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Particle Effect on Transformer Oil : Technical Note

Sanjay Miglani, Director, mk teknology1 Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi M: 09810550075 Email: Transformer oil is one of the most essential components for conventional oil immersed transformers as it acts both as electrical insulation and thermal coolant. The dielectric strength of the oil and more specifically the level of oil contamination determine the dielectric safety margin of the transformer insulation system. AC breakdown voltage tests are usually used for quality check of mineral oils during transformer operation. It can be seen that particle effects on ac oil breakdown voltages. The oil samples Can be filtered through a 0.2m membrane filter unit for 3 cycles. It was found that after 3 cycles, the oil is clean enough and the particle number in oil samples could not decrease further even more filter cycles were given. The particle number in oil samples can be decided using PAMAS S40 or SBSS liquid particle counting system systems supplied by mk teknology1 Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, which can detect particles with diameter from 1m to 100m. The particle counting results can be obtained such as shown in following table:

The clean oil is defined as per CIGRE (INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON LARGE ELECTRIC SYSTEMS) the particle content with a diameter larger than 5m is down to 300 per 100ml in a oil sample. As can been seen from the filtering results, the particle numbers in processed oil samples were almost reaching the number given in the definition of clean oil.

Subsequently oil can be prepared for AC withstand voltage tests and multiple tests can be conducted as per the ASTM D1816 test stan standard.

From the results, it can be noticed that the dielectric strengths of processed oils is increased significantly comparing to those of as received oil, in terms of mean breakdown voltage, lowest as-received and highest breakdown voltages. The higher dielectric strength for processed oils is caused by strength fewer particles suspended in the oil. Which means less weak links. For as-received oil, the more received the particles with different sizes, the more possibilities for different sized particles to be in the path between the two electrodes to initiate streamers, the less predictable the breakdown voltage may be. This results in the deviation between the measured breakdown voltage and the fitting value at low probabilities. Therefore with fewer particles, it is more difficult to initiate breakdown in the processed oils and consequently, the breakdown voltages are higher and more consistent.