzzy logc [33]. Early studies indicated that the magnitude
of a discharge pulse and its epoch or phase of occurrence is strongly
influenced by the occurrence of a preceding pulse or pulses (341. This
non-Markovian point process was rigorously analyzed using a stochas-
tic approach by van Brunt 1351 in order to elucidate the conditional sta-
tistical nature of the discharge mechanism. The obtained results pose
some serious questions concerning the effectiveness of PD pattern clas-
sification and recognition as well as any attending statistical treatment
of such data to render it more amenable to interpretation. Yet it must
be observed that the statistical treatment of PDpattems whether of the
pulse-height/phase distribution [36] or pulse shape [30,37] type have
yielded some interesting practical results.
The 1990s saw the introduction of rapid response digital circuits for
PDmeasurement applications 138,391. While the use of digital tech-
niques in PDpulse detection, measurement and acquisition has been
growing markedly, commercially available PDdetectors have retained
their separate analog and digital measurement options. In this respect
it should be emphasized that the peak PDpulse magnitude determined
by the digital system will not generally be the same as the true mag-
nitude determined in real time by the analog circuit because of its de-
pendence upon sampling rate, bandwidth and storage capacity (if the
digital system. It should be also pointed out that normally the analog
circuitry precedes the digital acquisition system for the purpose of PD
signal amplification andtshaping [40]. Also often the PDsensing cir-
cuit may be of an analog-digital hybrid configuration 1411. The variety
of digital circuits, available and in-use for PDmeasurements over the
last decade has evoked the publication of a position paper by the IEEE
Committee on Digital Measurement Techniques [42] and a subsequent
paper with invited discussions by experts in the field [43]. We shall
devote a considerable effort in the paper towards a critical examina-
tion of the various analog and digital techniques either currently in use
or with possible future application to PD measurements on HV power
apparatus and cables.
Proper design, application and deployment of PD sensing and mea-
surement circuits entail a certain degree of cognizance and understand-
ing of the PDprocesses. It is important to use proper and correct ter-
minology in reference to different forms of PD to maintain clarity in the
subject. For example, it is one matter to refer to some PD as streamer-
like discharges and another matter to refer to the same form of dis-
charge as astreamer discharge. The streamer discharge theory de-
veloped independently by both Rather [44] and Meek [45], considers
large gaps, in which the relatively short times of gap breakdown are
accounted for by the occurrence of streamer discharges, which propa-
gate rapidly across long gaps due to ionizing photon radiation at the
streamer tips or leads. Thus, the use of the term streamer by itself,
when applied to PD in relatively short gaps or small cavity diameters,
introduces unnecessarily a misleading term inthe PD lexicon.
PD, when occurring in short gaps, may assume different forms:
rapid and slow rise time spark-type pulses, true pulseless glows or
pseudoglow discharges [46-52]. All these forms of discharges are cath-
ode emission-sustained discharges i . e. they are essentially Townsend
discharges in contradistinction to streamer discharges whose distin-
guishing features are their independence on cathode emission and their
dependence upon photoionization in the gas volume. The classical
Townsend discharges are characterized by weakly ionized plasma hav-
ing a small space charge producing field, which is negligible compared
to the externally applied field. Its electron temperature is approxi-
mately 104 K and the dominant ionization process is by direct ioniza-
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Val. 9 No. S,October2002 765
4000, i0.5
-100 0 I00
Time (pS)
Figure 1. Glow dischargein a 0.5 mm gap in nitrogen at atmospheric pressure. (a) voltageacross gap photomultiplier current; (b) microavalanche
dischargesite pattern on ground electrode(after Miralai el ai. [62]).
4000 I
5' 2000
. a2
a 0
& -2000
.- -
-4000 1 , , ~ , ]
Figure 2. Spark (pulse) dischargein a 0.5 nun gap in nitrogen with an oxygen admixtureat atmospheric pressure. (a) voltageacross gap, photomulti-
plier current (b) dischargesite pattemon ground electrode(after Miralai el ai. [ 63] ) .
The true glow or pulseless discharge consists of weakly ionizing
diffused plasma generally occupying all available interelectrode space.
Appreciable space charge formation occurs in both the proximity of
the anode and cathode and the discharge process as in the case of the
classical Townsend discharge is maintained through cathode emission.
A glow discharge is not in local thermal equilibrium and the electron
temperature ranges fromlo4 to 2x104 K. Direct ionization plays a
significant role and step-wise ionization, while negligible at low cur-
rents, may become appreciable at currents in the range of 10' mA. The
pseudoglow discharge is similar to the pulseless glow in the degree of
ionization, electron temperature and particle densities, but exhibits at
the same time the presence of minute discharge pulses having features
characteristic of spark type discharges. Thepresence of the minute
pulses is readily detected electronically [Ma] or optically by means
of a photomultiplier 153,541.
The presence of oxygen within a discharging cavity tends to inhibit
the occurrence of pseudoglow and pulseless glow discharges, because
of the electronegativity of the oxygen gas, which reduces the availabil-
ity of free electrons necessary for discharge initiation and limits the
expansion of discharge channel necessary for the formation of glow
discharges. This is evident fromthe very regular pulse-type discharge
behavior observed with oxygen [55] as compared to the predisposition
of other gases to support atmospheric pressure glow discharges un-
der certain conditions [48]. It also accounts fromthe predominance of
spark or pulse type discharges in air and the transition froma glow
discharge process to pulse discharge type behavior in other gases (He,
Ar, N?) upon the addition of small trace amounts of oxygen [56, 57].
It is also observed that in cavities containing air-like atmospheres, de-
pletion of oxygen fromthe atmosphere and the surrounding surfaces
coupled with increases in the conductivity of the walls due to depo-
sition of acidic reaction products created by the discharge, will also
cause a transition fromspark (pulse) to pseudoglow and pulseless glow
766 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
discharges to take place 153,541.
A gap space undergoing pseudoglow or pulseless glow discharge
can superficially exhibit a uniform glow over its surface, which may
not bealways uniform in a strict sense, but consists of a multiplicity of
light emitting dots that are caused by microavalanches [SE, 591. Thear-
rangement or array of the microavalanche sites, constituting the overall
dot pattern, is a function of their density, which in turn is a function of
the applied voltage 158-621. The microavalanche dot patterns may be
readily observed viaa light transparent indium tin oxide ground elec-
trode deposited upon a glass surface, which acts as dielectric barrier to
the discharge in metallicidielectric electrode gap. An intensified charge
injection device (CI D) camera is used to record the discharge site/dot
images, employing a voltage-phase resolved synchronizing circuit in
conjunction with a pulse generator required to trigger the CI D camera
shutter 1631. Figure l(a) depicts the voltage waveform across the gap
and the recorded light pulse produced by the glow over each half cy-
cleof the applied voltage wave and Figure I@) portrays the resulting
microavalanche site configuration pattern. Figures 2(a) and 2(b) illus-
trate the effect of an oxygen admixture to the nitrogen as the discharge
pattern reverts back from a glow discharge to a spark/pulse type dis-
charge, with numerous pulses in evidence in the photocurrent trace;
the evidence of some minute pulses in the trace is indicative of a pseu-
doglow, which OCCUIS concurrently with the large pulse (spark) type
discharges. The audio frequency test voltage accentuates the phenom-
ena, which also occur over lower frequencies.
Theshort gap pulse or spark PDis similar to the pulseless glow and
pseudoglow discharges in that it is also a Townsend type discharge,
its underlying distinguishing attribute being that it is characterized
by a higher degree of ionization and conductivity; but the discharge
is still far removed from having achieved local thermodynamic equi-
libration. It occurs within a brightly luminous narrowly constricted
channel as opposed to the relatively faint emitted diffused glow of a
pulseless or pseudoglow discharge; yet it also is sustained by cathode
emission. Its electron density is still considerably below cni3.
Spark-type PD are commonly classified as rapidly and slowly develop-
ing sparks or pulses, which are detected by the external PD sensing cir-
cuits as high-amplitude fast rise time and low amplitude slow rise time
pulses respectively 151,521. Theformer are also frequently referred to
as 'streamer or 'streamer-like discharges', and the latter as Townsend-
type discharges [64-68]. The term streamer-like has been applied to
rapid rise-time short-duration pulses, because of its similarity in form
to the rapid streamer pulses in long gaps [64,65]. However, there is an
important subtle difference in the mechanisms of these two forms of
discharge. Since the mechanisms of development of streamer related
pulses in long gaps involves ionization wave propagation in a very high
field region where the ionization and influx of electrons at the discharge
head is produced by a space charge field due to separation of positive
and negative charges, the use of the term'streamer' to denote a rapidly
developing discharge pulse in a short gap is misleading. Both rapidly
and slowly developing sparks or discharges pulses involve the cathode
feedback mechanism of the Townsend type, albeit that in the rapidly
developing pulse discharge, the classical ion induced cathode emission
process plays a very minor role because of the predominance of the
space charge mechanism in the vicinity of the cathode which gives rise
to very intense photoemission at the cathode.
In the field of PD measurement, there has been relatively little atten-
tion paid to the detection or measurement of pulseleas glow and pseu-
doglow discharges [5,6,34,46,47,52,54,69,70]. Traditionally, since the
early introduction of oscillographic techniques to PD studies, PD in elec-
trical apparatus have, in the most part, been predominantly detected
and measured on electrical apparatus and cables in terms of pulsetype
discharges. In retrospect much of this tendency must be attributed
to the ease with which pulse-type measurement techniques may be
deployed and utilized, particularly more recently with increased us-
age of signal processing procedures. This inordinate preoccupied ten-
dency with only pulse discharges has resulted in relegating the ex-
istence of pulseless glow and pseudoglow discharges to convenient
oblivion. Nevertheless, it must be also emphasized that the form of
discharge in physical cavities is rarely, if ever, only of the pulseless
or pseudoglow type; most frequently, it is found that all these types
of discharge, namely pulseless gloM: pseudoglow and pulse or spark
type may occur simultaneously over each applied voltage cycle. This
then is the redeeming feature of PD pulse detection methods: they are
sufficient per se to indicate the presence of PD, the PD inception point
and the PD pulse intensity, even though they may not always indicate
the full extent of the overall discharge process that may comprise the
concurrent occurrence of pulseless glow and pseudoglow discharges
to which they fail to respond. A case in point is the dissipation factor
(tan d) measurement, which is normally performed on stator bar insu-
lation and oilipaper insulated cables to assess their quality, using either
a Schering or a ratio-arm bridge. Frequently, it may befound that the
increase in tip-up of the tan 6 value with voltage may not be fully ac-
countable by sum of the PDpulse type losses and the dielectric losses,
conceivably indicating significant pulseless and pseudoglow discharge
loss contribution to the overall tan 6 value.
Attempts have been made to ascertain theoretically the conditions
that favor discharge channel expansion i.e. transition from a spark to
a glow discharge. Numerical model studies have been carried out on
the short gap breakdown to examine the theoretical aspect of discharge
channel constriction and expansion in helium, hydrogen and air at at-
mospheric pressure 149-52,71-75]. Discharges were found to exhibit an
increased propensity towards discharge channel broadening when di-
electric. surfaces are involved as is substantiated in Figure 3 1751. While
initially the electrons are confined to a relatively constricted channel of
a radius of - 1 mmat dischargedevelopment timeof2.l0ns, the radius
of the channel is seen to broaden to =7 nunat a time of 4.47 ns. The
positive ion density within the discharge channel is found to exhibit
similar tendencies. Further calculations made by Nikonov et al. 176,771
show that the discharge channel expansion rate is also influenced by the
magnitude of the charge density and its distribution remaining from
previous discharges. Experimental data have also demonstrated that
accumulation of surface discharge products and the associated changes
of surface conductivity (which affect the surface charge distribution)
favor the occurrence of glow and pseudoglow discharges.
Inview of the current emphasis on PD pulse detection techniques
as concerns electrical power apparatus and cables, we shall omi t fur-
ther detailed discussion on pulseless and pseudoglow discharges and
devote the remainder of the paper to an in-depth discussion on the sub-
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5,OctoberZOOZ 767
z y -
I 0.6
3 0.3
9 0.2
m 0.1
n -
of changes in the breakdown voltage and, hence, the resultant PD pulse
magnitudes, which are caused by variations in the statistical time lag
i.e. the time required for a free electron to appear in the cavity volume
where it is necessary to initiate the electron avalanche required to pro-
--duce voltage breakdown across the cavity. This means essentially that
the discharge epoch of a preceding discharge pulse will influence the
discharge epoch or phase with respect to the applied voltage wave at
which the subsequent discharge will occur. However, in addition the
position of the discharge epoch of each subsequent discharges will in
turn be also affected by the time of appearance of initiating electron in
its own environment. The overall result of the precession of discharge
epochs is that each discrete pulse discharge event in a given cavity is
controlled to some extent by the time occurrence of its preceding dis-
charge. This stochastic discharge behavior, which has been more re-
cently examined to a considerable depth by van Brunt and von Glahn
138,391, poses Someimportant ramifications as to the degree of accu-
racy with which PDpatterns may be recognized and related to cavity
size and its location in different types of power apparatus and cables.
Radial distance. r (mml
Figure 3, calculated radial distribution of therelative eleckon den.
sity, with time as a parameter at ,,,+,int for 0,500 " gap with a,,
insulating anodein an air-likemixtureat ahnospheric pressure, sub-
jected to a geometrical field of 65.4 kVcd (after N o d and Bartnikas
ject related to PDpulse characteristics and associated test methods. If
weconsider an idealized cavity occluded within an insulating system
that is subjected to a sinusoidally varying applied voltage and further
assume that the cavity undergoes only pulse or spark type discharge,
then the cavity will discharge when the voltage across the cavity attains
its breakdown value. At this point in time or voltage wave phase (dis-
charge epoch) the voltage across the cavity will collapse abruptly either
to zero or some finite value normally named the 'residual voltage'. Tne
resultant generated voltage step will excite the FD pulse detection cir-
cuit and the spark-type generated event will be detected as a discrete
PD pulse. Further pulses will be generated along the ascending and
descending portions of the sinusoidal voltage wave each time the ap-
plied voltage exceeds an integer value of the breakdown voltage value
in the two polarities [34]. If the breakdown and residual voltages in the
two polarities equal and constant, all detected PD pulse will be of equal
magnitude. However, this is not a common occurrence in practice.
The response of PD pulse detectors decreases with increasing rise
time of the detected I' D pulses [78]. The rise time of the incident PD
pulse front at the PD detector input is determined by the initial PD pulse
front rise time at the discharge site and any subsequent degradation
of the PD pulse rise time along its transmission path fromits site of
origin to the PDdetector end. The latter effect is of particular impor-
tance in specimens which exhibit transmission line behavior, e.g. cables,
transformers and rotating machines. However, there are also some im-
portant variations within the spark discharge mechanismper se, which
may effect significantly the rise time of the discharge pulse formed at
the site of its origin as the cavity undergoes successive discharges.
When the PD pulse discharge pattern is viewed superimposed upon
the power frequency sinusoidal wave, it is observed to exhibit appre-
ciable instability Theamplitudes of the discrete pulses are perceived to
undergo substantial fluctuations accompanied by significant displace-
ments of the associated discharge epochs themselves. The phase vari-
ations of the PD pulse positions with respect to the applied sinusoidal
voltage wave have been referred to as 'precession of discharge epochs'
[34,79]. This precession of discharge epochs may be explained in terms
1 AV =1.9~10" V Pa-!
, , - Total current
Ion current
AV= 1 . 1 x104VPa-1
AV =33x10-5 V Pa-
0 10 20 30 40 SO 60 70 80 90 100
Time, t (ps)
Figure 4. Calculated breakdown current pulseforms of a 0.5 mm gap
in air at atmospheric pressureunder negligiblespacechargecondi-
tions, with theovervoltageAV as a parameter. The electron current
is given by thedifference between thetotal and ion current values
(after Barhikas and Novak [SO)).
The effects of the statistical time lag on the PD pulse shape, magni-
tude and rise time have been analyzed theoretically by Bartnikas and
Novak [SO]. The retarded appearance of the initiating electron in a
given cavity means that in the absence of the electron at the point in
time when the applied ac voltage becomes just equal to the breakdown
voltage of the cavity, breakdown will not occur and the applied voltage
wdl continue rising until such time when an initiating electron becomes
available. The consequence will be that the breakdown of the cavity
will take place at a higher voltage, thereby generating a greater mag-
nitude PD pulse. Toillustrate the effect of a protracted statistical time
lag upon the magnitude and rise time of the ensuring PD pulse, one
must consider the manner in which the PD pulse shape is altered as a
function of the overvoltage across a cavity or short gap.
Figure 4 portrays the shapes of calculated breakdown current pulses
obtained with a 0.5 nun gap in air under atmospheric pressure at low
768 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
values of overvoltage in ascending order of magnitude [SO]. Note that
in order to take into account gas pressure effects, the overvoltages are
expressed in VPa-' units. At low overvoltages, the peak breakdown
current is seen to decrease very substantially with falling overvoltage;
the marked reduction in the peak value of the breakdown current is alsd'
accompanied by a pronounced increase in the rise time of the pulse.
The slow low amplitude current pulses are essentially pulses formed
by the movement of ions across the gap, since the electrons, released
from the cathode due to ion impact necessary to sustain the Townsend
type discharge, are more rapidly swept out of the gap than the slow
moving ions.
AV =2.3~10-4 V Pa-1
Total current
Ion current
3 0.5
12.8 12.9 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6
Ti me, t (ps)
Figure 5. Calculated breakdown current pulseformof a 0.5mm gap
in air at atmospheric pressureat a higher overvoltageunder modest
spacechargeconditions (after Bartnikas and Novak [80]).
Hence the contribution of electrons to the breakdown current pulse
is relatively small, as indicated in Figure 3. It is thus palpably ev-
ident that at extremely low overvoltages across a cavity undergoing
Townsend type pulse discharge, the generated pulse magnitudes with
inherently long rise times, may render their detection difficult with con-
ventional PD pulse detectors having high lower cut-off frequencies. At
higher overvoltages, increasingly more electrons are emitted from the
cathode leaving behind the slower moving ions of polarities, causing
the accumulated space charge due to the positive ions to augment the
ionization rate in the proximity of the cathode. As the positive ion
space charge effects become more predominant inthe relation to the
classical Townsend process of electron emission resulting principally
from positive ion impact at the cathode, the pulse form of the current
is perceptibly altered.
Figure 5 delineates the positive ion space charge influence, which
becomes readily perceptible at ion densities of 10"' ~m- ~. In addi-
tion with a significant overvoltage across the gap, resultant rise in the
electrical field leads to a substantial increase in cathode emission due
to photoionization, which results in a breakdown current pulse with
a shorter rise time and larger magnitude as compared to the current
pulses in Figure 4 obtained under negligible space charge conditions.
This occurs as the space charge field attains a value of zz 30% of the
external field. Note the protracted ion current tail evinced in the overall
pulse current shape, which is caused by the ion drift current and the
associated electron current due to electron emission resulting from ion
impact at the cathode (following the curtailment of photoemission at
the cathode).
Ti me, t (ns)
Figure 6. Calculated breakdown current pulseof 0.5 mmgap in air
at atmospheric pressureunder intense spacechargeconditions at high
overvoltage(alter Bartnikas and Novak [SO])
Greatly enhanced space charge induced photoionization at the cath-
ode, at applied voltages appreciably above the breakdown voltage,
leads to PD current pulses with very much reduced rise times and
greatly augmented peak amplitudes as illustrated in Figure 6. Conspic-
uously absent from the breakdown current pulse form is the protracted
ion tail component, which is prominent at modest space charge densi-
ties in the vicinity of the cathode (Figure 5). The relatively miniscule ion
current contribution (due to the ion impact phenomena at the cathode)
to the overall discharge pulse at high overvoltages is now completely
obscured by the very intense electronic current component caused by
photoemission at the cathode associated with the pronounced space
charge formation in the proximity of the cathode. ThePD current pulse
form is typical of a large spark-type discharge, whose rise times may
range from - 1 to - 10 ns. The probability of occurrence of large mag-
nitude rapid rise time pulses would beexpected to begreater in areas of
insulation well shielded against cosmic radiation and free of electrical
field enhancement sites to reduce the availability of free electrons. As
concerns the physical process in the generation of the rapid rise time
pulses, it should be noted that at high overvoltage across the cavity, the
higher resultant electrical field E increases the ionization frequency v,
in accordance with
where ne is the electron density, a the first Townsend ionization co-
efficient, and pe the electron mobility An enhanced value of y~ leads
to a rapid rise in the number of electrons and positive ions within the
cavity Since the electron density in the proximity of the cathode is con-
strained by the cathode emission influx while the positive ion density
is determined by the rate of volume ionization and influx from within
the cavity, the positive ion charge, under intense ionization conditions,
rapidly exceeds the electron charge thereby giving rise to a very in-
tense cathode field. This results in a reduction in the field across the
remainder of the cavity, causing the major portion of ionization to be
confined within a thin layer adjacent to the cathode in the pr6sence
of a very substantially augmented photoemission. Estimates place the
positive ion density beyond 10" which is approximately two
orders of magnitude in excess of the electron density Under such con-
ditions, the cathode field may attain values as high as 1.5 MV/cm, i.e.
in the region of the field emission threshold; at these fields, formation
of thermal emission spots is likely to occur. This may account for the
U" =neaEpe (1)
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October ZOO.?
initiation of electrical trees at the extremities of discharging cavities in
which the discharge process is dominated by rapid rise time spark type
2 . 4
Figure 7. Integral valueN of the number of ionizing events (which
equals thenumber of electropositiveion pairs) as a function of the
ionization development time of a 5 pm microcavity subjected to an
electric field of 270kV/cm(after Novak and Bartnikas [811).
The statistical time lag, which determines the value of applied volt-
age at which breakdown ensues across a given cavity, has important
practical ramifications in the area of PDdetection and measurement,
because it influences the rise time, magnitude and shape of the detected
PD pulses. Since the appearance or occurrence of free discharge initiat-
ing electrons is controlled by cosmic radiation or other sources (such as
field emission at field enhancing asperities) at or in the vicinity of the
occluded cavities, a single discharge site in a cavity of given size and
gas pressure within may generate pulses of different shape, amplitude
and rise time depending upon the statistical variations in the appear-
ance or absence of the initialing electrons. In juxtaposition, two identi-
cal discharge sites in two similar cavities, located at different areas in a
given insulating system, even though under identical stress conditions
may produce dissimilar PD pulse shapes and pulse distribution spectra
because of a difference in the rate of free electron availability in the two
respective cavity locations, This aberrational behavior, coupled with
the !act that the response of PDdetectors is PD pulse rise time depen-
dent, may result in considerable interpretation difficulties in PDpattern
recognition related work.
Often the question arises as to what extent an ionization process may
be maintained in microcavities and whether it can lead the develop-
ment of PD. A recent study of a 5 pm size microcavity indicates that at
atmospheric pressure, while an ionization process may be initiated, the
number of collisions are by far too few to result in PD development [XI].
Figure 7 shows the number of ionization events DS. the ionization de-
velopment time in a 5 pm microcavity subjected to an electrical field of
270 kV/cm, a value corresponding to the maximum field gradient at the
conductor in HV polymeric transmission cables. Following the release
of a free initiating electron at the surface of the cathode, the number of
ionization events is seen to increase rapidly with the ionization process
attaining full development after an elapse of - 7 11s; the total num-
ber of ionization events (electron/positive ion pairs produced) is found
to be equal to 7 and is reached after 0.72 ns. Here it should be noted
that nabal radiation within a miniscule gas space of 5 pm is unlikely
to provide a free electron within a reasonably short time necessary to
initiate the ionization process. However, free electrons should become
readily available at higher electrical stresses due to Schottky emission
or the hot (mobile) electrons within the structure of solid or solid-liquid
dielectrics [XZ].
- s i - Positive ions B J
Time. t ($)
Figure 8. Chargetransfer due to electrons and positiveions across a
5 microcavity us. theionization development timeat an electric
field of 270 kV/cm(after Novak and Bartnikas [Sl]).
Lower elecmnic
Time. t (s)
Figure 9. Number of excited molecules (upper and lower electronic
levels) within a 5 pmmicrocavity us. theionization development time
at an electric field of 270 kV/cm(after Novak and Bartnikas [811).
Figure X depicts the charge transfer associated with electrons and
positive ions as a function of the ionization development time in the
5 pm cavity, Compared to even the lower measured levels of the charge
transfers due to PD(e.g. - 0.1 pC), the charge transfers involved are
indeed minuscule. While in terms of the energy dissipated their effects
may be negligible compared to actual PD, inthe long termthey may
produce degradation of the insulating material. The ionization process
within the 5 pm cavity results in the production of excited states, whose
energies may be sufficient to cause bond scission of polymeric materi-
als which may lead to gradual deterioration of the insulant. This long
term process will result in the enlargement of cavities and electrical
tree formation with attending PD 1811. Figure 9 portrays the number of
molecules excited into upper and lower electronic states as a function
770 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
with the consequence that newly produced polymeric cables leaving
the manufacturing facility are now free of discharges not only at the
operating voltage level, but also at voltages above those levels which
can he envisaged to be imposed upon the cables under surge voltage
HV supply R.F. choke
Figure IO. Early schematic circuit arrangement for themeasurement
of thepulsedischargerateand differential PD pulse-height analysis
on short cablespecimens cn. 1966 (after Bartnikas 1151).
of the ionization development time in the 5 pm cavity. Here the upper
excitation levels denote the energy range between 8.4 to 15.7 eV and the
lower levels from8.4 down to 7.5 eV Since estimates of cleavage of C-C
and C-H bonds fall in the region of 10 to 11eV 184,851 and 7 to 10 eV 186,
871respectively, the electronic levels of the excited molecules within
the 5 pm ionized cavity would thus he sufficient to result in long term
damage of the insulating system. Hence, the theoretical analysis sug-
gests that while microcavities are insufficient in Sire to Support PD, the
ionization events within themthat are too minute to register a response
on conventional PDpulse detectors, are still capable of producing long
term ionization damage in organic insulating systems.
Figure 11. Terminated cable with PD detector and PD pulse height
distribution measuring apparatus (after Bartnikas 1961).
? 350, , , . , , . , . , - 10
The introduction of polyethylene (PE) extruded cables into the power
distribution sector in the early 1950s required a rapid development of
PD detection techniques and testing standards to assess the reliability
of these cables. Much development work went into characterizing the
PDbehavior in these cables as well as determining their resistance to
PD induced degradation 151. In Figure 10 is delineated a schematic con-
nection diagram of an early arrangement used in the late 1950s and
early 1960s by the author for the measurement of the PDdischarge
rate and differential pulse-height distribution on cables [12-15]. Short
cable lengths (shown as CJ, which acted as lumped capacitance spec-
imens at the frequencies of measurement (calibrated using the square
pulse generator shown), were used for these investigations. There w'as
a general consensus that PD originated from cavities fromwithin the
extruded insulation or at the interfaces between the insulation and the
semiconducting conductor and insulation shields. I t became soon ap-
parent that, in contrast to oil/paper insulated cables, polymeric cables
were highly susceptible to PD induced degradation and could not oper-
ate in the presence of PD without undergoing eventual failure. Accord-
ingly, PD test standards were devised, which required the polymeric
cables to he free of discharges at operating voltage, when tested at a
detection sensitivity of 5 pC. With the improvement in the extrusion
processes of solid polymeric dielectrics and smooth, low contaminant
containing extruded semi-conducting conductor and insulation shields,
the PD test standards became proportionately more stringent, necessi-
tating the polymeric extruded cables to meet the 5 pC sensitivity re-
quirements at voltages substantially above the operating voltage level.
With this added requirement an additional safety factor was introduced
s ~ 103
20 -
9 210 0 8
5 1% .e 2
1 Im - 6 0 -
,; m -80 5
s o -ILu ;
'I -30 -,*I1 2
:: I W -20
p m -140
u - 150 -3MI
Fi gure 12. Characteristic impedanceand phaseangleus. frequency
of 25kV XLPE insulated power cable(after Bartnikas 1951).
ICQHZ i OMi ( l 2 0 M 30- u)Mi(l
In view of the foregoing discharge operating constraints, PDtests
on newly manufactured polymeric cables are essentially go-nogo type
tests in that the cable specimens are rejected if they exhibit the presence
of discharges at the prescribed sensitivity and voltage test level or ac-
cepted in their absence [88-92]. Long power cable specimens behave
as transmission lines and must, therefore, he terminated in their char-
acteristic impedance, if measurement errors due to PD pulse reflection
effects are to he obviated 1931. Since routine PD measurements are car-
ried out on newly manufactured cables with the specimens invariably
unterminated, pulse reflection errors occur but these are minimized by
specifying the so-called LY pulse shape response of the detection cir-
cuit whereby the integration errors due to pulse overlap are additive,
resulting in increased rather than decreased detection sensitivity, The
a response simply refers to a highly damped pulse in which the first
peak of oscillation represents the maximumamplitude of the PD pulse
[94,95). Additional sensitivity is achieved with suitably designed noise
filtering circuits to reduce extraneous interference.
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2002
With the stringent PD specifications in place to eliminate cables at
the production site, which are subject to PD, the current effort and activ-
to locate discharges and asses their severity in cables in the field that
installation or through aging developed discharge activity If identi-
pulse-height and discharge epoch distribution patterns, then, in order
specimen under test must be terminated by its characteristic impedance
[96]. The resistor Ro, approximating the magnitude of the character-
istic impedance of the cable, is placed in series with a discharge-free
capacitor C, which is equal in value to the discharge-free coupling ca-
uacitance C,.. The latter acts as a short to the much hieher freauencv PD
ity in the cable area has shifted to elaborate PD measurement schemes
may either be introduced in the course of mishandling during the their
fication of the type of discharge sites is attempted in terms of the PD
5 -20
6 4 0
3 a
lO.106 40" 10* Mhld 80110b ICQxlo6
to eliminate pattern errors due to reflections fromthe far end, the cable
Ro, utilizing a HV termination arrangement as depicted in Figure 11
Frsqucn~y , f (Hz)
Figure 14. Attenuation frequency Of 25 kV XLpE power
bleterminated "ith its approximatecharacteristic impedanceof37 R
(alter Barmikas [951). Measurement time interval =605. Baseline
=470 resolution capaci t~=1024channels (a) at c,v b) at
1.6 kV above cI v (c) at 3,6 k" above cI v (d) at 5,6 k" above cI v,
" 1 ,
currents, but presents a high impedance at the power frequency Dis-
charges at the cable ends are prevented by the use of oil cups into which
the ends of the cable are immersed. At very HV, the oil cup terminations
must be replaced by ones containing De-ionized water. Note that with
the arrangement shown, the incident PD current pulse at the detector
end contains only half the charge content released at the discharge site,
since the other half is transmitted to the terminated far end of the cable
specimen under test.
. . . . i . . . I .
~ . . . ,
i . ~ . I . .
+ . . . . . ..
. .
. . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . T ' .~ . . . : . . , . . I . . ' . , ,
. .
. .
. .
. . . . i
Figure 13 demonstrates the rapid degradation in the rise time of a pulse
that occurs even over a relative short length of a polymeric distribution
cable [95]. In Figure 14 are presented the high frequency attenuation
characteristics of the same cable.
When new cable designs are evaluated in terms of their PD pulse
height and discharge epoch distribution characteristics for which pre-
cise measurements of the discharge pulse amplitude and the actual
number of discharge pulse are necessary, it is expedient to employ short
cable specimen lengths. With sufficiently short lengths of cable, pulse
reflection effects fromthe far end of the cable do not arise when con-
ventional low frequency narrow band detectors are employed. Figures
15 and 16 portray typical pulse-height distribution curves on two early
vintage short lengths of ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) and cross-
linked polyethylene (XLPE) distribution cable with applied voltage as
a parameter. While these characteristics were obtained utilizing a mul-
tichannel pulse-height analyzer, the current approach would be to em-
ploy a computerized systemshown as an alternative in Figure 11. It
should be observed that the data presented in Figures 15 and 16, when
normalized to a 1 s measurement time interval, can be used to derive
the average PD current, which in such circumstances is given by the
integral of the area subtended by these curves. PD pulse interval mea-
surements also may be made readily by means of the technique devel-
oped by Bapt et ai. [la, 191. The foregoing type of distribution is now
less commonly used, though it provides an important measure of the
PD pulse density in terms of the time separation between the discrete
pulse. It has complements and supplements the PD discharge epoch or
phase distribution, which gives the respective position of the PD pulses
with respect to the phase of the applied sinusoidal voltage wave [20].
The widespread usage of computer based techniques in the mea-
surement of PD has provided added flexibility in the treatment of PD test
data and associated signal processing techniques. With computer as-
sisted techniques, it is readily possible to display simultaneously three-
dimensional plots of PD pulse charge transfer, discharge rate or pulse
number at the discharge epoch of occurrence of the individual pulse
with applied voltage or testing time as parameter. A convenient display
of PD pulse data consists of simultaneously obtained plots of the num-
bers of PD pulses and PD pulse amplitudes as a function of the discharge
epoch or phase obtained over a given time interval at a given value of
applied voltage. Such PD patterns, portrayed in Figure 17 obtained on
Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
Charge transfer - AQ (6)
! I , I
3 5 10 20
Charge transfer - AQ (pC)
I 1 I I
2.9 3.9 7.8 ' 9.8
Charge transfer - AQ (pC)
0 219 3.'9 7.k 9.8
Charge transfer - AQ (pC)
z 3 5 IO 20
Charge transfer - AQ (pC)
1 I 1 I I
0 2.9 3.9 7.8 9.8
Charge transfer - AQ (pC)
10 20
Charge transfer - AQ (6)
Figure 15. PD pulse-height distribution characteristics obtained on
an early 15kV XLPE power cableas a function of applied voltage(after
Bartnikas [5]). Measurement timeinterval =60 s. Baseline =281
channels, resolution capacity =1024 channels (a) at CI v (b) at 2.0 kV
aboveCIV, (c) at 8.0 kV aboveCI V.
a PE cable permit not only the determination of energy dissipated by
the positive and negative PDpulses but may h some cases provide a
possible means for identifying the defects responsible for the observed
PD behavior 1281.
Note that the negative pulses occur over the ascending portion and
positive pulses over the descending portion of the sinusoidal voltage
Over the last decade or so there has been a considerable increase
in PD measurement activities related to PD discharge site location on
both distribution and transmission polymeric type cables in the field;
some of the same type of work has also involved oil/paper insulated
cables. Theobjective is to remove cables or sections of cable circuits
as well as cable joints, which exhibit various degrees of PD activity
Figure 16. PD pulse-height distribution characteristics as a function
of applied voltage obtained on an early 25 kV EPR insulated power
cable (after Barmikas 1961).
and are judged to be in imminent danger of undergoing failure 1951.
The portable PD locating techniques available for solid and solid-liquid
type cables can essentially be categorized into probe and non-probe test
methods. There are a number of non-probe PDsite location methods,
most notably the PD pulse polarity correlator 1971and a number of vari-
ations of the time domain reflectometry (TDR) procedures [98,99]. The
advantage of the TDR techniques rests in that the measurements may be
carried out in-situ on directly buried cables or cables installed in ducts;
there are disadvantages, however, in that the TDR methods require tem-
porary interruption of service and a portable power supply to energize
the disconnected cables. In contrast, while the probe methods may be
directly applied on cables under operating conditions, they are by their
very nature scanning devices and require accessibility to the cable ex-
terior surfaces. The latter disadvantage may in part be circumvented
in the case of splice or joint tests, where it is common practice (partic-
ularly in the case of extra HV polymeric transmission cables) to install
permanent PD detection probes to monitor any possible development
of PD in the joints.
TDR methods employed for the location of PD discharge sites in
polymeric cables utilize either low frequency 0.1 Hz voltage sources,
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2002
1 \
00, 270
Figure 17. PD pattem associated with a flat cavity in a PE cableat
an applied voltageoi 15 kV measured over a 60 min time period (after
Gulski [ZS]).
Figure 18. Schematic circuit diagramof PD sourcelocator for cables
(after Mashikian el ai. [103]).
which permit the testing of longer cable lengths [lOO], or the usual
power frequency SOor 60 Hz voltage sources, which produce a larger
number of PD pulses per unit time and thus facilitate electronically the
PD site detection,procedure [101-103]. Current TDR methods have been
greatly improved by the use of digital techniques and are capable of lo-
cating PD discharge sites with acceptable precision. Since discharge site
location is determined in terms of the incident PD pulses and the time
delay between their multiple reflections, the accuracy and precision of
discharge site location is a function of the rise time and pulse width of
the discharge pulses, their distortion and broadening as they propagate
along the cable as well as the signal-to-noise ratio characteristics of the
detection circuit.
A schematic circuit diagram of a TDR type PD site locator developed
by Mashikian et al. [101-103] is delineated in Figure 18 in which the
cable specimen in-service is disconnected from the remaining power
distribution network and energized by means of a 60 Hz power supply
Thehigh pass filters utilized are of the RC type with a pass bandwidth
of 10 MHz having a lower frequency cut-off to reject the power fre-
quency and its harmonics. The detected PD pulses are transmitted via
a buffer amplifier in tandem with an isolation transformer to a digital
r2 =1.10 p
I, =2.64 ps
9 20
$ I 15
.- -
9 IO
$ 5
0 2 4 6 8 10
Pulse xparation time (ps)
Figure 19. TDR incident and reflected PD signal haces obtained on
an XLPE insulated power distribution cableof 223 mlength (after
Mashikian el al . [l03]).
oscilloscope, which is interfaced by means of an I EEE 488 bus with a
microcomputer equipped with a National Instruments type accelerator
board and utilizes Labview IITM software that permits signal process-
ing of the digitally stored discharge pulse data in the oscilloscope. Al-
though the algorithm is not specified, there are several digital process-
ing techniques such as deconvolution, linear prediction and maximum
likelihood estimation that are amenable for accomplishing the required
task [104].
In Figure 19 is represented a typical trace of the incident and re-
flected PD pulses obtained on a 223 m long XLPE insulated power dis-
tribution cable, with the measurements being recorded at the near end
of the cable (point n in Figure 18). The discharge site location is taken
to be at (1 - Al), so that the first pulse in the TDR trace represents
the incident pulse that has traversed a distance (1 - Al) from the site,
where Al is the distance to the site from the far end of the cable spec-
imen (point bin Figure 18). Its associated reflected pulse propagates a
total distance equal to (A/ +1) and reaches point a with a time de-
lay of t Z with respect to the incident pulse. Theincident pulse and its
associated reflected pulse are in turn reflected at the near end a, and
then after traveling to the far end bare again reflected, such that upon
arriving at the near end a the separation between the incident pulse
and its reflected pulse becomes equal to t l . Thereflection process of
the pulse couplet continues until they are attenuated beyond the sensi-
tivity limit of the TDR detection system. In reference to Figures 18and
19, the position of the discharge site AI is thus given by
In discharge site location tests on in-service aged cables, it is desir-
able and appropriate to utilize detector sensitivity levels of S pC, since
newly manufacture cables are rejected with discharges at and above this
specified level. As the extraneous noise levels in service environments
generally exceed this level, suitable noise rejection filters must beincor-
porated in the test circuitry. Communications related electromagnetic
interference occurs at fixed frequencies and is, therefore, most simply
removed by band rejection or notch filters. Another simple noise elim-
774 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
Concentric neutral jumpper over joint
Conductor olcahle rpecimen
T- .- .
. . . -. . -
cp! Se " m1 u a me >hel d P?
Concentric neutral
0 >
r r I
Fi gure 20. Dischargesitelocation by means of capacitiveprobes (af-
ter Morinel nl. [107]). (a) Position of capacitiveprobes with respect
to joint. @) Equivalent circuit of capacitiveprobes and cablespeci-
men: hererepresents theincremental distributed capacitanceof the
cabledielectric and C thecapacitanceof theprobeinserted between
theconcentric neutral and thesemiconducting shield.
Chl lOmV Ch2 lOmV Ions Chl
Figure 21. Responseof two capacitiveprobes with probe#2 located
a distanceof 0.76 mand probe#t 4.5 1.36 mfroma joint of two 25 kV
XLPE distribution cables containing a dischargesourceat its midpoint;
Vertical scale, 10mVIdiv., horizontal scale, 10nsldiv. (after Morinel
nl. j1071).
ination procedure is available for the rejection of interference pulses
that are generated fromswitching events which bear a definite phase
relationship to the applied sinusoidal voltage wave, such that blanking
circuitry may be employed to eliminate all pulses within the applied
voltage segments over which the interference pulses appear. When di-
rect operator intervention in the noise filtering approach is not feasible,
resort to adoptive digital filtering techniques can he made [102,104]. If
the pulse response of a full cable specimen length as well as its attenua-
tion and phase constants are known, the response due to a discharge at
any point on the cable may be derived in terms of its transfer function
[102]. Consequently, the pulse response associated with a discharge at
any point along the cable specimen may be correlated with the mea-
sured noise i.e., the location of the PD site corresponds to that value,
wluch yields the maximumcross-correlation coefficient.
As has been mentioned already, the alternative procedure for the 10-
cation of PD sites in solid polymeric and oil-impregnated-paper cables
involves the use of scanning probes, which may be of the capacitive
[lo51 or inductive [lo61 type. For completely shielded cables only in-
ductive probes are effective. Capacitive probes function well only on
unshielded or poorly shielded cable sections, where the shield may
be interrupted or damaged or at cable ends and poorly shielded ca-
ble joints. Capacitive probes may be also installed permanently under
shields in joints to monitor or detect newly initiated discharge activ-
ity. It should be also pointed out that acoustical probes which function
well with compressed gas cable or bus sections, do not performwell
on polymeric or oil impregnated-paper cables that are characterized by
high acoustical impedances.
The usual capacitive probe normally consists of a dielectric filmca-
pacitor of narrow width with cooper plate electrodes suitably bent to
fit the cylindrical contour of the cable specimen. The capacitive probe
may be mounted on an insulated rod to facilitate scanning along poorly
shielded cable joints. In order to locate the PD sites, it is always nec-
essary to work with two probes placed some distance apart that may
be varied to establish whether the fault is between the probes or to
either side of the probes. Though tedious, capacitive probes may be
installed on distribution cables with concentric neutrals with the two
capacitive probes being inserted between the concentric neutral and
semiconducting shield of the cable. For cable joints ha\ 'in ' g concentric
neutral jumpers, the capacitive probes may be placed as indicated in
Figure 20 [107].
If the discharge site in Figure 20 is exactly in the middle of the cable
joint, the PD pulse arrival times at the two probes will be equal and the
two respective transmitted pulses from the PD site will be of equal mag-
nitude. Had the two probes been inserted under the concentric neutral
at 0.76 and 1.4 m on the right hand side away fromthe cable joint,
the situation would be quite different as is demonstrated in Figure 21
for the case nTherethe separation distance between the two capacitive
probes is 0.61 m. The pulse at probe No. 2, which is 0.76 m fromthe
joint, is seen to arrive before that of the more attenuated pulse at probe
No. 1, which is placed 1.4 m fromthe joint. As has been already dis-
cussed, the losses in the semiconducting shields as well as inthe solid
dielectric of the polymeric distribution cables give rise to substantial
attenuation of the magnitude of the transmitted PD pulses; likewise,
they are found to reduce the velocity of propagation to - 58% of that
of free space.
A single capacitive probe scan of a cable surface is frequently use-
ful as an initial step for detecting gross PD faults at poorly concentric
neutral shielded covered cable sections, joints and terminals. For this
purpose rf type I'D detection circuitry is employed, whose sensitivity
is calibrated in pC but whose output consists of both an indication in
dB units as well as an audible noise level that is proportional to the PD
intensity. Such a device is depicted in Figure 22; it utilizes two probes:
a contact capacitive probe and ungrounded rod probe, which acts as an
antenna. The latter probe is employed for ascertaining the overall PD
JEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October2002
Figure 22. Schematic diagramof rf capacitiveprobePD locator de-
signed for application onpolymeric power distribution cables (after
Morinet ai. IlOS]).
Copper lnsulaling cylinder
b 9
Figure 23. I'D sourcelocation on joints of 275kV XLPL power trans
mission cable(after Katsutaet ai. [lOS]).
activity or ambient noise in a given area, i . e. in the vicinity of cables
installed in substations or at openings of man-holes. If such activity
is observed, the accessible portions of the cables are scanned with the
contact capacitive probe, which is generally found to be effective in
locating very intense discharge sources; however, its PD site locating
capability is seriously compromised in areas exhibiting high ambient
levels of interference. The capacitive probe PD site locating device has
a calibrated output A readable directly in dB units, given by the empir-
ical relation [lo61
A =Kl uAQkb
where I< and bare constants and the value of AQ in pC refers to a
train of calibration excitation pulses at a specified repetition rate, i.e.
the calibrated dB scale is a function of both the magnitude of the PD
pulses as well as their repetition rate.
Since the presence of PD in polymeric type cables under operating
conditions cannot be tolerated due to the high susceptibility of the poly-
mer dielectrics to PD induced degradation, discharge onset monitoring
of h-service HV power transmission cables is of paramount importance
[109,110]. The appearance of PD may necessitate immediate removal of
the accessory of the polymeric cable segment in which the I'D source is
located in order to avert service interruption due to a high probability of
imminent failure at elevated voltages. Figure 23 portrays schematically
a PD site locator arrangement, which has been successfully deployed
in-service applications on installed 275kV XLPE power transmission
cables. It utilizes a balun circuit, which provides an unbalanced output
[109]. The two capacitive probes are applied in the formof a metallic
foil over the cable jacket; an insulating ring separates the metallic shield
at the mid-point of the joint. Essentially each capacitive probe views
one half of the joint and cable length on its respective side. A sensitivity
of 2 pC is claimed by the authors.
Probe -
#2 -
Chl 20mV Ch2 20mV lOns Chl
Figure 24. Pulseresponses froma dischargesitesituated equidistant
between two inductiveprobes; horizontal scale: 10 nsldiv., vertical
scale: 20 mvldiv. (after Morinet nl. [107]).
Figure 25. Schematic circuit diagramof a commercial ultrasonic PO
detector [1081.
Although inductive probes have been deployed for PD site location
purposes for several decades [106,111], their application to cables ap-
pears to be a relatively recent phenomena [107,112-115]. In shielded
cables, the signal of the discharge site is coupled electromagnetically to
the concentric neutral and the induced current pulse propagates along
theneutral in both directions fromthe discharge site. The induced volt-
age pulse magnitude developed across the inductive probe increases
with the mutual inductance between the inductive probe and the con-
centric neutral. In general, ferrite core coils exhibit greater sensitiv-
ity and have better frequency response characteristics than multi-turn
coils. While higher frequency response inductive coils have better sig-
nal resolution characteristics and provide greater accuracy in the lo-
cation of I'D sites, it is advantageous with longer cable specimens to
use inductive probes that respond principally to the lower frequency
components of the discharge pulse and can, therefore, 'see' further into
the cable specimen. b e d and Srinivas [llS] have described ferrite
core probe designs that can sense discharge sites - 600 maway How-
ever, for precise discharge site location, inductive coil probes of a few
turns [107,112,114] or even a single turn 11131are required. Figure 24
shows the response of two inductive coil probes of 6 turns each, placed
equidistant (44.5 cm) from a PD source [105].
While acoustical methods are relatively ineffective for PD tests on
polymeric and oil/paper-impregnated cables, they are ideally suited
for PD site location on compressed SFacables and bus limes. Tnis can
be readily accomplished using conventional commercially available ul-
trasonic detection circuitry depicted in Figure 25 [108]. SF, gas, which
776 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
is normally under a pressure of 5 atmospheres transmits ultrasonic
signals much more efficiently than under atmospheric pressure [1161,
though appreciable attenuation occus at flanges and spacers 11171; con-
sequently, the cables should be scanned in steps between the individual
flanges. The acoustical attenuation cy (in dB/cm) between the spacers of
a compressed SF6l i e may expressed by the Kirchhoff formula, which
is valid for a tube geometry [116],
c y = (4)
where f denotes the frequency in Hz and T is the radius of the cable
tube in cm. Even though attenuation is much lower over the audio
frequencies (<20 Wz), acoustical tests on SF6l i es must be carried at
higher frequencies of the ultrasonic regime (e.8. 50 kHz) in order to cir-
cumvent the high ambient interference normally encountered over the
audio frequency band. Acoustical methods may achieve sensitivity lev-
els of 10 to 25pC [116], that are substantially less than those of electrical
PD detectors, which fall in the range between 0.1 to 1.0 pC. It should be
also added, that while acoustical methods can readily detect discharges
due to the movement of particles and those initiated at asperities on the
surface of the cable conductors, they are quite ineffective in detecting
the low level PD pulses which occur within the occluded cavities of the
spacer insulators 11161
Figure 26. PD site location and PD level test with anacoustic sensor
inconjunction with anarrow band PD detector [116,118].
cable or
FET pmk
Solid dielectric -;;Coaxial coupler
FET pmk
Fi gure 27. Tpes of couplers for high frequency PD measurements
on SFalinespecimens (after Boggset nl. [120,122]).
0.1 pC depending on the extraneous noise rejection filter employed, de-
termines at an elevated sensitivity whether discharges are present and
the probe is then slid along the exterior of the metallic tube enclosure of
the cable to locate the PD sources. Difficulties are encountered with this
procedure when the electrically detected discharge levels are low and
fall beyond the sensitivity capabilities of the ultrasonic scanning probe.
The output across the detection impedance z d may be used also to gen-
erate the usual PD pulse distribution functions when measurements are
phase synchronized with the power frequency
The nearly dielectric loss-free character of SF6lines renders them
ideally suited for high frequency PD detection techniques. Frequencies
in the range from 300 MHz to 1 GHz commonly are utilized in a de-
tection scheme whereby the detection impedance z d and the coupling
capacitance C, of the traditional PD detection circuit become incorpo-
rated as parts of a high frequency transmission limeto yield the desired
frequency response [119-1231. In straight portions of SFabus ducts or
cables, the detection of discharges and their site location is achieved by
measuring simultaneously the pulse arrival times at two suitably dis-
placed coupling capacitors along the transmission line. Discharge sites
have been shown to be located to within 1 m over straight portions of
a duct l i e at sensibility levels as high as 0.1 pC [120,122]. Figure 27
depicts a number of typical PD coupling devices for use with wide band
discharge detection systems. While the shown coaxial coupler exhibits
a good frequency response, it is characterized by a high coupling loss,
which may, however, be eliminated by the use of a solid-dielectric cou-
pler. If a Faraday cage is available to provide adequate shielding for
the measuring capacitor, a sheath coupler is also suitable for use with
the proviso that an isolated section of the cable sheath is disposable for
this purpose.
It was demonstrated that high frequency PD detection techniques
may also be employed for continuous PD monitoring on gas-insulated
system (GIs) 11201. Since PD measurements inthe range from 300 MHz
to 1 GHz are well beyond the upper limit of the frequency spectrum
of surface corona discharges, interference from overhead transmis-
sion l i es is effectively eliminated. Fixed frequency interference from
portable telephone communications and television may be circum-
vented by suitable filtering techniques. Should the latter approach have
short comings, then PD detection may carried out at selected high fre-
quencies, which correspond to the characteristic resonant frequencies
of the SFggas duct structure under test as shown in the detailed anal-
ysis by Kurrer et nl . 11241. These groups of resonant frequencies are a
complex function of the geometrical configuration of the GIs bus i.e., its
overall length, interconnections, T joints and ends of ducts [121-1261:
When the PD pulse amplitudes become very large, the number of res-
onant peaks increases, leading to a very dense frequency spectrum of
the resonant peaks.
In closing the discussion on PDmeasurements on cable specimens
some remarks ought to be made in regard to PD site location tests at
cable manufacturing facilities. PD site location tests were freauentlv
I ,
A common procedure employed for PD detection and PD site loca-
tion in SFs power transmission cables, based on a technique developed
earlier by Konig [US, 1181, involves the usage of a conventional narrow
band PD detector in conjunction with an ultrasonic probe as delineated
in Figure 26. ThePD detector, whose sensitivity may be as high as
and insome cases routinely carried out on polymeric cables until the
early 1970s. Assolid dielectric extrusion techniques improved along
with the introduction of extruded semiconducting shields that replaced
the antecedent carbon-tape shields, the occurrence of PD innewly man-
ufactured cables diminished markedly The most effective technique
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Elech'cal Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2002 777
for locating rn sites in polymeric extruded insulation and cavities at
interfaces between the conductor semiconducting shield and the ex-
truded insulation, involved the use of the so-called Gooding train (1271,
whereby a polymeric cable without the outside insulation semiconduct-
ing shield was passed through a hollow cylindrical HV electrode situ-
ated at the center of a long pipe, containing high resistivity De-ionized
water. Tne water column at the ends of the type was grounded via two
grounded tanks, thereby causing the cavity or cavities to undergo max-
imum discharge intensity at the center of the tube. In some installations
the Gooding train PD scanning procedure was carried out shortly after
the extrusion head as the cable was being extruded. Since the Good-
ing train technique could not be applied directly to finished cables with
insulation semiconducting shields in place, X-ray techniques were uti-
lized to scan voltage energized cables 11'28,1291. X-ray irradiation of
cavities provided the free electrons to initiate and maintain the PDin
the cavities, which normally could not have undergone discharge.
Capacitor specimens behave as lumped circuit elements; thus PD
tests on capacitors constitute a simple procedure with the proviso that
their capacitance is not too large. Unfortunately, this is not the situation
with the vast majority of HV power and energy storage capacitors. If C,
represents the major portion of the capacitance of the capacitor, which
shunts the series combination of the capacitance of a discharging cavity
in series with an extremely small portion of the dielectric, then in terms
of the detected peak discharge pulse voltage signal Vd, the associated
apparent charge transfer is given by
AQ =AV&, (5)
;:;:-'I 2 - - 5 95w
.e 8 wo
2 ' 8 " l
e 7Mo
" -25 -15 -5 o 5 IO I5
Temperature ('C)
Figure 28. PDI V us. temperature characteristic of a 4.6 pF dielectric
liquid impregnated plastic foil power capacitor (after Hantoucheand
Evidently, the detected pulse voltage magnitude decreases inversely
with the specimen capacitance C,, eventually approaching a situa-
tion where PD detection with electrical PDdetectors becomes increas-
ingly more difficult when the specimen capacitances begin to exceed
much beyond 5 pF. Extraneous noise elimination and reduction in PD
tests on high capacitance specimens, using balanced measurement tech-
niques, represents one effective practical means for compensating in
portion for this reduced measurement sensitivity 151. Early dielectric
liquid impregnated-paper power capacitors were designed for opera-
tional stresses of the order of 12 V/Gmand had to comply with I EC
Specification 70(130,1311. Thereplacement of paper by plastic film
0 Phase (degrees) 360
Figure 29. Effect oftemperatureupon theop pulse distribution char-
acteristics of a 4.6/IF dielectric liquid impregnated plastic-filmpower
capacitor: (a) at PDI V =1.98~ rated voltageand -25T; @) at PDlV =
2. 82~ rated voltageand15C (after Hantoucheand Forme (1341).
dielectrics permitted to increase the operational stresses to 60 V/pm
for the power capacitors; however, this increase was accompanied by
more stringent PDlevel requirements, which stipulated a permissible
rn level of only 20 pC relative to that for oil/paper insulated capacitors
of 200 pC 1132-1341. This partially reflected the greater concern for the
use of plastic films, which tend to undergo more severe degradation in
the presence of PDas compared to the well proven high reliability oil,'
paper insulating systems. With capacitors that are constructed of sev-
eral unit capacitors placed in parallel, it is common practice to test the
units for PD individually and thus gain sensitivity as opposed to having
the entire capacitor itself tested, which represents a specimen of much
higher capacitance. Asan additional safety feature, efforts are made to
design capacitors such that they are free of discharges for at least twice
the rated voltage, whose associated charge transfers are =20 pC. It is
interesting that the latter level is four times greater than the 5 pC value
utilized as a criterion for the rejection of polymeric power cables. Yet,
while the electrical stresses in the polymeric cables are relatively high,
they are still substantially less than the stresses at the stress enhance-
ment sites of the metallic foil edges of capacitors [80]. In comparison to
cables, the PD charge transfer levels even on low voltage capacitors are
found to be relatively high, ranging between 8 and 49 pC [135].
A general characteristic of HV insulating systems is that with aging,
the PDinception voltage (PDIV) frequently is observed to diminish very
gradually with time as a result of both physical and chemical degra-
dation which take place within the insulating systems. With dielectric
liquid impregnated system, the Pniv value is significantly affected by
temperature, usually decreasing with falling temperature as the viscos-
ity of the impregnant increases and cavities are either created or minute
cavities coalesce to form larger macroscopic cavities that commence to
ionize and discharge. This effect is demonstrated in Figure 28, which
was obtained on a 4.6 pFpower capacitor rated for operation at 3.6 kli
778 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
Figures 29(a) and 29@) portray three-dimensional plots of the num-
ber of PD pulses and charge transfer as a function of discharge epoch
(phase in relation to the applied sinusoidal voltage wave) (1341. It can
be discemed fromthe graphs that the insulating systemexhibits a lower
PDI V value at -25C due to the presence of more intense discharges
centered around 180"; Figure 29@) obtained at a temperature of 15T
reveals a more dense discharge pattern, containing pulses of an appre-
ciably lower intensity
PD pulse distribution patterns may also be used to detect coustruc-
tion faults in capacitors. In terms of a PD pulse distribution data bank
compiled, Gulski [27] was able to correlate PD pulse distribution pat-
terns on a 220 kV, 10 pF capacitor to establish the existence of a PD fault
at a soldering joint between individual capacitor layer packages. HOW-
ever, for such correlations to be effective, previous PD pulse distribu-
tion data must be available on specific types of PD faults on capacitors
having identical construction designs. Acoustical measurements are
particularly attractive for PD detection in capacitor specimens of high
capacitance. They are immune to extraneous electromagnetic interfer-
ence and can achieve sensitivity levels better than 20pC, which are
difficult to attain with electrical PD sensors when capacitances >LO fiF
are involved [116,136]. The electromechanical transducers or sensors
Figure 30. Schematic circuit arrangement of an induced voltagePD
test on a power transformer specimen, including a measurement sys-
temfor PD pulse-height distribution analysis.
used for detecting acoustic emissions may be constructed of crystals or
ceramics, which possess the property of piezoelectricity i. e. , the capa-
bility of developing electricity upon the application of pressure waves.
Rochelle salt, lithiumsulfate and ammonium dihydrogen phosphate
crystals, barium titanate and lead zirconatelead titanate ceramics are
materials that exhibit piezoelectric properties. The piezoelectric crys-
tal and ceramic acoustical sensors may be used within the frequency
regime extending from0.1 Hz to 25 MHz and may be either broad or
narrow bandwidth devices [116]. The frequency range within which
acoustical sensors are used in the area PD detection is determined by
the acoustical transmission characteristics of the power apparatus or
cable specimens undergoing test as well as the ambient acoustical in-
terference spectrum at the test site. In insulating systems containing di-
electric liquids, which are characterized by low acoustical impedances,
a sensitivity level of 1 pC would appear to be achievable under ideal
test conditions [116].
It has been demonstrated that ultrasound methods are capable of
detecting discharges in capacitors having capacitances as high as 40 pF
[116]. The physical size of liquid-filled power capacitors attains suffi-
ciently large dimensions to permit acoustical coupling of the ultrasonic
transducers via a filmof glycerine to the steel casing of the capacitor.
For such large-sized capacitors, acoustical sensors resonant in the fre-
quency regime between 60to 80 ldlz appear to be most effective. How-
ever, with capacitors of reduced physical size casings, a frequency of
- 20 ldlz tends to be most suitable. Small capacitors undergoing PD
tests are frequently immersed in a mineral oil bath, thereby ensuring
good acoustical coupling between the ultrasonic transducers and the
test specimen as well as providing effective shielding to ambient ul-
trasound. Ultrasonic transducers are commonly used for the detection
and monitoring of PD signals as well as discharge site location. PD sites
are often located at the edges of the capacitor metalized films, where
strong electrical stress enhancement takes place; the charge transfers
associated with these discharges fall normally between 10 and 20 pC.
Figure 31. Schematic circuit diagramfor a dischargetest on a small
transformer, using a separate 60 Hz HV discharge-freetest sourcewith '
additional instrumentation for PD pulse-height and dischargeepoch
distribution measurements.
PDmeasurement and its interpretation on transformers and reactors
represent a far more complex and intricate task than that on cables or
capacitors. A transformer is an inductive device; as the electrical PD
measurements are carried out at the terminals of the transformer, any
discharge site within the windings of the transformer is separated from
the terminals by a sizable inductance, which appears in parallel with
a distributed capacitance and is as well shunted to ground by another
distributed capacitance. The PD pulse emerging at the discharge site
must travel over a complex LC network prior to reaclung the terminal
of the transformer. As the PD pulse propagates along the transformer
winding, it is both attenuated and distorted as increasingly its high
frequency content is removed or filtered out. Inaddition, the occmence
of resonances, between windings and tums within the windings, can
introduce errors into the measured PD quantities should these resonant
frequencies fall within the bandwidth of the PD sensing system.
PD tests on the transformers may be performed using either the so-
called induced test or by means of a separate independent power fre-
quency voltage source to produce the voltage stress in the insulating
system [lll, 1371. In the induced test, the voltage is applied across the
low potential winding whereby the voltage stress is impressed between
the individual huns and sections of the windings as under normal op-
erating conditions in service. When this test is employed with larger
transformers, it is common practice to use the third harmonic (180 Hz)
of the power frequency source in order to permit an over voltage test
on the transformer without saturating the magnetic core and thereby
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October2002 779
causing damage to the transformer. Alternatively, a 400 Hz motor gen-
erator unit may sometimes be considered acceptable. Since high power
transformer are normally equipped with a bushing tap 1111,137-1401it
disposes conveniently with the requirement of a discharge free coupling
capacitor; Figure 30 delineates schematically the connection diagram
for an induced voltage PD test on a power transformers specimen.
Figure 32. Schematic circuit diagramlor a dischargetest onareactor
equipped with a bushing tap, using a separate60Hz HV discharge
19659 .............. .__....... . . .... .... .... .... .____
8.7 17 26 35
Charge transfer, AQ (pC)
Figure 33. PD pulse-height distribution observed over a 2 min inter-
val on a 55 MVA reactor, containing a damaged screen (after Gulski et
01. [141]).
With smaller transformers, the power frequency voltage is generally
applied to the HV winding by means of a discharge-free test transformer
as portrayed schematically in Figure 31. The transformer insulation is
thus voltage stressed between the high potential winding and the low
potential winding as well as ground. Note that with this arrangement
a discharge-free coupling capacitor C, is required.
When a PD test is performed on a reactor, a separate test transformer
must also be employed, but no coupling capacitor is necessary because
a bushing tap is provided. Since one end of the reactor coil is grounded,
the insulation is stressed between the turns as well as to ground (Fig-
ure 32). Figure 33 shows ~ P D pulse-height dishibution obtained on a
reactor, using a multichannel pulse-height analyzer; the PD discharge
pattern was attributed to a damaged screen (1411.
WhilePD specifications state a permissible bandwidth <300 knz
in the testing of transformers (1371, a lower flat bandwidth extending
from40 to 200kHz has been found to provide improved sensitivity
J l J
Figure 34. PD pulseforms obtained with a 3 mmgap in a trans-
former mineral oil at atmospheric pressuresuijected to 50Hz ac of
7 kV rms. Upper traceintegrated output of a 300 kHz bandwidth
PD detector (ordinatescale20 mVldiv); lower tracenegativepulses
within a pulse burst output of a750MHz k?ndwsidth oscilloscope(or-
dinatescale 10 mV/div); abscissa scale'l'sldiv for both upper and
lower traces (after Pompili et ol. 1152)).
Discharge e p h (radians)
Figure 35. Dischargeepoch or phase with respect to the applied
voltagewavein a 30mmtransformer mineral oil gap at a 2 kV above
thedischargeinception voltageat atmospheric pressure. Trace(a):
dischargeepoch and associated chargetransfer variation over eleven
consecutivecycles; trace(b): dischargeepoch distribution over a 1 s
timeinterval (after Pompili el nl . 11531).
(1421. Attenuation measurements carried out in the same study indi-
cated that the spectral components in the PD pulses closer to 1 MHz
are much more attenuated than those below 200 Hz. Tuned PD mea-
surements are not performed on transformers and reactors because of
errors introduced due to resonance phenomena arising between turns
and windings, which are principally prevalent above 200 kHz.
The filter connected across the detection impedance Z, must re-
movethepower frequency component and its harmonics as well as
factory and communication generated interference. The I EEE Standard
specifies a filter with a signal attenuation of 60 dB at 15 lcHz and 20 dB
at 500 IcHr [137]. Considering that a PD level of 500 pC in oil filled
transformers is deemed to be permissible, analog filters may adequately
meet the noise rejections requirements in most instances. However, un-
der severe extraneous noise conditions, digital filters of the adaptive
780 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
rejection type may utilized. Adaptive rejection filters are essentially
mathematical filters: the detected pulses are transformed fromthe time
domain to the frequency domain by means of the fast Fourier trans-
form; in the frequency domain the magnitude of the intense noise fre-
quency components are subtracted and then the noise frequency free
signal spectrumis transformed back to the time domain by taking its
fast Fourier transforminverse.
Calibration of the PD detection circuits is carried out, as in the case
of cable and capacitor specimens, using a small calibration capacitor via
which a known charge is injected. The value of this capacitor should
be at least 50 pF but should not exceed 150 pF. The square pulse of
the generator should be sufficiently wide to prevent overlapping of the
simulated PD calibration pulses at the front and the trailing edges of the
square excitation pulse. The recommended rise time of the front and
trailing edges of the square pulse should be equalized to correspond to
100 ns as recommended in the PD test standards [11,137]. The response
of PD detectors is a function of the rise time of the PD pulses and, con-
sequently, failure to maintain the rise and fall times of the excitation
or calibrating square pulse constant and equal will lead to calibration
errors both with conventional PD detectors and PD pulse-height distri-
record each pulse burst as a single integrated charge pulse [152]. This is
demonstrated in Figure 34, which shows the response of a PD detector
to a PD pulse burst in transformer oil; the charge transfer associated
with the overall pulse burst is 13 pC, so that the charge transfer associ-
ated wi!h each discrete pulse within the pulse burst is substantially less
and can be estimated in terms of the relative amplitudes of the discrete
pulses. The PD pulse bursts in oil are initiated at or inclose proximity
the ac voltage peaks, so that the discharge epochs or phase position of
the pulse bursts will tend to center around the peaks (Figure 3S), i.e.
at 90" and 270" in lieu of those of the regular PD discharge patterns
that center around the voltage zeros [153]. Since the pulse bursts in liq-
uid dielectrics occur sporadically as opposed to the regularly recurring
discharges in the classical cavities in inclusions within the oil/paper
systems, their detection is more difficult. It has not yet been established
to what extent their presence affects the electrical stability of insulat-
ing liquids. In Figure 36is delineated the experimental arrangement
for the simultaneous recording of the integrated pulse burst pulse and
the discrete rapid pulse train within the pulse burst in dielectric liquid
bution analyzers [S, 76,1431.
Also shown in Figures 30 and 31are PC computer based systems,
which may be used for PD pulse-height and pulse phase distribution
analysis in lieu of the sophisticated multichannel analyzer systems.
While present PD measurement standards on transformers require only
the determination of the PD inception and extinction voltages as well
as the maximum PD charge transfer value and its change with time at
specified voltage levels, the PD pulse distribution measurement systems
may be used to analyze certain PD behavioral features that may bear
some relationship to the type of PD faults as well as their location. In the
interpretation of PD measurements on solid-liquid insulating systems, it
is well to emphasize two distinct discharge mechanisms that may occur
in dielectric liquid filled power apparatus. PD within the physically sta-
ble macroscopic cavities occluded within the oil-impregnated-cellulose
paper fiber interstices or synthetic paper insulation will exhibit the clas-
sic discharge behavior in that the positive discharges will occur along
the descending portions and negative discharges along the ascending
portions of the applied sinusoidal voltage wave. The discharges will
thus tend to center on both sides of the voltage zeros or commence just
before the voltage zeros Le., - 0" and 180". In addition to the former
behavior, discharges can also occur within transient cavities that are
momentarily created and disappear abruptly in the liquid impregnant
at electrical stress enhancement points such as metallic asperities and
protrusions [144].
These cavities, initiated at the electrical field enhancement sites
within the dielectric liquid, have a propensity expand due to vapor
pressure build-up fromwithin [145-1471. As these cavities grow, the
PD process is initiated, resulting in a series of PD pulses of generally
increasing magnitude which reflects the increasing size of the cavity
until its abrupt collapse due to dynamic instability [147-1511. While
the series of rapid discrete PD pulses, now commonly referred to as
a pulse burst can be readily recorded using a wide band oscilloscope
(750 MHz 1 GHz) with a sampling capability of at least 1 G samples per
second, a conventional 300 MHz bandwidth PD detector simply will
Figure 36. Schematic circuit diagramfor thesimultaneous measure-
ment of thePD pulseburst and thediscretepulses within eachpulse
burst (after Pompili et fll. [152,153].
Fi gure 37. Schematic circuit diagramfor off-line test using rf cur-
rent transformer (CT) sensors for PD sitelocation in transformers (after
.Fuhretnl . [170]).
The foregoing examples demonstrate that PD pulse distribution pat-
terns may be employed to ascertain the extent and the nature of dis-
charge activity in inductive power apparatus; they may also be uti-
lized to differentiate between the discharges emanating fromwithin the
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Vol. 9 No. 5,OctoberZOOZ
transformers and reactors fromthat of extraneous noise sources. The
latter may consist of thyristor pulses, modulated periodic signals, poor
electrical contacts or corona discharges fromHV leads and be charac- distinctly different pulse distribution patterns. The pulse
discharge patterns fromthese interferences are so different from the
normal PD pattems, occurring in transformers or reactors, that they may
be recognized readily by experienced operators using conventional PD
detectors. Ina recent study involving large power transformers and re-
actors (1381, it was shown that with the aid of fractal analysis, changes
inthe PD pulse distribution pattems could be used to detect gross d e
fects that were artificially introduced in the form of
1. an aluminum rod extending fromthe HV sphere of a trans-
2; a floating shielding electrode, and
3. absence of a shielding electrode on the test object.
In an antecedent study by Gulski (1541, carried out on electrical ap-
paratus using the shape parameters of PD pulse distribution curves, it
was shown to be possible to distinguish between defects and actual
PD discharges in electrical power apparatus. However, the recognition
method used was general in the sense that it only determined whether
or not the detected discharge pulses emanated fromwithin the test
specimen. The method proposed did not resolve the primordial PD cog-
nitory problem, i.e. how many cavities there were involved, what their
distribution and location was, or provide definite information on their
Some utilities may require that a radio influence voltage (RI V) test
be performed. This pointedly expressed preference can he attributed to
their extensive interpretive experience accumulated with the RI V test,
since the date of its standardization in 1940 1155-1571. Historically, it
will be recalled that Quinn [9] concurrently published the first paper,
concerning'the use of the resonant circuit for PD detection in trans-
formers, which forms the basis for apparent charge measurements. The
apparent charge Qc (in pC) is a fundamental quantity that allows the
comparison of discharge intensities between different transformer spec-
imens, which cannot be accomplished using the RI V value in V that
constitutes a relative measure of voltage. In the RI V measurement the
RCL type detection impedance in the resonant circuit is substituted
with a 600 0 resistor and a radio noise meter tuned to a frequency
within the range of 0.85 to 1.15 MHz, is employed in lieu of an oscil-
loscope. The radio noise meter employs suitable weighting circuits to
provide an outpnt reading in V quasi-peak values. A transformer spec-
imen is considered to have failed the RI V test if the reading exceeds
100 V. The RI V reading in V is a complex function of the PD pulse mag-
nitude and repetition rate and, as a consequence, does not bear a simple
relationship to the measured PD pulse value in pC [158].
The relatively elevated values of 100 V or 500 pC for the permissi-
ble PD levels in power transformers are specified for dielectric liquid or
oil impregnated insulating systems, which well tolerate moderate dis-
charge levels. This is home out inpractice by oil-impregnated-paper
insulated cables and oillpaper transformer insulations that have given
decades of reliable uninterrupted service under operating conditions.
This situation differs appreciably for solid polymeric insulations such
as PE and epoxy (without fillers), which tend to degrade relatively
rapidly in the presence of PD. Epoxy insulated instrument and power
transformers have been manufactured since the late 1950s and great ef-
forts have been expended to ensure that epoxy transformers are free of
discharges and remain so during service. Thus, as in the case of solid
dielectric extruded cables, the PDinception voltage; PDI v, becomes the
acceptance or rejection criterion for epoxy transformers. Ideally a PD
detection sensitivity level of 5 pC, as in the case of polymeric cables, is
desirable, though a level between 10 and 20 pC is considered accept-
able for epoxy transformers 1159,1611. In an investigation carried out
on epoxy transformer coils, Borsi [161] has observed a very substantial
decrease of the PDI V value with temperature, which he has attributed
to changes in the permittivity with temperature and the development
of cracks in the solidified epoxy resin.
There are a considerable number of electrical test methods available
for PD site location that may be used on power transformer specimens.
However, while the proposed methods have a good theoretical basis
and have been proven to be effective when verified on model trans-
former specimens, one must nevertheless observe that there is a paucity
in data showing large scale usage of electrical PD site location meth-
ods in practice on actual transformers in the field. In part this reflects
the intricacy and complexity of the problem in actual transformers and
the associated interpretation difficulties. Perhaps the most widely used
electrical method for PD site location on three phase transformers in
the past has been based on the comparison of the PD pulse magnitude
measured at the terminals of the three respective windings [lll, 162,
1631. In the procedure, the first peak value of an oscillatory pulse at
each phase is recorded with a wide band oscilloscope; this peak value
of the PD pulse response is due to direct capacitive coupling while the
subsequent oscillatory portion of the remaining PD signal is associated
with the inductance of the winding. The peak voltage amplitude of the
PD pulse front is given by (1111
where AV,. represents the actual peak voltage of the discharge pulse,
C,7h is the shunt capacitance for each coil section of the transformer,
C,, denotes the series capacitance between the successive sections and
n, is the number of coil sections between the PD site location and the
phase terminal or bushing. The series equivalent inductance along the
winding, which appears in parallel with the series capacitance C,,, has
a negligible influence because of its much higher reactance. In the fore
going PD site location procedure, the terminal of the transformer, which
exhibits the highest detected PD pulse magnitude is assumed to be clos-
est to the discharge site or, in the case of a number of discharge sites,
to be nearest to the PD site having the highest pulse magnitudes. On
the assumption that transformer windings behave as uniform transmis-
sion lines over a given frequency spectrum, Harrold and Sletten [164,
1651have demonstrated that frequency spectra of PD pulses detected
at transformer terminals may be utilized to estimate PD site location
in windings. The current at the impedances of the HV bushing and
neutral terminal are measured in the frequency range extending from
150 kHz to 1.2 MHz and their ratio is plotted us. the percent winding
length with frequency as the parameter. The PD site is determined by
the point of intersection of the plot of the foregoing line and the per-
cent winding length axis. If there are several discharge sites involved,
782 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
then the method will locate the discharge site having the highest inten-
sity Another simple method, which has been developed by Ganger and
Vorwerk (1661 on Y-connected transformers and extended by Harrold
[167] to A-connected transformers, involves the manipulation of wind-
ing connections and the measurement of the PDI \J for each different
connection arrangement. The foregoing procedure provides a simple
means of expression the ratio of the distance to the fault to that of the
overall coil length as a function of the ratio of the PD inception voltages.
The only unknown quantity is then the distance to the fault, which can
be readily determined fromthe relationship. The procedure is simple
and has been used with considerable success in industry
Tangen [168] used a traveling pulse time-delay technique for the lo-
cation of PD sources in hansformers; the method was intended for trans-
former windings characterized by a low series capacitance that results
in low magnitude detected capacitively coupled PD signals compared
to the peak signal that arrives later at the coil terminal. The differ-
ence in the arrival times of the PDpulses recorded at the two opposite
ends of the transformer winding is employed to deduce the location
of the PD site. This traveling pulse time-delay approach was verified
by Theong [I691 and Haroldsen and Winberg [170], using artificial dis-
charge sources. Evidently, the method is compromised when multiple
discharge sites are involved.
James ef ni. [171,172] utilized a PD detector at each end the winding
in conjunction with a computerized data acquisition system to locate
discharge sites in transformers. Capacitively coupled frequency com-
ponents of the measured time resolved PD signals were extracted by
means of digital filtering and followed by further bandpass filtering
to ensure that the measuring range fell within the frequency spectrum
over which the transformer behaves as a capacitative ladder network.
Their measurement scheme was based on the so-called 'valid pulse pair'
(pulse separation time criterion) cumulative count as a function of the
peak voltage ratio of the pulse pairs. However, the PD sources were sim-
ulated in their reported work and no measurement data was reported
on practical units in service.
Figure 38. A schematic circuit arrangement for tuned PD measure-
ment on a transformer undergoing offline induced voltagetest, using
a portablepower supply (after Hassig et ni . [175]).
For the purpose of discharge site location in transformers, whether
in terms of the amplitudes or the separation times between the transmit-
ted PD pulses, the RCL equivalent circuits for the transformer wind-
ing configurations must be known in order to ascertain the PD pulse
transmission characteristics. This requires access to transformer design
data as well as to actual full size transformer test specimens, so that the
frequency regime of the capacitive ladder network can be established
and the pulse transmission behavior along the windings analyzed both
theoretically and experimentally. Fuhr ef nl. [173] approached close to
the foregoing objective in that their developed technique is capable of
effectively locating single PD sites in new transformers on which ac-
quired data, obtained by the injection of simulated PD pulses at various
points of the windings and measured at different terminals, is stored
for future comparative analysis either after commissioning or while in
service of the transformer unit.
The form of the transmitted PD pulses M'as found to be influenced
upon filling the actual transformer specimen with oil [173]. As iantic-
ipated, the magnitude of the capacitively coupled portion of the PD
signal and the resonant frequency of its oscillating component were in-
creased upon the addition of the oil filled tank and the HV bushings,
as the shunt and series capacitances (Csh and C,, in Equation (5)) in-
creased upon oil impregnation; the presence of the grounded tank wall
also augmented the parallel capacitance of the windings.
The calibration signal, to determine the response of the transformer's
winding had a rise time of 100 ns and rf current transformer-type PD
pulse sensors were located at the HV and Lv ends of bushings and the
neutral. The frequency response of the sensors, which was within the
range of 10 kHz to 100 MHz, was beyond the frequency content of the
100 ns excitation pulse rise time. The choice of the upper frequency
range of the sensors is puzzling in that it encompasses the frequency
regime over which resonance peaks are known to occur. The schematic
circuit diagram of the experimental test arrangement is portrayed in
Figure 37. A time-encoded signal processing and recognition (TESPAR)
system is used in conjunction with a digital oscilloscope. The simu-
lated PD signals are injected at the top, center and bottom and of each
winding to which the pulse response of the insulating systemis mea-
sured at the bushing and a reference pattern matrix is composed by the
TESPAR system. Similar data banks can be composed on specific trans-
former designs, whereby PD site location tests can then be carried out
on transformers of the same construction installed in servibe.
The work of Fuhr et 01. [173] was further extended as reported more
recently in [174,175], where the authors employed a portable discharge-
free power supply to performoff-line PD tests on in-service large power
transformers. This isolated the transformer specimens from the remain-
der of the HV system, thereby eliminating extraneous conductive inter-
ference transmitted via the connections and thus permitted PD tests at
higher sensitivity (c50 pC). The type of Pwfault inferred and its loca-
tion in terms of the. test data appeared to agree acceptably well with
what was eventually found during the repairs of the large power trans-
former. For these tests the authors [174,175] employed again rf current
transformer sensors, and again made use of bushing taps as coupling
capacitors. To improve on the signal-to-noise ratio, they carried out
tuned the PD measurements within the range of 200 kHz to 5 MHz, us-
ing a spectrum analyzer. However, they do not allude as to how the
question of inter-tum and interwinding resonance disturbances were
dealt with, other than observing that above 1 MHz, large differences in
sensitivity were manifest. For subsequent PD pulse-height/phase dis-
tribution measurements a variation of the usual conventional approach
described in [I761 was used. The schematic circuit diagram is depicted
in Figure 38.
At this juncture, it is perhaps appropriate to make an important
aside, concerning tuned measurements. In 1976 Bartnikas and Morin
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October2002 783
11771made use of spectrum analyzers in I' D measurements on power
distribution cables; however, it is only recently that the use of spec-
trum analyzers has gained popularity in PD related measurements. The
principle of tuned PD measurements and spectrum analysis is as old as
the radio noise meter itself [SI, since the latter as well as the spectrum
analyzer are essentially tunable band pass filters; while the radio noise
meter uses weighting circuits and provides a quasi-peak reading out-
put, the output froma spectrum analyzer gives the energy content of the
signal at various measuring frequencies. Hence, when utilized in the
tunable filter mode, the spectrum analyzer will reject much useful in-
formation on the characteristics of the PD pulse and may, therefore, also
lead to some calibration difficulties inherent with the accurate record-
ing of the PD pulse magnitude and its relation to the charge transfer.
A convenient method to determine whether a transformer has devel-
oped or undergoes PD under operating conditions in the field consists
in the use of Rogowski coils, which can be readily placed over HV bush-
ings as described by Borsi [178]. If the presence of PD is established and
it is deemed necessary to locate the PD sites, then one has the choice
of using either the electrical or acoustical PD site location techniques.
However, in practical terms, unless the electrical PD site location proce-
dure is well proven with an extensive and unambiguous data bank, the
acoustical techniques are in general more effective and more simple to
It is to be noted that the acoustical PD site location techniques have
already an accumulated history of usage spanning over a period of ap-
proximately five decades: they were developed in the 1950s and were
first applied to transformers by Anderson [179]. Compared to a gas me-
dium, much less acoustical attenuation occurs in a liquid medium; in
an oil-filled transformer, the amount of discharge energy converted to
acoustical energy is approximately greater by one order of magnitude
[116]. An acoustical triangulation method, devised by Anderson [176],
employed three acoustical sensors, which were installed by trial and
error at three different locations on the tank of the transformer. The
arrival of the first acoustical pulse at one of the sensors was utilized to
trigger an oscilloscope, whereby the pulse arrival times fromthe two
remaining acoustical transducers could be compared thereby permit-
ting an estimate to be made of the position of the PD site. Once again
it must be emphasized that this procedure is only effective in the pres-
ence of a single discharge or a number of discharge sites in which the
intensity of one discharge site is predominant. Allan et 01. [180] devel-
oped an alternative simpler test procedure, involvinr the use of only
two transducers, which are positioned in a line of points along a trans-
former tank. The position of the sensor, which receives the acoustical
signal first is considered to be closest to the discharge fault. Frequently,
it is expedient to use both electrical and'acoustical PD detection simul-
taneously, whereby the acoustical sensors response can be triggered by
means of the electrically detected PD pulse [MI]; also computer aided
procedures may be helpful in conjunction with acoustical PD site locat-
ing measurement techniques [182].
Under elevated ambient noise conditions, Bengtsson et 01. [183] used
signal processing procedures to ameliorate the signal to noise ratio.
Ultrasound techniques intended for in service transformer tests must
be capable of functioning in the vicinity of overhead HV transmission
lines and within substations, which are characterized by high levels
of Barkhansen (magnetostriction) noise [116]. Since the frequencies of
Barkhansen noise are usually centered at, or in the proximity of, 40 Mz,
acoustical PD detection is ordinarily carried out at substantially more
elevated ultrasouud frequencies. In order to evade Barkhansen noise
generation, Train et ai. [lE4] utilized an ultrasonic transducer with an
upper frequency of 200 kHz, whose output was applied to a 10 kHz high
pass filter intandemwith an oscilloscope, while Howells and Norton
-[I851 chose to utilize an ultrasound transducer, operating withm the
frequency regime of 100 to 150 kHz.
It is to be emphasized that the intensity of the acoustical signal re-
ceived by an acoustical detector mounted on the surface of a trans-
former tank is principally determined by the magnitude of the PD pulse
at the discharge site and the acoustical wave attenuation characteris-
tics of the windings and theremaining structure of the transformer.
In the field of acoustical PD detection, the unit of sensitivity is com-
monly expressed in pC/mV; for transformers it is usually of the order
of 70 pC/mV of the measured ultrasound signal. The level of sensitivity
is augmented and the influence of extraneous acoustic noise mitigated
if the specimen transformer tank with the attached transducer are sub-
merged in an oil bath; this decreases very substantially the reflections
of the acoustical waves at the interface between the enclosure tank and
the transducer, resulting in an improved transmission of the acousti-
cal signal. However, acoustical PD detection sensitivity is very greatly
reduced for the case when PD sites are located deep within the inner
sections of the transformer windings.
Figure 39. Typical PD behavior over a thermal-load cycleof model
stator bars subjected to twice thephase-to-ground voltage(16 kV rms)
at rated threephasecurent and aconductor temperatureof 122C. (a)
variation of maximumPD chargetransfer and (b) variation of average
PD current us. time(after Morinet 01. [187]).
Theuse of inorganic mica flakes in epoxy resin impregnated sta-
tor bar insulation, imparts substantial resistance to PD to the insulating
systems of large power turbo and hydro generators. While it is difficult
to eliminate entirely discharges in the insulation systems of HV stators,
past experience shows that stators can operate for extended periods
of t i e in the presence of PD of relatively elevated intensity as com-
pared to other electrical apparatus. As a consequence, the approach to
PD measurement on stators differs considerably fromthat of other HV
equipment in that the emphasis is more on ascertaining the discharge
intensity and PD site location in terms of the density and configura-
tion of PD pulse distribution patterns. This is in contradistinction to
784 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
Ntimber of load cycles
Figure 40. Maximumchargetransfer AQm us. thenumber of ther-
mal load cycles of a threephasemodel stator at rated current (1620A)
and twicetherated phase-to-ground voltage(16 kV rms) with a max-
imumconductor temperatureof 122C (after Morin el al . [187]).
Number of load cycles
Fi gure 41. Averagevalueof PD current us. thenumber of thermal
load cycles of a threephasemodel stator at rated current (1620 A) and
twice therated phase-to-ground voltage(16 kV rms) with a maximum
conductor temperature of 122T (after Marin el al. 11R71)
the mimosa-like susceptibility of polymeric cables to PD, where con-
ventional wisdom does not tolerate any presence of PD under operating
conditions. As has been alluded to previously, this applies also to a
somewhat lesser extent to solid type epoxy clad transformers 1159,178,
1861. PD in the stator of a rotating machine may occur within the insu-
lation system of the stator bars themselves, end windings the bar ends
at their exit points fromthe slot sections of the laminated stator core
'and at areas of the bars within the slots themselves where the semi-
conducting paint over the bar's insulation becomes eroded due to PD
beneath the semiconducting paint itself, or abraded mechanically due
to the vibration of loosened bars induced by the electromagnetic forces.
may attain magnitudes in the order of - 10' to lo3 pC at the oper-
ating voltage, the external discharges at the coil ends, core exits points
and within the" eroded and mechanically abraded semiconducting
paint regions may reach charge transfer magnitudes to lo5 pC or even
higher in.extreme cases. It should he noted also that corona and surface
discharge at the end windings of the stator also attain similar levels of
discharge magnitude. Thus, generally the most severe degradation of
the stator bars results on the outer portions of the bars, where the dis-
charge intensities are substantially more elevated. Notwithstanding,
While the discharges within the insulation of the bars themselves I
the intense discharge activity, the resilience of the bars to dischar e in
pulse intensity data given in Figures 39,40 and 41 obtained on 13.8 kV
rated micapaper epoxy impregnated stator bars aged under acceler-
ated multi-stress conditions in a model stator under three phase rated
current at twice the rated phase to ground voltage [187]. The bar speci-
mens were load cycled between zero and a full load current of 16211A;
Figure 39depicts the variation over a typical load cycle of the maximum
measured charge transfer in pC and the average value of the total PD
current in A. Note that the average PD current is equal to the area under
the PD pulse discharge rate us. charge transfer distribution curve deter-
mined over a 1 s time interval. Very intense discharge activity is seen to
develop with rising temperature; however, it decreases rapidly as the
temperature commences to fall when the load current is interrupted.
Figures 40 and 41illustrate the variation of the maximum charge
transfer and average discharge current recorded ov~r each load cycle
as a function of the number of load cycles. Both quantities continue in-
creasing with the number of load cycles as the PD induced deterioration
rate of the insulation increases when subjected to twice its rated exter-
nal stress under severe thermo-mechanical load cycle conditions. The
depression in the rate of rise of the discharge intensity in the proximity
of 1200 load cycles is likely caused by the appearance of pseudoglow
and true glow (pulseless) discharges, which the PD detection system is
incapable of sensing 15,511. The fact that even after 1500 load cycles
none of the bars in the model stator failed, notwithstanding evidence of
extensive deterioration observed on the surface of the bars while sub-
jected to PD pulses having associated charge transfer levels as high as
lZOx103 pC, is indicative of the discharge resistance of the mica pa-
per component to PD despite the high susceptibility of the solidifying
epoxy impregnant to PD deterioration. The result also accounts for the
reasons as to why rotating machines are frequently observed to operate
for decades in the presence of PD.
duced degradation is most remarkable as can he deduced fromt a - e PD
Fi gure 42. Early PD detection systemfor on-linetests onagenerator
(after J ohnson and Waren11891).
There are a number of PD detection methods that can be used on ro-
tating machines. A compendium of some of these methods is given in
[188]. The early pioneering work on PD detection in rotating machines
was done by J ohnson and Waren 11891, who detected the PD pulses
across the neutral resistor of a generator while in operation as shown
in Figure 42. For off-line measurements J ohnson [I901 employed the
standard PD detection technique with a large discharge-free coupling
capacitor connected sequentially on each phase and a separate power
supply to energize the phases. He was also the first to comment on
the importance and practical significance of slot discharges 11911. Later
Emery et nl . 1192,1931 and Timperly 11941used the same approach as
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation VOI. 9 No. 5, October2002 785
to PHA and computorized
da6 acquisition system
Figure 43. Balanced permanent coupler connections for a water
wheel generator (after Bromley and McDermid12031).
Figure 44. Directionally connected coupler arrangement in a ther
mal generator (after Campbell et nl . [204]).
J ohnson and Waren [186], but in lieu of a detection resistance, they em-
ployed an rf current transformer sensor between the neutral of the gen-
erator and the grounding transformer, and substituted the oscilloscope
detector with a radio noise meter. The radio noise meter was tuned
to frequencies between 20and 50MHz to eliminate the interference
fromextraneous noise sources. Kurtz 11951modified the off-line test
procedure described by Johnson [190] by replacing the large couplmg
capacitance by an appreciably smaller one of N 80 pF and using a resis-
tive detection impedance, which permitted on-line PD measurements
on each phase. However, in order to further ameliorate the signal-to-
noise ratio and obviate the detection problems with the long oscillatory
PD pulses, a series of changes, were introduced into the measurement
circuitry first by Kurtz cf 01. 1196,1971 and subsequently by Stone et al.
[198-2@21, who utilized delay lines in conjunction with a balanced PD
measurement scheme as portrayed in Figure 43. Here the 80 pF coupler,
terminated in 50 R, is installed differentially with one coupler per line
end of two parallel circuits per phase. The coupler pairs, C1 and C2,
with the respective bus bar length and coaxial limes are matched in their
equivalent electrical length at the input of a differential amplifier, such
that the electrical length z +(y/0.65) =T +s/0.65, where 0.65
refers to the reduced velocity of propagation in the PE coaxial cables as
kcompared to that of free space. The incident interference pulses arriv-
ing fromthe machine with equal times of travel are thus canceled in
the differential amplification mode. A PDpulse-height analyzer and a
computerized acquisition systemin tandem with the differential ampli-
fier provides PD pulse-height and discharge epoch (phase) distribution
plots, which when compared with a PD data bank, are used to assess
the PD intensity level as well as predict possible causes for the observed
discharges and monitor their degradative effects. PD pulse phase or
discharge epoch analysis capability is of particular importance in ro-
tating machines as concerns the interpretation of discharge patterns.
It permits to determine whether the recorded PD pulse activity is as-
sociated with the phase under measurement or if it is coupled from
the other two phases, as for example whether it originates fromdis-
charges between coils of two different phases at the coil ends. If the
PD measurement is carried out in phase A, then the discharge patterns
emanating fromphase A will be characterized by pulses, which cen-
ter around the voltage zeros i.e. at 0 and 180" of the ascending and
descending portions of the sinusoidal wave of the applied voltage. In
the three phase connection, phase B and phase C will be 120 and 240"
out of phase respectively with phase A and, consequently, the PD pulse
patterns in phases B and C will be displaced by the same amounts with
respect to the PDpulse pattern of phase A, thereby permitting to ascer-
tain whether or not discharges are taking place between the phases at
the coil ends of the machine. The PD detection system of Stone ef al.
[198-202] is a high frequency system, which operates at a bandwidth of
40 to 150 MHz, so that it is not practically feasible to calibrate.its output
in terms of pC; its readings are thus relative and are recorded in mV.
However, here it should be observed that relative PDreadings in mV
can be used to compare the PD intensities in rotating machines of simi-
lar design. They can also be used effectively to monitor the PD intensity
in the same machine in order to observe whether there are any signifi-
cant changes in the PD activity due to insulation aging. However, there
is no fundamental basis from the measurement point of view to permit
to assess the level of PD activity in terms of relative units (mv), when
a comparison is attempted between two machines of entirely different
design and construction; for this purpose pC units must be employed.
The capacitive couplers also may be connected directionally with
one coupler per phase at the line terminal and another at least 2 m dis-
placed on the isolated phase bus. In this arrangement, noise rejection
is achieved in terms of the time of arrival of the pulse signals from
the two couplers. Figure 44 illustrates the directional coupler arrange-
ment, which is used primarily on thermal generators and synchronous
condensers [204]. With directionally connected couplers a detection
bandwidth of 40 to 350MHz is employed, requiring microprocessor
controlled pulse-height analyzer circuitry described elsewhere [13,206]
having signal resolution capability of 3 f i s .
In the case of wide band detection systems, the lower frequency end
786 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
0 IM) 200 300 4w 500 m 700
PD pulse magnitude (mV)
1 800 900
Fi gure 45. I'D behavior of a 333MVA pump storagegenerator at 34
and 51T, and approximately thesameload. Positivepulses x, nega-
tive pulses 0 (after Lloydet 01. [ZOl]).
PD pulse magnitude (mV)
Fi gure 46. No load hot and hull load hot PD pulse-height distribution
characteristics for a 350 MVA pump storagegenerator. Positivepulses
x, negativepulses 0 (after Lloydet 01. [201]).
of the bandwidth is in some respects more important than the upper
end. Not all pulses at the receiving end have rapid rise times, since the
latter are degraded to varying degrees as they are transmitted along the
windings, which, as cable specimens, due to the use of semiconducting
materials for conductor and ground shielding, behave as lossy trans-
mission lines. Also even at the discharge site itself, the rise time of the
pulses and their amplitude vary with the overvoltage appearing across
the cavity whose magnitude is determined by the statistical time lag,
i.e. the time required for a free electron to appear and initiate the dis-
charge. This effect is readily observed with PD pulse pattems of simple
cavity cells: magnitudes of the individual pulses are seen to very as pre-
cession of discharge epochs takes place i.e., individual discharge pulse
positions do not remain fixed with respect to the sinusoidal applied
A local area network (LAN), either of the ethernet or token ring archi-
tecture, commonly is used in laboratories as a high capacity data trans-
mission mediumto permit the monitoring of automated experiments
from officesites [95]. A WAN allows LAN interconnection in different
city locations, so that laboratory tests may be monitored fromanother
city location. Lloyd et nl . [201] have utilized the foregoing arrangement
of an ethemet LAN in conjunction with a WAN to monitor the PD activ-
ity in generators and machines in remote power stations to determine
how the PD behavior changes with temperature and load current. Fig-
ure 45 shows that a rapid change in temperature at a given load exerts
only a small influence on the PD behavior of a pump storage generator,
while a pronounced load dependence is exhibited in Figure 46, which
is obtained on another storage generator. The temperdture in these tests
was approximately the same under full and no load conditions; the load
dependence is believed to have arisen frombar looseness inthe slots.
A stator slot-type coupler has been developed by Sedding et 01.
[207) specifically for PD measwements on turbine generators in most
of wluch there is no circuit-ring bus for half of the winding parallels to
permit installation of couplers for effective elimination of noise. Noise
generation in turbogenerators arises fromshaft~grounding and slip-ring
brushes, charging and discharging of the isolated phase bus (connecting
the generator to the step-up transformer), PD interference and extrane-
ous noise fromthe overall power system and other related noise in the
power station (e.8. precipitators, welders etc.) all of which have signal
intensities far in excess of the PD pulse levels that originate from the
turbogenerator itself. The stator slot coupler behaves essentially as an
antenna and is based on the directional coupler design principles de-
scribed by Oliver [208]. Its configuration is rather simple and consists
of a ground plane and sense line with 50 Q coaxial cables at each end
that provide an output, which is proportional to the PD pulse excitation
in the proximity of the sense line. The direction of the PDsource is
determined by the dual-port of the coupler and the associated instru-
mentation. The coupler is a high frequency device p150 MHr) so that
the detected PD pulses will be those having sufficient high frequency
contact. Since the rise time of these pulses deteriorates rapidly as they
propagate along the windings, the coupler will respond to pulses orig-
inating in its vicinity and will thus be relatively immune to distant
generated noise signals; the high intensity noise signals that succeed
in reaching the coupler can be readily discriminated in terms o( their
distorted pulse shape. Hence, the preferred installation site for the sta-
tor slot couplers are bars, which are subject to high electrical stresses,
namely those at the line end of each parallel winding. Accordingly, the
couplers are placed in the stator slot beneath the wedges.
PD detection on rotating machines is also performed with capacitive
couplers connected directly to the.terminals of the machine. There are
some variations in the techniques used inso far as the bandwidth, type
of couplers, signal processing methods, noise rejection and data acqui-
sition systems are concemed. Bandwidths used generally range from
300 kHz up to 20 MHz and the measurement systems are calibrated in
pC. The preferred couplers are capacitive, but occasionally Rogowski
coils are employed. The latter are large, non-ferrite coils of substan-
tial diameter, which limits their bandwidth to the ICHz range. They are
more popular as on line PD sensors on transformer bushings than on
machine terminals where they are more cumbersome to mount.
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2002
The purpose of discharge-free capacitive couplers is to act as power
frequency separation filters in conjunction with the series connected
detection impedance ;. e. , the coupling capacitors act as shorts to the
higher frequency PD currents and present a high impedance to the
50/60 Hz sinusoidal voltage at the terminals of the machine [ 5] . The
PD detection sensitivity increases with the value of the coupling capac-
itance; however, the high capacitance couplers are normally confined
to lower bandwidth PDdetection systems. Thus, while a value of 80 pF
is used with detection systems having bandwidths in the range of 40 to
350MHz, higher capacitance couplers 6 I 000 pF are preferred at lower
detection frequencies.
Figure 47. PD recording systemfor measurement at terminals ofra-
tating machine(after Fruth and Gross [209,2121).
A PD diagnostic systemfor on-line measurement, utilizing couplers
in the range from100 to 1000 pF in series with an RCL type detection
impedance for operation either within the frequency band extending
from2 to 20 MHz or 100 to 800 kHz is described by Fruth et nl . [209-
2161. Their arrangement differs fromothers utilizing FD pulse phase
resolved measurements only in so far as use is made of what in their
nomenclature are named 'narrow band or 'wide band' signal condi-
tioning units [216]. The narrow band signal conditioning unit reduces
the frequency content of the incoming PD signals, using conventional
heterodyne circuitry with a local oscillator analogous to that utilized in
a scanning rf probe technique for location of PD sites in cables by Morin
et ni. [I071 (Figure 22). This type of demodulation operation is readily
performed by a spectrum analyzer, which is frequently employed for
such purposes. The wide band conditioning unit omits the local oscilla-
tor, because the frequency multiplication function is performed by mul-
tiplying the PD signal by itself, i.e. multiplication of two PD pulses in
the time domain corresponds to a convolution in the frequency domain.
Unfortunately, Fruth and Gross [216] do not provide any performance
comparisons between the two types of conditioning units or any details
on the shapes of the PD pulses at their outputs. Some signal integration
effects are evident in their recorded pulse-phase plots in [209], which
show simultaneous occurrences of both positive and negative pulses
over the same quadrants. These could be caused by overlapping of long
oscillatory PD signals; however, the authors appear to be aware of this
problembecause they refer to permissible sensitivity offset levels below
which the recorded signals should be discarded.
The conditioning units, wzhichin addition to frequency multiplier
circuitry also include band-pass filters both at their input and output,
are connected directly across the detection impedance Z,, placed in
series with the coupling capacitance C, as delineated in Figure 47. The
detection impedance 2, consists ofa RCL type circuit or for isolation
purposes an rf current transformer having the necessary characteris-
tics. The output from the signal conditioning units is applied to a PD
pulse-phase resolved pattern recording and data acquisition system.
Limited FD pattern recognition is carried out with numerical treatment
of the data; however, complex PDdischarge patterns, as to be expected,
still require interpretation of an experienced observe. For remote con-
trol and access to data, a token ring type [95] LAN system is utilized.
The acquired phase resolved test data indicates that the system, when
operated in the bandwidth between 100 and 800 kHz, is subject to inter-
ference originating with thyristors and brush sparking; however, with
the 2 to 20 MHz bandwidth system, these extraneous disturbances are
readily eliminated.
It should be borne in mind that when PD measurements are carried
out using wide band and narrow band PD detectors on rotating ma-
chines, the measured PDsignal response will not only depend upon the
bandwidth of the detector but also on the type of machine specimen
under test. PD signal propagation in machines is almost as complex
as in transformers, the latter specimens having the additional compli-
cation of pronounced resonance effects not only between phase coils
but also between the numerous t ums within each coil. As in the case
of a transformer, the pulse transmission takes place over a complex
LC network, which in the case of a rotating machine is determined
by the nature of the winding ( e. g. single turn Roebel bar or multi-turn
coil design), end arm configuration, ring bus layout and the length of
the stator core. The wide band PD detection systemresponds well to
the fast rise time of the PD pulse front, which is rapidly transmitted
along the capacitive ladder network of the machine windings (as is sim-
ilarly also the case in transformers). The detected pulse still undergoes
rise time degradation and attenuation, because the capacitive ladder
network does not consist only of ideal incremental capacitances: the
capacitors are shunted by incremental resistances that represent finite
dielectric losses of the overall insulating system. The slower portion of
the PD pulse waveform, which is of an oscillatory character, is transmit-
ted along the idealized LG transmission line network of the machine
coils. It is this signal, which is detected using lower frequency band
PDdetectors; the exponentially decaying oscillatory PDpulse, if prop-
erty processed to reduce signal integration effects due to overlapping
of adjacent long oscillatory signals, can be used to achieve apparent
charge calibration, albeit of a very rudimentary formbecause of the in-
ductive component of the specimen. The wide bandwidth permanent
capacitive coupler FDA systemdescribed by Stone ef nl. [200-202] is not
readily amenable to standard apparent charge calibration procedures
and the measurements are, therefore, recorded in the relative units of
mV However, it has a decided advantage in that it operates at very
high frequencies: the permanent couplers detect only PDsignals origi-
nating principally in close proximity on the HV end bars, whereas the
noise signals, which enter the winding systemat sites further away,
are proportionately more attenuated and, therefore, substantially less
A remark of caution should be made here in regard to the use of
the narrow bandwidth conditioning units using the heterodyne prin-
ciple frequency conversion procedure or tunable frequency spectrum
analyzers, whereby a PD signal of center frequency fo and bandwidth
6f is transformed into a low pass signal of an upper frequency f [212].
788 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
Figure 48. On-line10 kHz to 10 MHz PD pulsemeasurement system
for diagnostic analysis on turbine generators (after Griinewald and
Weidner [219]).
Since the frequency content of a PD pulse diminishes as it propagates
along the windings of the machine fromits site of origin, its center fre-
quency is altered so that the PD pulse-height distribution patterns ofthe
demodulated signals detected at their altered center frequency are also
changed. In the presence of numerous distributed discharge sites, the
entire frequency spectrum must be considered with frequency peaks at
the various values of of giving rise to a different pulse-height distri-
butions requiring separate calibrations. For this reason wideband PD
signal conditioning units are preferable [209,212].
In transformers, resonance effects between coils and turns within
the coils appear to have been remedied effectively. It has been found
by Vaillancourt ef al. [142j that resonance phenomena in transformers
predominate at frequencies above 250 H z . I EEE standard C57.113-1991
was altered accordingly to require PD measurements on transformers
and reactors to be performed with PD detectors having bandwidths
- 200 kHz but not less than 100 kHz, with all measurements reported
inapparent charge units. In comparison to transformers there does
not appear that much attention has been given to resonance effects in
machines, though considerable work has been reported at lower fre-
quencies with measurement data expressed in apparent charge units.
However, in such circumstances great care must be exercised to re-
move the oscillatory portion of the detected PD signal through suitable
signal processing or conditioning techniques inorder obviate pulse su-
perposition and integration errors and improve on the pulse resolution
characteristics which are typically poor at low bandwidths.
Low bandwidth detection of PD on machines is common with on
line tests and prevalent with off-line tests. On-line low bandwidth tests
<800 !dlz with pulse height and phase resolved capability have been
reported by Fruth.and Gross [2091. Wilson 12171investigated slot dis-
charge induced degradation in stator windings, utilizing a PD detector
bandwidth of 300ldlz. His I' D coupling technique used was interest-
ing in that it consisted of a discharge-free cable with a short under the
grounded sheath portion at the end of the cable, which was connected
directly to the HV terminal at the generator. A clamp-on rf current
transformer of the ungrounded sheath portion served as a detection
impedance, with the remainder on the grounded cable constituting the
coupling capacitance. An oscilloscope constituted the display device;
evidently, such an arrangement was highly susceptible both to internal
and external noise.
Another systemfunctioning between 10ldlz and 10 MHz in which
noise rejection is achieved in terms of the arrival time of PD and noise
originated pulses, that has been extensively applied to turbogenerators,
is described by Wichmann et nl. [218,219]. Surge caparitors replace the
usual coupling capacitors and the PD signals are detected across high
frequency resistive impedances Zd; PD detection is also carried across
the resistor at the neutral end as indicated schematically in Figure 48,
whereby the PD intensity inthe overall generator may be measured in
addition to that on each phase at the three external terminals of the
generator. Also, a I'D pulse sensor is located at the shaft grounding
brush. A frequency spectrum analyzer, is employed to determine the
frequencies of extraneous noise and internally generated interference.
PD pulse measurements may be carried out by adapting PD sensors
to sensing devices already installed in rotating machines for other types
of measurements. An interesting variation of PD detection in rotating
machines involves the use of rf current sensors on leads of resistive
temperature detectors (RTD), with sensors for noise gating situated at
various noise sites [220]. The sensors operate over the frequency range
extending from 5 to 60 MHz and a narrow band data acquisition system
is employed for phase resolved PD pulse height analysis.
Off-line tests on rotating machines are normally carried out dur-
ing general maintenance periods over which it is possible to examine
machine windings for possible discharge induced degradation and de-
termine whether replacement of any aged bars is warranted. The HV
stators of the machines are tested with the rotors removed; usually
portable 50/60 Hz power supplies are employed for this purpose, al-
though tests may also be performed at 0.1 Hz 1221,2221. Off-line tests
permit isolation of the specimen machine fromextraneous noise as well
as internally generated interference during operation (e.g, excitor inter-
ference). Off-line PD tests are commonly carried out with conventional
300 ldlz narrow band detectors, calibrated in apparent charge units in
accordance with ASTM Method D1868 1111and I EC Specification 60270
[223], using the I EEE Standard 1434-2000 [188] recommended calibra-
tion pulse rise time of 6 60 ns.
Figure 49. Schematic circuit diagramof off-linePD measurement
system with oneof the phases of a machineundergoing test.
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2002 789
A schematic circuit diagram for off-line PD tests is delineated in
Figure 49. Each phase under test is shorted and measured individu-
ally with the two other shorted phases connected to ground; hence, the
insulating systems of the phase under test are voltage stressed with re-
spect to the grounded stator core and to the other two grounded phases. -
However, unlike in the case of on-line tests where the machine coils are
subjected to a gradation of voltages fromthe maximumvoltage at the
phase terminal to zero across the coil at the neutral, all the bars of the
coils of the phase under test in the off-line test are subjected to the same
value of the applied voltage. Though some bars are highly overstressed,
they experience only a single stress (eleckical), while in the on-line test
thermal and electromagnetically induced mechanical stresses are super-
imposed on the operating electrical stress. Consequently, the absence
of thermal expansion and contraction forces as well as electromagnetic
vibration forces in the off-line test does not result in a realistic dynamic
condition within the slots of the stator: the bars in the slots are now star
tionary and do not undergo any longitudinal movement or vertical and
lateral vibration within the slots. Thus, the only possible slot air gaps,
that may exist where PD may arise with off-line tests, are those which
remained in the slots after the load was removed and the machine was
allowed to cool.
Returning to Figure 49, the shown frequency spectrum analyzer is
principally used to determine whether any resonance peaks are man-
ifest in coils of the same phase or between phases. If the frequencies
of the resonance peaks fall within the bandwidth of the PD measuring
circuitry, then in order to avert calibration difficulties and spurious re-
sults in the test data, suitable stop-band filters must be employed or the
detection bandwidth must be altered to exclude the resonance regimes.
Off-line tests permit some measurements, which cannot be performed
under on-line conditions, such as the determination of the PDI V and
PDEV values. Also other important measurements, as for example, plots
of the maximumdetectable apparent charge transfer AQ,, and the
average PD current, I,,, equal to the area under the discharge rate os.
charge transfer curve, as a function of voltage may be helpful in ascer-
taining the degree of aging [187], particularly i f such data i s available
fromthe time when the machine was first commissioned. In addition, a
measurement of the quadratic rate, defined as the sum of the squares of
the individual charge transfers of the discrete pulses over a given time
interval divided by that time interval, may be required. Some utilities
have used this measure as a quality control index and have much accu-
mulated equipment life data classified in terms of this index [224-226].
The off-line measurements also include I' D pulse-height and pulse
discharge epoch (phase) distributions. The later will differ fromthose
carried out during on-limetests because the vibration effects as well
as the contraction and expansion (present during load cycles) are ab-
sent during the off-line tests. This will particularly affect the recorded
distributions during the on-line tests as concerns phase to phase dis-
charges at the ends, which are 120' apart with respect to each phase.
The off-line tests and physical examination of the bars will also senre as
a means of either substantiating or disproving of what may have been
inferred, conceming the PD induced aging rate or the nature of the PD
laults, by various experimental expert systems in terms of the on-line
test data.
Cavities occluded with the insulating systems of the stator bars will
be characterized by discharge patterns which tend to center around the
voltage zeros i.e., at 0, 180, 360" in phase relationship to the applied
voltage wave. This is supported by theoretical considerations, because
the cavities breakdown at integer values of the breakdown voltage at
'discharge epochs along the ascending and descending portions of the
sinusoidal wave [5,34]. As we have seen from our previous discussions
precession of discharge epochs will occur due to the statistical time lag
i.e., a given PD pulse will not occur always at the same discharge epoch;
this mechanismcauses a displacement of discharge epochs of all the
subsequent discharges, which in addition are also governed by their
own statistical time lags (the times required for a free electron to ap-
pear in order to initiate the discharge). The presence of a statistical time
lag also implies that a given cavity will not necessarily always break-
down or "fie" as soon as the voltage reaches its breakdown value, but
will breakdown at a voltage equal or higher than its actual breakdown
voltage. It was demonstrably shown that the rise time of the PD pulse
decreases and the magnitude of the charge transfer increases with the
amount of overvoltage across the gap 1801. As a consequence, the PD
pulse patterns are characterized by an inherent instability: constant
movement or precession discharge pulses of varying amplitude on the
phase angle scale with respect to the applied sinusoidal voltage waJ e.
Ttis thus palpably evident that irrespective of the sampling rate of the
digital circuitry of the oscilloscope, no two PD pulse patterns even if
taken in rapid succession can ever be exactly identical because their
difference is intrinsic to the statistically induced anomalous behavior
of discharge process per se.
If one of the dielectric surfaces in the cavity is replaced by a metallic
surface such as that of the conductor in the interior of the bar or the
stator ion core adjacent to a ground wall with its semiconducting layer
abraded, the discharge pattern will tend be asymmetrical because the
number pulses in the two polarities as well as their magnitude will dif-
fer. Nevertheless, the patterns will still center at or in the vicinity of
the voltage zeros. The magnitude of the discharges in the slo!s at the
ground wall will be substantially greater than those within the insu-
lation of the bar itself, because they necessirily involve larger cavities
both in terms of thickness as well as lateral width adjacent to the sta-
tor iron core, where the semiconducting layer enveloping the bars has
been abraded initially through either mechanical vibration due to elec-
tromagnetically induced forces or discharge induced erosion beneath
the semiconducting layer.
Two other common sonrces of PDare associated with the end wind-
ings of the machine and in the vicinity of the exits points of the bar from
the slots. These discharges, which are either of the surface tracking type
or surface corona between adjacent phase bars, may have magnitudes
that may exceed even those of slot discharges. During off-line tests with
the rotor removed, the end windings become readily accessible so that
parabolic sensors may be used to locate end winding discharges, which
are usually audible at operating voltages. However, a more effective
technique involves the use of the so-called corona scope, which is es-
sentially an ultraviolet (UV) radiation detector. It is relatively simple to
operate, because the emitted uv radiation is converted to visible light
so that the surface discharge at the end windings can be readily pin
pointed from a safe distance away fromthe energized stator winding.
Location of intense slot discharge sites is commonly accomplished
Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
the sinusoidal wave. However, in comparison to the rotor amounted
antenna system for on-line location of PD discharges in individual stalor
bars [231], the interpretation difficulties associated with the inductive
rf probe for off-line tests are relatively minimal.
Fi gure 50. Schematic diagramof inductiveprobefor PD site location
ingenerator stators (after Dakinel ni . 12271).
- -
Fi gure 51. Circuit for thebridgeparallelogrammethod for the com-
bined measurement of pulseand pulseless PD (after ASTM D3382 1691).
by means of rf inductive probe sensors based on a design developed
by Dakin et d.[lll, 2271and extensively used by others [228-230]. The
inductively coupled probe is portrayed schematically in Figure 50 and
consists of a semicircular ferrite core around which is wound a small
winding; the ferrite core coil is connected via a coaxial cable to a quasi-
peak reading rf meter or an oscilloscope. The ferrite core coil in conjunc.
tion n'ith the capacitance of the coaxial cable constitutes a hmed circuit,
normally adjusted for a frequency of 5 MHz, thoughother frequencies
have been used to optimize performance for particular machine appli-
cations. The ferrite core coil, which is mounted on an insulating rod,
must be moved along the entire length of each slot within an energized
stator, which poses a serious safety hazard for operating personnel. A
careful PD site locating procedure requires compilation of a detailed PD
intensity map of the entire stator winding. The interpretation of the
data is not a trivial matter, since signal coupling between adjacent bars
is involved and the inductive probe does not distinguish between in-
ternal PD and those in the slot, though slot discharges tend to he of an
appreciably greater intensity. The PD patterns involving slot discharges
tend to be dominated by large positive polarity pulse discharges, which
occur over the descending portion of the applied sinusoidal voltage
wave as opposed to internal discharges, which, if they take place adja-
'cent to the stranded conductor surface. are of a much lower intensitv
Fi gure 52. Idealized parallelogramtraceof thebridgecircuit (after
ASTM 03382 1691).
If it is desired to ascertain the discharge intensity in toto, i.e. take into
account the occurrence of all three forms of PD, namely pseudoglows,
true pulseless glow and pulse type, then bridge measurement tech-
niques must be employed in lieu of the PD pulse measurement tech-
niques. A bridge particularly suited for this task is that described by
Dakin and Malinaric [228], which has since that time been modified
by Povey [IO] and subsequently incorporated as a standard method in
ASTM D3382 [69]. As can be seen from the circuit diagram of this bridge
in Figure 51, which utilizes the so-called parallelogram method, the
ordinate deflection axis of the oscilloscope is coupled to the detector
terminals of the bridge while the input to the abscissa axis receives a
fraction of the applied voltage from a capacitive voltage divider. Here
C , denotes the capacitance of the machine coil specimen and C, rep-
resents the discharge-free standard capacitor. The bridge balance is ob-
tained by manipulation of the bridge arm resistance R1 and capacitance
C,; the bridge is initially balanced just prior to PD inception by vagi ng
R, and C3 to compensates for the sinusoidal voltage drop across the
parallel combination of R4 and C,, which yields a straight horizontal
trace on the oscilloscope, whose length is proportional to the applied
voltage. When the voltage is raised further to the discharge inception
point, the abrupt vertical deflection output applied to the oscilloscope
produces a parallelogram trace depicted in Figure 52.
In the parallelogram trace V, designates the peak-to-peak value of
the PDI V and V, represents the peak-to-peak applied voltage. Since
the height of the parallelogram is given by Oh, the total integrated PD
and are of negative polarity and appear over the descending portion i f charge transfer (pulse and pulseless) Q2 is di ked hy
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5,October2002
Figure 53. Comparison at roomtemperatureof theintemal PD dis-
chargeintensity of a virgin specimen bar with that of a specimen
bar removed fromits slot of a model stator that has been aged for
1500 load cycles at twicerated voltage (16 kV rms) and rated cur-
rent (1620 A) at aconductor temperatureof 122C (after Barhikas and
hlnrin [233]).
Q =Dj S, (7)
A =D&,Dh (8)
where S, denotes the vertical deflection sensitivity Since the area of
the parallelogramis given by
the energy dissipated by the PD is equal to AS& where S, is the
horizontal (abscissa scale) sensitivity Hence, the combined pulse and
pulseless power loss P at the radial frequency w assumes the form
The shorting effect of the cavities by the PDwithin is manifested
externally as an apparent increase in the overall capacitance of the spec-
imen. Its increase is relatively very small relative to the capacitance of
the specimen coil or the overall phase and is given by
where D& =VJS,. Equation (9) leads to the expression, which
yields an indication of the void or cavity volume in the specimen rela-
tive to the soecimen volume 11111
where E' is the real value of the permittivity of thi composite bar insu-
lation and CO is the geometrical capacitance in vacuo, of the bars. The
vertical (ordinate) axis sensitivity of the parallelogrambridge S,, is de-
termined, using the standard calibration procedure described in ASTM
D1868 [HI. A square pulse generator is employed to inject a known
charge via a calibrating capacitance C, and the vertical sensitivity is
obtained in terms of the relation
s, =~
where DI represents the vertical deflection resulting fromthe injected
charge of C,AV, with AV the voltage pulse magnitude of the square
pulse of sufficient width to prevent overlapping of the signal responses
at the front and trailing edges of the square pulse. Also the rise and fall
times of the excitation square pulse must be identical in order to equal-
ize the bridge circuit's positive and negative pulse response, which as in
the case of other PDdetectors depends upon the rise time of the calibra-
tion pulse as well as on the bandwidth of the PD detection circuit itself.
Fromthe practical point of view, it is expedient to obtain calibration
with excitation pulse rise and fall times that are withm the range of the
minimumand maximumrise times of the actual PDpulses observed.
When PD measurements are performed on individual rotating ma-
chine coils or bars, a narrow band (300 Mr) PD detection circuit is
normally employed. At relatively low frequencies, the single bars or
coils, which are short in length, essentially behave as lumped capaci-
tance specimens, thereby permitting apparent charge calibration to be
carried out with relative case. Both new and used bars are evaluated in
terms of their PDIV and PDEV values as well as plots of the maximum
apparent charge transfer us. applied voltage. The latter approach is
particularly useful inascertaining aging of H\' stator bars. Figure 53
compares the PDbehavior in apparent charge units of a new bar with
that of an aged bar subjected to 1500 load cycles under accelerated mul-
tistress conditions in a three phase model generator at twice the rated
lie-to-ground voltage. The PD tests were performed with the two ends
of the bars submerged in an oil bath to ensure that the recorded dis-
charge intensity was confined to the straight slot section of the bars Le.,
discharges occurring between the conductor and ground-wall enclos-
ing the insulation. The peak charge transfer measured in pC is seen to
be substantially higher and PDI V lower in the aged bar, inferring ap-
preciable discharge induced degradation during the accelerated aging
When stator bars are evaluated in terms of the dissipation factor
(t,an 6) tip-up, measured as a function of applied voltage, it is desirable
to determine whether the increase of tan 6 with voltage is the result of
voltage dependent dielectric losses or a consequence of PD. Usually, the
tar1 &value may increase with voltage, but occasionally it may exhibit
a decrease. A relation between the measured tan6 value and the PD
pulse type discharge losses has been derived and is given below [15,
_., r 1
where tan 6 represents the dielectric losses in the solid insulating sys-
temof the bar specimen, C is the capacitance before and C' the ca-
pacitance after pulse discharge onset, V is the rms value of the applied
voltage, n3 is the dischargerate (pulsesper second) of thejth discharge
of peak voltage V& and V, ( t ) is the instantaneous value of the applied
voltage at which the j th PD pulse occurs. The second termis the PD
pulse contribution and it will increase as long as increasing numbers of
cavities begin and continue to discharge with increasing voltage. Once
all of the cavities are fully ionized and continue to discharge, tan 6 will
commence decreasing with applied voltage as the rate of increase of the
term wV2 in the denominator of the second termbecomes larger and
exceeds the rate of increase in the PD power loss in the numerator. Thus,
when all cavities become ionized and undergo discharge, the tan 6 us.
voltage characteristic will assume a negative slope. Note that in the
calculation of the pulsed PD loss contribution, the relative polarities
ofV, and V, ( t ) must be taken into account in Equation (13). Should
the dielectric losses predominate and the PD pulse discharge loss be
negligible, then a negative slope of the curve will infer the occurence
792 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
of a space charge mechanism within the bar specimen that may arise
due to ionic contamination in an uncured resin.
PDpattern recognition, as the name implies, is the ability to rec-
ognize and distinguish between different types of PDsources within
the electrical insulating systems of power apparatus and cables and
to differentiate them from extraneous interference phenomena. Over
many decades in the past, this function and role was effectively ful-
filled by expert observers, who possessed this cognitive ability, which
they had acquired through personal field experience, which permitted
them to discriminate between various discharge phenomena in terms
of their pulse density, amplitude and phase distribution patterns [235,
2361. However, with the advent of intelligent machine technology, ef-
forts were undertaken in the early 1990s to automate the cognitive PD
test procedures. This effort has grown to such an extent, that now
the area of PD pattern recognition constitutes an important and highly
specialized subset in PDrelated studies and deserves, therefore, to be
addressed separately
The task of PD pattern recognition may be approached in two sep-
arate ways. Computerized techniques may be applied in conjunction
with certain statistical parameters that take into consideration the sto-
chastic nature [34,35,38,39, SO] of the PD process; altematively, tech-
niques, which require no statistical preconditioning of the test data,
such as NN, may be employed. Theadvantage of the latter is that they
do not require decisions to be made as to which statistical parameters
should be used and the degree of bias that should beassigned to the
selected parameters. This Section will be devoted to a brief description
of the various cognitive procedures that may be utilized to accomplish
the task of PD pattem recognition. PD pattern recognition analyzes may
be carried out either in terms of PD pulse shape or the I'D pulse-height
and pulse-phase (discharge epoch) distributions. The two approaches
are inextricably interrelated by the nature of PDpulse discharge mecha-
nism and the reason for selecting the pulse shape approach often centers
on the low cost and the simplicity of the test instrumentation involved.
Thebreakdown voltage of the cavity essentially determines the magni-
tude of the discharge pulse as well as its discharge epoch or phase of
occurrence with respect to the applied sinusoidal voltage wave.
When the statistical timelag is long, i.e. the timeof appearanceof the
initiating electron is prolonged, the breakdown takes place at a voltage
above the nominal breakdown voltage and results in a shorter rise time
pulse of large magnitude. Tnis not only alters the shape of the pulse
but also causes it to appear latter in the applied voltage cycle, thereby
changing the entire discharge sequence as well as the precession rate or
movement of the pulses along the phase angle scale and, hence, the rel-
ative phase positions or discharge epochs [34]. Thus changes in pulse
shape are accompanied by changes in the pulse-height and pulse-phase
distributions. However, the pulse shape contains an additional item of
information, which pertains or is related to the location of PD sites in
the insulating system: as the pulse travels from the PD site to the PD
detector, its form becomes increasingly more mutated or distorted (de-
pending upon the transmission medium) due to the attenuation of its
higher frequency components. The NN offers many options that render
it useful in various tasks of PDpattern recognition because of the unique
structure [237], which consists essentially of an organized topology of
interconnected processing elements and is designed for encoding and
recalling information. Among these options rests their inherent ability
to distinguish distinctive features of PD pulse pattems, as for example
involving those of discrimination between different cavity sizes. An
NN has arelatively short learning time, and once the learning period
is completed, it is able to apply the taught knowledge to make rea-
sonably limited generalizations, even on unknown input PD patterns.
Thus, they prevail over other classifiers in that they are flexible and
can adapt themselves to different statistical distributions. Furthermore,
their response is insensitive to minor variations in the input, i. e. they
can render correct decisions when the input deviates from that which
they have been taught to recognize. as for instance stochastic variations
in the discharge process within the discrete cavities themselves.
NN can be divided into three generic categories, namely those with
required supervised training, unsupervised training, and fixed weight-
ing procedures [238]. The latter category's application paradigm is pri-
marily intended for association and optimization work, while the first
two categories are suited for classification and are thus applicable di-
rectly to PD related investigations. There are three NN within these
first two categories that are particularly suited for PD pattern recogni-
tion. These NN employ respectively the multi-player perception (MLP),
nearest neighbor classifier (NNC) and linear vector quantization (LvQ)
paradigms 12391. Both the NNC and LVQ networks are of the unsuper-
vised training type [240], while the MLP network requires supervised
training [241]. All three networks were evaluated by Mazroua et al .
[242] in terms of their PD pulse form recognition capabilities, using
artificial cavities of 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 mmdepths, and were found to per-
form acceptably well in assigning the correct classification for the three
cavities of different size. However, where discrimination was required
between smaller cavity sizes, it was found that the learning vector quan-
tization paradigm was distinctly superior. In these cognitive test;, the
features or attributes of the PDpulse shape or form used were those
of area, decay time, rise time, width and magnitude of the pulse. Gul-
ski and Krivda [32,243] also applied NN for PDpattern classification,
using PDpulse-height/phase distribution data, but their experimental
results were statistically preconditioned. While the cognitive capabili-
ties of the evaluated NNC, LVQ and MLP paradigms are approximately
equal, there exists a certain predisposition to favor the use of the MLP
paradigm in work related to PD. TheMLP paradigm differs from that
of the NNC and LVQ techniques in that the structure of the NN can be
designed to suit the intricacies of the PD pattern recognition task to be
performed e.g. to differentiate between PD phenomena in electrical trees
from that of cavities 12441. The general MLP NN structure is depicted in
Figure 54 and consists of an input layer, one or more hidden layers and
an output layer of neurons or processing elements. Each neuon has
many input signals but only one output signal that is applied to every
neuron in the next layer. Each connected pair of neurons is associated
with an adjustable value that is referred to as the weight. 'he number
of layers and neurons therein is altered by trial and error to optimize
the performance of the MLP NN in its recognition task required for the
classification of PDpatterns. The MLP network is trained, utilizing the
back propagation technique [245], i.e. it is provided with both the input
patterns and the desired response. TheNN proceeds through a series
ZEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Znsulation vol. 9 No. 5,OctoberZOOZ
of iterations; ineach iteration a comparison is made of its own output
with that of the desired response and a computation is carried out to
determine whether there is a match. If a match is indicated, then no
changes are made in the NN structure; however, if there is no match,
then the weights are modified by means of the so-called gradient search
technique to minimize the mean square difference between the desired
response and the actual output. The error function, which must be min-
imized during the learning step, exhibits a series of local minima in
addition to a global minimum. The global minimum isachieved by
the gradient search technique, which estimates the weights that corre-
spond to those at which the error surface is lowest. Theleaming rate,
which controls the width of the steps on the error surface, must not
betoo rapid in order to avert oscillations in the approach to the global
1npvt Isye, Hiddrr l l vcr 0"lP"l Inyer
Figure 54. Architecture of ML P NN. Circles represent neurons, w,,
wh and wo arethe input, hidden and output layer weights respec-
' 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
' 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
Number of iterations
Figure 55. Cavity us. electrical treediscrimination leaming cwe of
an MLP NN (after Mazroua ef ai. [2441).
In reference to Figure 54, the feature or attribute inputs ( wt , wh, and
wo) to the MLP NN, in the case of PD pulse shape related PD pattern
recognition analysis, are those of apparent charge transfer, rise time, fall
or decay time, area under the PD current pulse (total charge transfer),
the product of the pulse width and apparent charge and the energy.
The function of the neurons is to receive all incoming attribute param-
eters, multiply them by the weights of the connections over which they
enter and add the intermediate answers. Multiply the result by the Sig-
moid threshold function f , defined by the plot of error us. weight (that
contains the global minimum), yields an overall output t given by
z =f(&q +. . . +S,w, - 0)
where SI and S, denote the outputs of the first and last hidden node
or neuron respectively, and are described in terms of the input pulse
shapes and weights w. Each of these weights is associated with an input
threshold 0. Theoutput z in Equation (14) must equal unity for one
cavity size (e.g. 1.0 mm) and zero for the other cavity size ( e g 1.5 mm).
The error, ei for the ith input pulse shape may be expressed as ,
e, =(di - t i )
- where zi is the actual output and di represents the desired output re-
sponse. For-all the PD pulse shapes, the mean squared error (MSE) is
E =- x ( d i - y)'
I n
i = l
where n is equal to the number of PD pulse shape attributes. To
1. to assign random values in the range [tl, -11 to all the weights
and thresholds and to provide the NN with the input and d e
sired output pairs;
2. to apply the Sigmoid threshold function and calculate the out-
puts zi and to initiate the learning process;
3. to adapt the weights by the usage of a recursive algorithm that
starts from the output mode back to the first recursive layer.
The back propagation training al gori th of an MLP NN is an itera-
tive grading technique that accomplishes the input to output mapping
task by minimizing the so-called cost function. Thelatter represents the
MSE between the actual output of the MLP and the desired response.
Figure 55 portrays MSE as a function of the number of iterations that
are necessary for distinguishing the PD pulse forms associated with
electrical trees from those of cavities 12441. TheMLP network utilized
contained a single output, with a cavity PD discharge being indicated
by a unity output and zero output for a PD pulse associated with a tree.
The number of neurons in the hidden layer of this particular network
was equal to 30. Figure 55 demonstrates the success rate of the NN in
its discrimination between the cavity and electrical tree PD sources: af-
ter 140 iterations, the MSE between the desired and actual outputs is
perceived to be negligible small. A virtual classification of 100% is ob-
tained for both the training and testing procedures without any need
for statistical preconditioning.
In the design of MLP NN, the number of inputs and the overall
topology of the network is determined by trial and error in terms of
the resulting PD pattern classification performance: It is frequently ob-
served that an increase in the number of inputs (attributes) does not
necessarily result always in an improved cognitive ability of the NN.
Recently, Salama and Bartnikas [246] developed a systematic NN design
procedure for determining the appropriate number of inputs and sec-
ond order neurons or nodes based on an autoregressive (AR) time-series
Since the AR time-series mode1,functions in specific time-steps, it
was deemed to beparticularly promising for usage on highly time d e
pendent PD patterns, for which synchronization of the measurement
data (e.$ PD pulse amplitude, rise time and other pulse from attributes)
is essential. The AR time-series concept necessitated deployment ofpar-
ticular PD features that exhibit a definite trend as a function of a vari-
able, such as applied voltage, which influences the overall PD process.
minimize the value of E, the back propagation algorithm is employed
794 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
Typically, the hysteresis characteristic of the maximum apparent charge
mental data for this purpose. From the practical point view, utilization
relevance in that it can be derived from meawements carried out by me order of the model is obtained by, calculating the error variance
meam of a conventional PD detector in accordance with ASTM D1868 of the estimated output signal x for each model and the model with
[l l ] or IEC 60270 12231procedures. If calibration in terms of apparent
the least minimum variance is selected. The data treatment procedure
charge is not feasible, then Peak Pulse in may can be readily illustrated with reference to a hypothetical hysteresis
be as lonE as comoarative measurements are made On the same' characteristic of the maximum amarent charae transfer AQ,, us. V
where L, is expressed in terms of the covariance3atatrix P,
which is by definition,
transfer AQm us. the applied voltage can provide the required experi-
of the AQm us. applied voltage curve has the decided advantage of
L, =Pxi x [1+$FPnil,]
P, =11- L&Rj P,-l
specimen or specimens of identical design and construction.
sugr I si.g.1
Figure 56. Cascaded ML P NN with doubleoutputs (after Salamaand
Bartnikas [246]).
In mathematical terms, the AR time series model may be stated as
yt =alYt-l +azl'-z +...+ bl&-l +bzY, _, +. . . +et (17)
where Yt represents the input signal at a time t , Yt-l is the input
signal at the previous instant, and et denotes the input noise at a time
t ; al, uz, bl , and bZ are parameter constants related to AQ,. Thus
the vector for yt becomes
~ 4 2 3
yt =[$%lT . IS,] +et
[Q,] =[ai ,az, ..., bi ,bz, ... 1 (18)
[Ye] =[ yt- l , l ' - Z, . . ., K-1, Vt -2, . . . I
where represent the parameter and state vectors respectively, and the
subscript K defines the instant of the PDpulse event at which the data
are being processed, as opposed to subscript t that denotes the time at
which the PD data are being sampled. By definition the error at instant
K is
E, =yt - +nTB,
Here it must be emphasized that in the foregoing operation, the re-
cursive least square identification procedure must be deployed to iden-
tify the AR time-series model parameters, which in essence minimizes
the sumof the squares of the identification error Exl 8. The least square
" i zati on step yields a model parameter update of the form
8, =0,-1 i E,L,
.. .
in which the parameters a and b denote respectively the highest and
the lowest recorded value of AQ,; hence for n data points, the step
magnitude on the vertical scale is
a - b
h =~
for which the corresponding mean values of the maximum charge trans-
fer AQm at each of these discrete points are given by the set AQ,1,
AQ,&z, . . . , AQmn at the corresponding widths of the hysteresis
cumes AVl, AV,, . . . , AV, on the applied voltage axis; e.g. at the hys-
teresis widths of A& and AV,, the values are AQmz =AQ,l+ h,
and AQms =AQy,,z +h, respectively.
The order or number of inputs of the NN determined by the AR time
series analysis was 3. The NN architecture was arranged in cascaded
configuration as delineated in Figure 56, with the indexed output from
the first stage I d provided as a weighted quantity Since the NN was
designed to discriminate between 1.0 and 1.5 nun depth cavities, the
indexed output Id was arranged to indicate zero for a 1.0 nun cavity
and unity for a 1.5 mm cavity The number of neurons in the hidden
layer of the first stage was fixed at 6, and at 8 in the hidden layer of
the second stage with 5 inputs. Note that in order to maintain clarity
in the graphic representation of Figure 56, only 7 of the 8 neurons in
the hidden layer of the second stage are shown. The success rate of
the cascaded output NN in distinguishing between the two cavity sizes
attained an exceptionally high level of 94%.
NN topology designs based on the trial and error approach are fre-
quently characterized by relatively low PD pattern recognition rates.
Cachm and Wiesmann [247] applied the MLP technique to PDpulse pat-
terns, arising from two or more PD sources. Scale normalization was
employed to separate different superimposed PD patterns along their
contours on charge transfer us. discharge epoch (phase) plots. Once
the PD pattems were separated, the NN classifier was used to exam-
ine the patterns individually. A combined PD pulse pattern recognition
rate of 79% was achieved, which was still substantially better than the
50% rate reported by Hozumi et nl. [248]. However, irrespective of the
NN design approach utilized, the MLP technique applied to I' D pulse
pattern recognition has decided advantages. Thesuccess achieved in
the application of the MLP NN to PD pulse pattern recognition must
be attributed to their ability to create clustering shapes that are highly
nonlinear. An MLP NN with two hidden layers is capable of forming
arbitrary decision boundaries between classes of different cavity sizes,
which can be made as smooth as required by selecting an appropriate
number of hidden neurons in each layer [239,249-2511. Furthermore,
minimizing the mean square error by the back propagation algorithm
results in an approximation of the class posterior probabilities, so that
the MLP NN estimates the optimal bays decision boundary 1245,2523.
ZEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October ZOO.?
In contradistinction, the LVQ paradigm constitutes a piece-wise linear
approach [239,253], since it is based on the nearest neighbor rule 1252,
2541and, consequently, it can only achieve an approximation of the de-
cision boundary Kranz and Hiicker [31,255] made use of the NNC para-
digmon PD pulse pattern analysis. In their work on SFhpower appara-
tus under high ambient noise conditions where they employed Fourier
transform techniques for feature extraction fromPD pulse-height/phase
distributions, acceptably good results were obtained with the unsuper-
vised NN. However, in a subsequent extension of the same work they
conceded that supervised MLP NN have definite advantages 12561.
The application of fuzzy logic to the classification of PDpulse pat-
terns has much to commend itself because of the nature and the intricate
behavior of the PD process. Even under idealized pulse type discharge
conditions without any attending complicating effects of simultaneous
occurrence of true pulseless glow or pseudo glow discharges and even
further assuming that only a small number of cavities are involved, it
is difficult to ascertain in terms of the PD pulse pattern whether sev-
eral discrete cavities or one elongated ellipsoidal cavity with a number
of different discharge sites is involved. The interpretation problems
are further compounded by variations in the statistical time lag (time
required for a free electron to appear and initiate the breakdown of
the cavity). Tnelarger the statistical time lag, the larger the value of
the overvoltage at which a given cavity will breakdown, which will
result in larger charge transfers (I'D pulse magnitudes) as well as a
shorter rise times of the discharge pulses [go]. This will lead to a preces-
sion of discharge epochs, effecting the entire pulse-phase distribution
characteristic [34]. An added complexity will arise with power appara-
tus and cable specimens, in which pulses fromvarious discharge sites
will undergo differing amounts of distortion, attenuation and rise time
degradation as they travel fromtheir respective discharge sites to the
PD detector. It is palpably evident that even identical voids situated at
different distances from the detector will not have identical PD pattems
not only because of the unequal propagation distances and material
media in their paths but also because the availability of free electrons
will not be identical at the various discharge sites.
Small Medium Large
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Apparent charge AQ (pC)
Figure 57. A membership function for charge transfer associated
with PDpdses in a cavity (after Salamaand Bartnikas 1331).
Optimization of
rignrficant features
Fi gure58. Schemaficdiagramforafuzz~~logicPDpulsepanern clas
sification system(after Salama andBartnikas [ 33] ) .
The foregoing scenario creates a rather fuzzy situation as concerns
PD pattern recognition, and so one may beg the question as to why one
should not fuzzify the approach to the problem, and apply fuzzy logic
for PD pattern classification. It may thus be more expedient to identify
PDpatterns in more vague or less specific terms, as for instance PD pat-
terns with large or small pulses or in the case of cavities as very large,
large, mediumand small size cavities, assuming equal gas pressure
within the compared cavities. As a consequence of the randomness of
the PD phenomena, one is compelled to consider the approximate range
of apparent charge transfer and its correlation to the cavity sizes or di-
ameters. In such circumstances, fuzzy logic procedures allow the usage
of crisp number sets to furzify the measured real (crisp) values. In a
fuzzy logic system, crisp inputs are mapped into furzy sets by means
of a hzzyfier [257-2591. An inference engine, which utilizes rules, that
have been devised to permit decision making, maps these fuzzy sets
into other fuzzy sets that comply with the rules.. The output sets are
mapped into crisp sets or real numbers by a defuzzifier. A fuzzy set
is described by a membership function, which assumes values in the
interval [0,1]; a typical membership function, for charge transfer asso-
ciated with PD pulses, is portrayed in Figure 57 1331.
A schematic flow chart of information in a fuzzy logic based reason-
ing process is depicted in Figure 58; note that the membership function
forms an integral part of stage 8. It can assume different configura-
tions, which may be determined by numerical organization techniques
or self-organization 12601. Fuzzy rules, which play dominant roles both
in stages 5 and 8 in Figure 58, are defined to represent certain axioms
of PD pulse behavior. They are thus based on expert knowledge of
the intricacies of PDpulse behavior and their evaluation in the fuzzy
reasoning process constitutes essentially a generalization of the modus
ponens and niodus foliens inference process (stages 4 and 5, Figure 58).
Evidently, effective application of fuzzy logic to PD pulse pattern recog-
nition requires considerable knowledge of discharge behavior for the
purpose of formulation of the rules and construction of the membership
functions. For example, correct classification of 3 cavity sizes (1.0, 1.5,
and 2.0 mmdepth) in terms of the PD pulse shape attributes requires 25
796 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
rules; only for the representation of the apparent charge transfer alone,
10 membership functions for coverage of the low, medium, high and
in between charge transfer values are necessary [33]. Commercial pro-
grams in fuzzy logic are available and may be applied to PD related
investigations 12611. ...
Charge magnitude (pC)
eo -0.5
Fractal dimension
Figure 59. Lacunarity us. fractal dimension of 3D PDpulseheight/
phasedistributions of three highly differing PD defects (A, Band C)
obtained at 16 kV (after Candelaet nI. [266]).
Somework has been reported by Satish and Zaengl[262] in the ap-
plication of fractal features to the classification of cavities undergoing
PD in terms of their PD pulse-height/phase distribution patterns. In
their fractal analysis, they employed the geometrical parameters of frac-
tal dimension (a measure of surface roughness of the 3D pulse distribu-
tion pattern) and lacunarity (the denseness of the geometrical/fractal
Originally, fractal geometry was developed for analysis of landscape
surfaces 12631, but later it was extended to other mathematical model-
ing applications 12641. In a later study, Krivda et nl. 12651 were able
to achieve some further success in the use of fractals in distinguishing
between noise and corona sources and artificial cavities. More recently,
Candela et al. [266] carried out experiments, using a point-to-plane
gap (A), a dielectric-metallic electrode gap (B) and an occluded cav-
ity within epoxy resin (C) as PD sources. The three distinctly different
lacunarity us. fractal dimension plots, obtained for the three forego-
ing PD sources and depicted in Figure 59, demonstrate the recognition
capability of the technique. However, it should be observed that the
recognition degree indicated by the separation between the three areas
in the graph is to a great extent a result of the pronounced differences
in the nature of the three PD sources utilized. By applying the fractal
data with additional statistical preconditioning data to an MLP NN, the
authors 12661were able to attain a recognition capability of 98%.
In investigations related to recognition of PD pulse patterns, it is
common practice to assign statistical operators to facilitate analysis of
the PD pulse-height/phase distributions. In the nomenclature of the
PD pulse pattern recognition system developed by Gulski [28] and em-
ployed by Gulski and Krivda 1321, the term skewness signifies asym-
metry of the charge transfer and pulse count distributions with respect
to the normal distribution and kurtosis refers to the sharpness of the
same distributions with respect to the normal distribution. The so-
called cross correlation factor describes the asymmetry of the positive
and negative polarity discharge pulse pattern. In addition to another
_1 5 1 1.5 2 2.5
log [charge magnitude (pC)]
Figure 60. Effect of simultaneously occurring P~mechanisms onthe
Weibull distribution function. (a) PO pulseheight distribution; (b) cor-
responding Weibull plot (after Montanari et al . 12781).
statistical operator, which refers to the number of peaks in the respec-
tive distributions, there are 25 other specified statistical operators. The
deployment of statistical operators reduces very substantially the re-
quired memory capacity of the system. Thus, a total of 29statistical
operators comprises their overall analytical procedure. The PD pulse
pattern recognition task is carried out in terms of these statistical pa-
rameters either by visual examination by an experienced operator or
by expert systems specifically devised by Gulski et al. [28,32,36,141,
267,2681. It is not clear from the tests carried out on electrical appa-
ratus by these authors how their system responds when a multiplicity
of discharge faults are encountered. The foregoing statistical parame-
ter analysis technique has also been applied by Bozo ef al. [269,270] in
their investigations on PD endurance of thin polymer films. They ob-
tained high classification success rates with NN, whose input data was
statistically preconditioned.
Weibull distribution statistical procedures were applied by Contin
and Rabach on HV stator windings in an attempt to identify multiple PD
sources 12711. Subsequent work by Cacciari et ai. [272] indicated, that
when single PD sources are involved, the PD pulse height distribution
may be approximated by a two parameter Weibull distribution and that
by means of a mixed Weibull model coupled with a goodness of fit test,
it is possible to separate several simultaneously occurring PD sources.
In addition, Contin et ai. [273,274] were able to demonstrate that the
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October ZOO2 797
Weibull shape parameter p was an eigenvalue of the PD pulse source
and was independent of its location in the overall insulating system.
Mixed Weibull distribution analysis has also been applied to monitor PD
induced aging in epoxy-resin insulators by Contin et al. [275]. More re-
cent results reported by Contin et d. [276,2771 indicate that application
of a five-parameter Weibull function leads to an effective recognition of
PD sources in terms of their respective shape factors, even when they
are occurring simultaneously. The shape factor p appears to be a more
effective criterion for PD pulse pattern recognition than the skewness
and kurtosis parameters usedin the statistical pattern analysis proce-
dure developed by Gulski 1281. Figure 6U(a) shows a pulse-height dis-
tribution curve of a stator bar after 1425 h of aging; in (b) is given its
corresponding Weibull plot, whose curvature at the upper end of the
charge transfer scale is attributed to another PDmechanism[278]. It
is further demonstrated that the shape factor /3 of the same PD source
is identical, irrespective of whether the Weibull probability analysis is
carried out in the terms of the PD pulse-height distribution or PD pulse
shape characteristics. This result may be questioned, however, because
with distant PD sites, the transmitted pulses will undergo distortion and
their shape will differ substantially fromthose that would be recorded
were the same PD sites located close to the PD detector.
multi-source PD patterns
3-level wavel et decomposi ti on
reconstruction of vertical &
horizontal wavel et coefficients
to yield H & V i mages
magni tude and phase
averagi ng of H & V
feature vector
formul ati on
Figure 61. A PD pattemclassification systememploying thewavelet
transformation approach (after Lalithaand Satish [280]).
task. Recently there appeared two independent contributions [279,280],
which have introduced the use of wavelets in the classification of PD
pulse patterns. Wavelet transformation is characterized by its two vari-
able approach of time-frequency or space-frequency, which lends itself
readily to application of non-periodic irregularly recurring PD pulse
type phenomena. Carminati et a!. [279] described an approach in which
NN and fuzzy logic are combined in conjunction with wavelet transform
to identify PD induced aging phenomena, which have been shown to
affect the PD pulse form(principally a decrease in rise time and charge
transfer) [281]. They were able to ascertain the degree of PD induced
aging in terms of contour plots involving the pulse rise time with aging
time as a parameter. Lalitha and Satish I2801employed wavelet analysis
techniques in conjunction with a NN to distinguish the PD pulse-height/
phase distribution patterns of highly differing PD sources, namely those
of point corona, surface and cavity type discharges. A schematic flow
diagram of their I' D pattem classification technique is depicted in Fig-
ure 61. In another investigation, also involving classification of gross
artificial defects, Ming and Birlasekaran 12821were able to achieve sat-
isfactory PD source identification rates with statistically preconditioned
wavelet analysis procedures.
Notwithstanding the considerable effort expended in the area of PD
pattern recognition using intelligent machines, current practice still re-
lies heavily on human expertise in the identification and location of PD
sources in electrical apparatus and cables 1283-2851. The associated in-
strumentation costs for PD pattern identification are still relatively high
but they can be substantially reduced by having the pulse peak-detect
hold and A/D conversion functions embedded in a microprocessor cir-
cuit boards [284]. This approach also decreases the signal processing
time interval to 5 ps fromthe value of 8.3 /IS specified by Bartnikas in
Most insulating materials are organically based materials, which if
subjected continuously to PD over long periods of time will eventu-
ally deteriorate and undergo ultimate failure. The degradation process
is both chemical and physical in nature, and the actual failure mech-
anismmay assume either anelectrical, mechanical, thermal character
or a combination thereof. Exposure of organic insulating materials to
PD causes physical erosion due charged particle impact [5,48,287-2911
on the cavity walls; this is accompanied by chemical deterioration as
the hydrocarbon molecules undergo bond scission. Various gases are
formed within the cavity as a result of the attending reactions occur-
ring between the oxygen withm the cavity's atmosphere and chemically
activated surfaces of the cavity's walls. The gas pressure within the
altered atmosphere of the cavity changes and that together with the
changes of the wall surface conductivity alters the discharge behavior
within the cavity [281]. The foregoing variables lead to a rather erratic
discharp process, which is further compounded by statistical time lag
I . "
effects that cause the discharge mechanismitself to assume a stochas-
tic behavior as overvoltages develop across the cavity, thereby altering
the rise time, magnitude and pulse shape of the PD pulses and in turn
leading to changes in the pulse discharge sequence and a precession of
discharge epochs [34]. It is thus palpably evident fromthe foregoing
It is now for some time that researchers in the PDarea have been
utilizing wavelet techniques, which are especially effective in retriev-
ing low magnitude PD signals under intense ambient noise conditions.
Commercial software, already available, can be applied directly to this
798 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
considerations of internal cavities that PD discharge patterns are intrin-
sically unstable by their very nature and are, therefore, characterized
by discharge evanescence and changes in its intensity with time that
may be either gradual or abrupt. Consequently, it is not astounding,
that aging tests carried out under PD conditions indicate that PD pat-
terns, observed at the commencement or at various times during the
progress of the tests, frequently bear little relationship to the PD pattern
form recorded just prior to breakdown. I' D pulse intensity (pulse count
and magnitude) cannot be always taken as a certain cogent indicator of
impending failure: the discharge intensity may either increase or de-
crease with time as the failure event is approached. For example, in the
author's experience, it has been generally found that with internally oc-
cluded voids, as in the case of solid epoxy insulated transformers, the
discharge intensity may tend to gradually decrease with time until just
prior to breakdown, one or several extremely large rD pulses may ap-
pear, presumably indicative of the tracking-type breakdown streamer
propagation across the insulation thickness. PD intensity increases to-
wards breakdown are normally observed with slot discharges in rotat-
ing machines as slot gaps at the ground wall of the bar grow in size or
large delamination regions develop within the stator bars themselves.
The subject of PD induced degradation and aging is indeed a vast area
of endeavor and it would be difficult to treat it in detail here. However,
the reader is referred to a series of monographs, which deal in depth
with its numerous facets in [5,95,29&292]. The discussion in this Sec-
tion will thus be primarily confined to discharge induced aging as con-
cems its effects on the nature of the rD, their pulse form, detection and
measurement. Here it may be of interest to note that discharge induced
failures have been now recognized and reported for nearly a century
[293,294]. As early as 1957, Reynolds [295] reported the discovery of ox-
alic acid crystals on PD degraded plastic surfaces and McMahon et nl . [5,
2961in their studies on mechanical stress and discharge induced crack-
ing phenomena on PE suggested that the formation of conductive oxalic
acid crystals on the walls of occluded cavities within PE may account
for the evanescence characteristics of PD pulses within these cai' rities ' as
discharges are shorted by their conductive walls. Thus there is a direct
feedback mechanisms between PD behavior and the PD induced degra-
dation i.e., PD give rise to physical and chemical degradation within
the cavities and then the resulting degradation modifies ipso facto the
form and intensity of the discharge process itself. There may be in-
stances when breakdown of the insulation occurs very suddenly and
unexpectedly at a time when the PD pulse pattern appears relatively
stable; sudden development of thermal instability may be a plausible
explanation for such an event, if the heat generated from the conduction
losses &thin the accumulated degradation products can no longer be
effectively dissipated by the surroundings of the discharge site. The in-
tricate and complex relationships between discharge intensity and the
ensuing degradation rate of insulating materials have eluded thus far
many efforts in the past, whose aim was to assess insulation life in the
presence of discharges [5,53,54,281,287-292,296-3081. Cavity inclu-
In contradistinction, vented cavities as, for example, air gaps between
the ground walls of stator bars and their respective slots, are consider-
ably less influenced by discharge products which tend to be partially
expelled. If one considers cross-linked PE (XLPE) cable insulation, then
one is essentially dealing with occluded non-vented cavities. Oxidative
degradation is the usual process of polymer degradation and the oxy-
gen is available either from the limited atmosphere within the cavity
as well as through some absorption and diffusion of oxygen into the
polymer, which is a function of temperature and the extent off cross-
linking as well as structure of the polymer. Amorphous regions tend to
degrade more rapidly because they are more predisposed towards oxy-
gen absorption. The degradation reaction is also promoted by the PD
processes, which constitutes an efficient generator of ozone and atomic
oxygen both of which are very chemically reactive. Thefirst step in
oxidative degradation involves the formation of a polymer radial R as
a result of bond scission initiated by the bombardment of ions and elec-
trons and photon radiation from PD, [305,306]
R H +R t H '
The newly formed radical may then react with molecular oxygen to
form a peroxide (ROO),
which in turn may lead to the formation of a hydroperoxide (ROOH),
R' +o2 + ROO
The radicals formed in Reactions 24 to 26 may react further in ter-
minating type reactions,
2ROO i ROOR +0 2
2R t R-R (25)
'00 r - - - - - +-
0- 5
3200 2800 '.is00 1700 1600 1500
Wavenumbers (cm~l )
Figure 62. MI R infrared spectra of XL PE specimen exposed to PD at
twice thePDI V valuein dry air for (a) 0 h; (b) 6 h; (c) 12 h; (d) 18h
(after GamezGarcia et ai. [306308])
Reaction 27 represents a crosslinking reaction, assuming that it oc-
curs intermolecularly, while the peroxide ROOR in Reactions 25 and
26 is stable, provided it is not decomposed at high temperatures. The
peroxy intermediates in Reactions 24 to 26 also can be involved in func-
tionalization reactions with without cleavage of the polymer chain,
;ions within the insulating systems of electrical apparatus and cables,
which are completely enclosed, must be considered as non-vented cavi-
ties. In such cavities, the gas atmosphere is static and, as a consequence,
the created gases and wall deposits are not expelled from the cavity so
that the chemical reaction products affect the nature of the discharge.
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. 5, October2002 799
These can lead to a variety of oxidation products, notably C OH (alco-
hol), C=O [carbonyl,-ketone or aldehyde), C-0-C [ether), COOH (car-
boxylic acid), COOC (ester) and epoxide [305].
Figure 62 depicts multiple internal reflection (MI R) infrared spec-
tra of a XLPE specimen, obtained in dry air with PD exposure time as
a parameter [306-308]. Readily discernible changes in the transmit-
tance level occur at 3425 cm-' (hydroxyl, - OH) and 1637 cm~l [vinyl,
C=C) while a very pronounced change in the spectrum is observed-
at 1715 cm-' [carbonyl, C=O). It is found that in XLPE, the additives
used play a very significant role in the formation of surface degradation
products when XLPE is exposed to the action of PD. Crosslinking of PE
is achieved through the use of dicumyl peroxide [309] and the ensuing
crosslinking reaction is accompanied by the formation of decomposi-
tion products. The latter, which comprise acetophenone, cumyl alcohol,
and methyl styrene and cumene diffuse eventually out of the polymer
bulk onto its surface. At the surface these by-products react chemically
in the presence of PD, resulting in surface deposits which are different
from those that would form with PE surfaces only
Time 100 nsidiv
Figure 64. Typical PD current pulseformwith ion cment tail of an
associated chargetransfer of 8.7 pC, characteristic of discharges in
0.5mmair gap with an epoxy resin electrodeundergoing discharge
within a test period extending from 180 to 8W h (after Hudon et nl.
70 , I
Exposure time (h)
Figure 63. Mean apparent charge transfer above20 pC associated
with pulsetypedischarges occurring within a0.5 mm air gapwith an
epoxy resin electrodeasa function of PD exposuretime (after Hudon
et 01. [54])
Of particular practical interest are PD aging effects observed with
epoxy surfaces exposed to discharges, because epoxy is extensively
used in conjunction with micaas an insulant in stator bars, with silica
fillers in solid-type transformers and in spacers in compressed gas ca-
bles. Stator bar insulation is unique vis- -vis insulation in solid-type
transformers and cables in that, unlike in these where specifications re-
quire complete or near absence of discharges it frequently operates in
presence of discharges and at times under rather intense discharge con-
ditions. Its redeeming feature is that epoxy is used in conjunction with
mica, which is a highly discharge resistant inorganic material. When
epoxy resin is exposed to PD, its surface, as in the case of XLPE un-
dergoes modification in several stages. Hudon et ai. [54,281] found
that in a non-vented cavity initially the discharge process is character-
ized by large discharge pulses of the spark-type during which time the
degradation products on the epoxy surface assume the form of liquid
droplets. As the PDpulse magnitudes diminish with time and transition
occurs from a pulse to a pseudoglow and true glow pulseless regime,
the droplets are replaced by crystals. Thedimensions of these crystals
continue growing over the pseudoglow and pulseless discharge regime
until ultimate breakdown ensues. Thedischarge behavior is similar
in both air and nitrogen atmospheres, indicating that the oxygen re-
quired for the observed chemical reactions is supplied from the atmos-
phere within the gap [when available) and by oxygen from within the
molecular structure of the epoxy resin itself. Analysis of the droplets
reveals the presence of a mixture of acids, consisting of formic, gly-
colic, glyoxalic and nitric acids; the crystals are identified by meam of
Debye-Scherrer X-ray diffraction analysis as consisting of hydrated ox-
alic acid. Venting of the gap or cavity does not appear to alter apprecia-
bly the amounts of degradation products formed. electron spectroscopy
for chemical analysis (ESCA) indicates a rise inthe level of oxidation;
amounts of all oxidized groups comprising COOH, COOR, COH and
C-0 are perceived to exhibit substantial increases with respect to the
C-C and C-H peak at 285.0 eV Theeffects of chemical degradation of
the epoxy resin surface exert a very profound influence of on the PD be-
havior itself, which is the cause of the induced degradation. Figure 63
portrays the variation of the mean value of the charge transfer equal
or exceeding 20 pC (average of 100 measurements) as a function of the
PD exposure time. Beyond 320 h, the charge transfers fall below the 20
pC; and a typical PD pulse form characterizing the PD regime of small
charge transfers down to 0.5 pC over the testing time scale from 180 to
800 hi s depicted in Figure 64. It can berecognized that the pulse form
represents a classical Townsend discharge in which secondary emission
is sustained by ion impact at the cathode i.e., the waveform evinces, the
protracted ion conduction current tail. Themagnitude of the recorded
charge transfers associated with PD pulse type discharges is found to
continue diminishing beyond 800 h until no further PD pulses can be
Photomultiplier measurements demonstrate that discharges exist
even after PDpulse type discharges cannot any longer be detected.
800 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
0k ' 200 ' 4kJ ' 400 ' 800 ' lobo
Exposure time (h)
Figure 65. Photocurrent emission from a discharge within a 0.5mm
air gap with anepoxy resin electrodeas afunction of PD exposure time
(after Hudonet nl . [281])
Figure 66. l ntew spark-typePU pulsewith an associated charge
transfer of 5W pC in a metallic-epoxy resin electrodegap observed at
the beginning of a long term aging test (after Hudon et ai. [54])
Moreover, even over the time scale over which sporadic PD pulses of
very low charge transfer magnitude (- 0.5 pC) may be still intermit-
tently detected, their number or intensity is not sufficiently large to
account for the overall recorded photomultiplier current. Fromthis
behavior, one must deduce that low intensity PD pulses occur concur-
rently with pseudoglow and true pulseless glow discharge even before
all remnant small PD pulses disappear entirely. Figure 65 shows the
photomultiplier output as a function of testmg time. Note that above
800 h, no PD pulses are detected and, consequently, inthat region the
photomultiplier cment results entirely from pseudoglow and pulse-
less discharges. Here the photocurrent is of the order of 0.8 A, which
is still substantially above.the dark noise current of 1 pA of the photo-
multiplier employed.
Large intensity intermittent discharge pulses may be occasionally
observed in short air gaps at the commencement of aging tests. These
occur before the surface of the epoxy resin becomes increasingly more
conductive due to the accumulation of acidic degradation products on
its surface. Such a pulse is portrayed in Firmre 66 and it represent
applied here, because a short gap is involved and the term streamer
would bemisleading since rapid rise-time large magnitude discharges
in short gaps are also Townsend type discharge in that the discharge is
sustained by photoemission at the cathode due to intense space charge
build-up. Thus the feedback mechanism is again emission at the cath-
ode, but now it is due to photon impact in lieu of ion impact as in the
classical Townsend discharge case. Here it well to be again adamant in
the usage of correct terminology and reiterate once more that the term
streamer discharge refers to a rapid propagation of a breakdown event
i n a long gap as a streamer propagates by means of photoionization in
the volume of the gap [44,45].
Slot PD behavior in stator bars, which employ mica-epoxy bonded
insulating systems, differs appreciably from the behavior of non-vented
short gaps and internal cavities within the insulation system of thebars.
Slot discharges involve much larger charge transfers and the discharge
products, which, while they can accumulate on the walls of cavity in-
clusions, tend to be in part abraded by vibration of the bars that may
become loosened should the wedges fail to retain them rigidly within
the slots and dispelled to a limited extent by forced cooling gas currents.
However the exterior surfaces of PD degraded bars within the slots, is
covered generally by a white powder, which may still contain some
of these conductive acid degradation products. The large pulse dis-
charges in the slots are likely to be accompanied by significant amounts
of pseudoglow and pulseless discharges; visual examination of the sur-
face discharge phenomena at the coil ends of machine windings would
suggest the presence of glow discharges.
Figure 67. Pu and dielectric loss behavior of 15 kV oil-impregnated-
paper power cablesubjected to an aging test at I OkV aboveits rated
voltage (cn. 1960, after Barmikas 13101).
Incomparison to solid polymeric insulation, oil or dielectric liquid
impregnated paper insulation is much less susceptible to PD degrada-
tion. Someof the vev early oil/paper cables, which were known to
have internal discharges have operated for long periods of time before
being replaced by newer and more discharge-free design constructions.
Mineral oils with aromatic constituents and synthetic oils with gas in-
hibitingadditives absorb gases under electrical stress; even in the ab-
sence of electrical stress, some physical gas absorption occurs in the
oils, which further impedes the formation of ionizable cavities within
the solid-liquid insulating system. In addition extra HV cables are pres-
surized to maintain the gases in an absorbed state within the oil. The
remarkable performance of the oil-impregnated-paper insulating sys-
tem is demonstrated in Fiwre 67, which depicts test data obtained on
. I - "
a form typical of spark type discharges. The term spark discharge is an early 15 kV rated oil-impregnated-paper lead sheath covered cable
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 9 No. S,October2002 801
that was subjected to an accelerated voltage agmg test at 10 kV above
its rated value [310]. The presence of continuous PD is indicated by
the PDpulse discharge rate and the relative average discharge current
us. time characteristics. The dissipation factor (tan 6) value, which is
less sensitive to PD, reveals two intense flare-ups in PD pulse activity
over the testing time scale. The PDactivity peak, are seen to subside
in the presence of the lowered PD activity. The increase in PD activity
is attributed to cavity enlargements or new cavity formations due to
evolving gases at increased voltage stress. Readsorption of the gases by
the non-saturated aromatic constituents of the oil as well as polymer-
ization or cross-linking of the oil, which causes formation of waxes that
fill-in the voltage stress created cavities, are the primary factors respon-
sible for the 'self healing' behavior evinced by the oil/paper insulating
Figure 68. PD inception stress at 50 Hz of a HV bushing us. the num-
ber of 1000 switching surgesteps, measured over a onesecond time
internal; (a) with 12 h impulsestress-freerest period and (b) with-
out 12 h impulsestress-bee period; 0.5mm lnsulation thickness (after
l'ompili et ni. [3111)
Figure 68 illustrates the gas absorption capability of a mineral oil,
used as an impregnant in a HV bushing which was subjected to a series
of switching surges [311]. Thenumber of switching surges is seen to
result in a reduction of the PD inception voltage, however, if the insu-
lation is given a rest period between the subsequent series of impulses
to permit the physical gas re-adsorption by the oil to proceed, then the
reduction in the PDI v is substantially reduced.
Current narrow bandwidth type PO test specifications on newly
manufactured cables, capacitors and transformers are of the go-no go
type in that they require complete absence of discharges in polymeric
insulated cables and permit only moderate upper discharge level mag-
nitudes for capacitors and large oil-filled transformers. Theprimary
concern in go-no go type measurements is that of sensitivity, High
sensitivity levels are particularly difficult to achieve with high capac-
itance specimens; thus with capacitor specimens having high capac-
itance, balanced-type PD measurements are preferred to improve the
signal-to-noise ratio. With pressurized gas cables, which behave essen-
tially as low loss transmission limeswideband PD measurements tech-
niques are preferred with which lugh signal-to-noise ratios are achiev-
able. In the area of equipment maintenance, discharge site location
in soliddielectric extruded cables is normally accomplished using me-
readily accessible, rf probes of either the capacitive or inductive type
are utilized, depending upon whether or not cables are shielded or
have exposed unshielded sections such as splices. In capacitors and
transformers (with the exception of discharges occurring deep in the
winding structures), acoustical PDmeasurement techniques are found
to bemore effective in the location of PD sites. Frequently, both elec-
trical and acoustical procedures are employed jointly; such approach is
most popular in low dielectric loss compressed gas cables where large
bandwidth PD detection techniques are normally utilized, which unlike
solid dielectric cables, are characterized by low acoustical impedances.
PD site identification requires the deployment of PD pattem recognition
techniques, based either on PDpulse-height/discharge epoch (phase)
distributions or PD pulse form analysis. Intelligent machines may be ap-
plied for this taskandare found to performadequately wellin relatively
simple cases as in distinguishing between discharges incavities within
the insulating systems and gross defects such as poor grounds or com-
mon sources of extraneous interference. However, the interpretation
and identification of complex discharge patterns still necessitates the
services of experienced observers. Rotating machine insulation com-
monly operates in the presence of PD discharges, whose intensity under
certain conditions may attain substantially elevated levels. As a conse-
quence, the approach to PD measurement on rotating machines differs
appreciably from that on other electrical apparatus and cables in that it
is essentially designed and implemented to monitor the discharge ac-
tivity This task can becarried out by measurement of PD pulse-height
and discharge epoch (phase) distributions, maximum charge transfer,
discharge current, and during off-line tests, PD inception and extinc-
tion voltages, as well as tan 6 tip-up; it represents anarea of endeavor
where considerable effort has be expended in the interpretation of the
PD pulse patterns in assessing both the PD induced aging rate as well
in the identification of the location and nature of the PDsources. The
most effective approach appears to center on the accumulation and sub-
sequent analysis of field PD data obtained over regular test intervals
on the same machine as well as on other maches of similar design,
a task in which the expert observer plays a critical role. Most effec-
tive means for locating discharge sites involves the use of the classical
Dakin-type rf inductive probe with which each slot is scanned with the
rotor removed and the stator energized; however, this procedure does
not take into account any possible vibrational displacements of the bars
while the machine is in operation under full load conditions. Surface
discharge site location at the end windings of the rotating machine is
carried out also with the rotor removed. Surface discharges are read-
ily detected in terms of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the
discharges, using remote directional UV detection devices. PD pulse
measurements on polymeric cables, capacitors and transformers are
normally performed using narrow bandwidth instrument and the PD
quantities are recorded in apparent charge units expressed in pC. Cal-
ibration in pC units becomes more difficult with inductive specimens
such as transformers and rotating machines. However, there is an im-
portant subtle difference between these two types of specimen. While
the inductance effects in transformers are generally more pronounced
than in rotating machines, the PD pulse density (number of discharges
per cycle) in transformer specimens tends to be very substantial less
dium bandwidth pulse reflectometry; altern&vely i i th cables thit are than that in rotating mackes.
802 Bartnikas: Partial Discharges
This redeeming feature minimizes overlap of adjacent oscillatory PD
pulse transients, thereby ensuring a more meaningful measure of the
apparent charge in terms of the PD pulse magnitudes. In rotating ma-
chine specimens, the presence of a relatively large number of pulses
per power frequency cycle leads to a reduced time interval between the
adjacent pulses resulting in increased PDsignal integration and con-
sequently, to increased error in the recorded pC value. Calibration in
apparent charge units becomes extremely difficult at very high PD mea-
surement frequencies, and it is for this reason that high frequency PD
test methods on rotating machines measure PD quantities only in rela-
tive units QV).
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Manuscript was received on 28 December 2001, i n final form 251une 2002.