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Partial discharge study in transformer oil due to particle movement under DC voltage using the UHF technique

Sarathi, R. and Reid, A.J. and Judd, M.D. (2008) Partial discharge study in transformer oil due to particle movement under DC voltage using the UHF technique. Electric Power Systems Research, 78 (11). pp. 1819-1825. ISSN 0378-7796

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Converter transformers are one of the key components in high voltage DC power networks. The insulation of these transformers is stressed by both AC and DC voltages. Therefore, AC and DC voltage tests are routinely applied during factory tests to verify the performance of the insulation structure. Partial discharges in an insulation system are incipient discharges that can damage materials and may eventually lead to complete failure of the insulation system during operation. Recently it has been shown that monitoring such discharges formed under AC stress is feasible using Ultra High Frequency (UHF) measurement technique and that there is a reasonable correlation between the partial discharge magnitude and the amplitude of the UHF signal generated by partial discharges. However, the partial discharge activity under DC voltages is not fully understood. This paper describes a study using the UHF technique to improve our understanding of particle-induced partial discharge activity under DC voltages in mineral oil insulation. UHF signals generated due to conducting particle contamination in transformer oil under AC and DC voltages are compared and analyzed. A method for distinguishing particle discharges in regions of high or low electric field stress is proposed based on frequency-domain analysis of the measured UHF signal.