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PARTIAL DISCHARGE TESTING It is based on four different steps: digital acquisition of the whole PD signals, their separation, PD source

identification, noise rejection and risk assessment. By means of the analysis of PD measurement results, performed during an accelerated ageing test on frames simulating complete stator coils, it is also shown that PD patterns are very helpful both in defect identification and to state the good conditions of the insulation system. Physical Background Insulation failure process exhibits PD events as a consequence of a local concentration of the electric field. When a PD occurs, there is a very fast flow of electrons in the portion of the insulation interested by the high gradient of the electric field. Thus, PDs are, at the same time, both a symptom of the presence of the defect and a new degradation process that may cause the failure of the electrical insulation. Different defect typologies can generate PDs. Among them: distributed micro voids, localized macro voids, insulation delaminating, insulation/conductor detachment, slot detachment, field-grading deterioration and close bars of different phases on the end windings . Since electrons displace at a speed close to the light speed, PD pulses have a short duration, typically few nanoseconds. Each PD pulse-current, originated in a localised site of the winding, is transmitted along the coils till to the detection point. Thus, the detectable PD-signals present different shapes depending on the type of defect typology and its location in the winding. In general, the magnitude of PD pulses is related to the concentration of the electric field produced by the insulation defect. Consequently, very small defects tend to produce small PD pulses. In contrast, not always big defects generate large discharges (it depends on the spatial distribution of the non-uniform electric field). Moreover, insulation failures can be related to small amplitude PDs originated by small defects, e.g. embedded voids, or by defects located far from the detection point. In the latter case, PD pulses are attenuated and distorted by the transmission line interposed between the PD source and the detection point. Measurement Set-Up and Test Procedure Any device sensitive to high frequencies can be adopted to detect PD signals. The most common sensor for both on-line and off-line PD measurements is a capacitor, in the range of 80-1000 pF, connected to the stator terminal. It presents a very low impedance to the high frequency content of PD pulse-current, whereas it is a very high impedance to the test ac voltage. A resistive and/or capacitive/inductive load (detection impedance) is connected to the high voltage capacitor. The PD pulse current creates a voltage pulse crossing the detection impedance which can be detected by an acquisition device (oscilloscope, frequency spectrum analyser, digital recorder). Modern detectors can be sensitive up to several hundred megahertz range [3]. High frequency transformers or antennas are also used to collect PD pulse-signals but these devices are less common. For on-line tests, the test voltage is the line voltage, whereas the off-line PD tests need an external power supply to energise the winding, like in power factor or power factor tip-up test. Diagnostic Procedure and Data Interpretation A new method for the digital recording of PD signals and data processing procedure has been recently proposed and it is adopted here. It includes different steps: digital recording of the whole PD signals, their separation, PD source identification, noise rejection and risk assessment. Digital acquisition of PD signals must collect a sufficient number of single pulses to enable stochastic analysis at a sampling rate high enough to avoid frequency aliasing (at least, twice the maximum frequency of the signal, according to the Shannon theorem). The acquired pulse-train can be analysed for further processing on the basis of the sequence of the time pointers. The recorded pulses can be processed resorting to appropriate software able to separate signals in different classes on the basis of the assumption that different source typologies are characterised

by different waveforms. In fact, waveforms depend on the nature of the defect originating PDs as well as on the transfer function that pulses face while travelling from the source to the detector. Hence, pulses that have similar shapes should belong to the same source and/or should have the same location. The most common separation method considers the gravity centre of each signal where the total energy of the signal can be concentrated. Two coordinates are assigned to the said centre, that is the average time, T, and average frequency, W so that pulses having different shape are mapped in different areas of a T,W plane. Groups of signals on a T,W map can be completely separated, partially or totally overlapped. A clustering algorithm (a least distance classifier) allows the separation of the recorded signals in groups containing pulses with similar shape. Once the acquired data has been classified, the different clusters can be analysed separately to recognise whether they are due to noise or PDs. Noise rejection can be achieved through suitable algorithms that are based on the analysis of phase, time and amplitude distribution of the signal sub-pattern. At the moment, three different noise typologies can be automatically recognised and rejected, that is: uniformly, regularly and constantly distributed noise. Purpose of the identification step is to address correctly homogeneous data set relevant to PDs to a specific defect typology. The identification focuses on a homogeneous data set relevant to PDs, resorting to both visual inspection of PD patterns and employing identification algorithms. The most common PD patterns are bi-dimensional distributions, that is the distribution of the number of PDs having the same phase of occurrence and the same amplitude (Phase Resolved Partial Discharge Patterns, PRPDP). PDs due to different defect typologies can exhibit a PRPDP with different shape. If a list of PRPD patterns and the relevant defect typologies is available, the identification if performed comparing the experimental and the reference PRPDP. This method is here adopted. The identification can also be pursued employing some parameters that are evaluated through a statistical processing on the basis of different distributions, e.g. PD amplitude and PD amplitude vs. phase. In such procedure, a reduced set of parameters have been selected in order to automatically attribute, by means of fuzzy logic, the analysed data set to the correct output, that is to the defect typology. This technique looks promising but is still under investigation. Each defect typology requires its own risk assessment since the different defects affect the insulation systems in different manner. At the moment, there are no end-of-life criteria available due to the lack of knowledge of the impact of different defects on the insulation reliability. The analysis of the diagnostic parameters is the most common way to support the user decisions. The matter is under investigation. In order to show the validity of the proposed method, results of accelerated ageing tests is reported together with some results in PD measurements performed on new and aged generator and motor coils. Accelerated Ageing Procedure Three different frames simulating the complete stator coils of different ac rotating machines for ship propulsion were subjected on an accelerated ageing test. The insulation systems are based on mica tape layers impregnated with an epoxy resin using the global VPI technology. The insulation has been completed with polyester-graphite tape and polyester-semiconductive tape as a corona suppressing system in slot and end-winding areas, respectively. The accelerated ageing procedure consists of thermal cycles (190 C for seven days), mechanical vibrations (2 hours after each thermal cycle) and moisture exposure for 2 days at 100% r.h.. Several diagnostic tests were performed before and after each ageing cycle to find out any changes in the insulation conditions. Among them: PD measurements, Power Factor (PF) and Power Factor Tip-Up (PFTU). Tests were performed at three different voltage levels: 0.8, 1.0 and 1.2 of the nominal voltage of 6 kV for coils #1 and #2 and 11 kV for coil #3. PD measurements were performed using a waveform analyzer which features large bandwidth (0-500 MHz), fast sampling rate (up to 2 GSa/s) and 8 MB on-line storage. The sequence mode acquisition permits to store a large number of pulses recorded at the fastest sampling rate in order to match the divergent requirements of high sampling rate and large amount of PD pulses (in order to statistically process PD phase and amplitude). The measuring system is fully remote controllable by a lap-top via IEEE-488 bus. The instrumentation is

connected to a 50 shielded resistor, operating as a measuring impedance. The signal is preprocessed by an analogic high-pass filter to suppress the low frequency components associated with the power test voltage. The recorded pulses can be processed resorting to an appropriate software which implements the procedure outlined above. PD Measurements on New Coils and Machines The analysis of the results clearly shows that new (unaged) coils present a characteristic PRPDP composed with some different curve shapes, which are symmetric with respect to the polarity of the applied voltage. A PRPDP detected at nominal voltage, relevant to coil #1 before ageing, is reported in Fig.1 as an example. This behavior is due to the presence of discharges in distributed micro voids. These discharges tend to modify both their environment and the micro voids surface thus reducing the availability of electrical carriers. After a period of voltage conditioning, PRPDPs show similar but more compact shape with lower amplitude. As expected, at the end of the conditioning step, the PRPDP due to distributed micro voids exhibits a compact shape as indicated in Fig.2. Both figures are pertinent to coils and machines having insulation system in good conditions. The amplitude of PDs was found reduced three-four times from new to conditioned insulation. This result clearly indicate that PRPDPs relevant to new machines cannot be adopted as a reference to monitor the in-service conditions. On the contrary, PRPDPs and PD amplitude threshold levels valid in-service cannot be used during acceptance tests of new machines. In conclusion, acceptance tests and monitoring ask for different treatments. PD Monitoring and Diagnostics If a degradation process occurs, a new PD phenomenon add its own features to the existing ones and a mixed PRPDP can be generated. The presence of superimposed patterns can be checked resorting to T,W map analysis. For instance, in Fig.3, the PRPDP and the T,W map relevant to PD measurements performed at the rated voltage on coil #3, after the 5th cycle of ageing, are reported. As can be seen, Fig.3A shows a typical PRPDP due to surface discharges in the end-winding corona suppressing system. The analysis of the T,W map evidenced two different PD phenomena (Fig.3B), while applying the separation routine allowed to distinguish the two PD sources: surface (F1) and distributed micro voids (F2) PDs. The separated PRPDPs are reported in Fig.4. In particular, Fig.4A and Fig.4B show the typical surface and micro voids PRPDP, respectively. It can be concluded that, after the 5th cycle, two different PD phenomena affect coil #3 with a different impact on the insulation system reliability. Coil #1 presented PRPDP having similar shape. Different defects can present different PRPDP. As a further instance, a typical PRPDP due to ground-wall tape delaminating, detected at rated voltage on coil #2, after the 5th cycle of ageing, is reported in Fig.5. Using the proposed procedure, it is possible to monitor separately each PD phenomenon occurring in the insulation system.

Fig. 1. PRPDP due to distributed micro voids in a new coil. Fig. 2. PRPDP due to distributed micro voids after complete voltage conditioning.

COMPARISON OF RESULTS OF PD AND OTHER DIAGNOSTIC METHODS The evaluation of Insulation Resistance (IR) allows to discover problems with the insulation, mainly delaminating or contamination, when IR values tend to decrease. The Polarization Index (PI) supplements IR test since PI is the ratio of the insulation resistance measured after 10 min of dc voltage application over the IR value. A low PI indicates winding contamination. Power Factor (PF) test evaluates the dielectric losses. As the voltage increases PDs start incepting and PF increases as well. Power Factor Tip-Up (PFTU), defined as the variation of the PF measured at 2 different voltage levels, is normally used to take into account the influence of PDs. The Hi-Pot (HP) test is a demonstration that an insulation can withstand a specified overvoltage for a specified length of time and is essentiallye go/no-go type of test . The basic idea is that if the winding passes the high voltage test, some assurance is given that no gross defect is present. However the ability of the test to expose incipient faults is less certain. As can be seen from this short review, most of these test methods are able to point out something occurred in the insulation system and to provide some diagnostic indications. On the contrary, the analysis of the PRPDP features leads to discover the real causes of the insulation deterioration in both cases, that is insulation delaminating for coil #2 and stress-grading deterioration for coil #3. This accurate diagnosis allows the user to get more reliable information and to address the repair. It is pointed out that this result can be obtained only adopting the proposed method, which is based on the identification of the defects by means of PRPDP feature analysis of homogeneous data, obtained after the application of the separation stage. On this way, diagnostic rules and threshold levels for pass/fail criteria can be designed specifically for each defect typology, taking also into account the particular behavior of PDs during the initial stage of the insulation systems here considered. Moreover, trend analysis of PD parameters, derived both from standards [3], [4] and from statistical processing of PRPDPs can be effective since they pertain each specific PD phenomenon. Further investigations will be addressed to obtain the complete reciprocity of defect typologies with PRPDPs and the analytic synthesis of the PRPDP features.

Fig. 3. PRPDPs A, and T,W map, B; relevant to PD measurements performed on coil #3 at the rated voltage, after the 5th cycle of ageing.

Fig. 4. PRPDPs of Fig.3 due to end-winding stress grading deterioration (A) and to distributed micro voids (B).

Fig. 5. PRPDP due to tape delaminating, pertaining PD measurements performed at rated voltage on coil #2, after the 5th cycle of ageing. [1] Culbert, I.; Dhirani, H.; Stone, G.C.: Handbook to Assess the Insulation Condition of Large Rotating Machines. EPRI Report, EL:5036, V.16, June 1989. [2] Hudon, C.; Belenc, M.: Partial Discharge Signal Interpretation for Generator Diagnostics. IEEE Trans. on Diel. and El. Ins. V.16, N.2, pp. 297-319, April 2005. [3] IEEE Standard: Trial Use Guide to the Measurement of Partial Discharges in Rotating Machinery, IEEE Std 1434-2000. [4] IEC Standard: Partial Discharge Measurements, IEC Std 60279-2002, 3rd ed. [5] IEEE Standard: Recommended Practice for Measurements of Power Factor Tip-Up of Electric Machinery Stator Coil Insulation, IEEE Std. 2862000. [6] Contin, A.; Cavallini, A.; Montanari, G.C.; Pasini, G.; Puletti, F.: Digital Detection and Fuzzy Classification of PD Signals, IEEE Trans. on Diel. and El. Ins., V.9, N.3, pp. 335-348, June 2002. [7] Contin, A.; Cavallini, A.; Montanari, G.C.; Puletti, F.: Advance PD Inference in On-Field Measurements. Part 1: Noise Rejection, IEEE Trans. on Diel. and El. Ins., V.10, N.2, pp. 216224, April 2003. [8] Contin, A.; Cavallini, A.; Conti, M.; Montanari, G.C.: Advance PD Inference in On-Field Measurements. Part 2: Defect Identification, IEEE Trans. on Diel. and El. Ins., V.10, N.3, pp. 528538, June 2003. [9] IEEE Standard: Trial Recommended Practice for Thermal Evaluation of Insulation Systems for Alternating-Current Electric Machinery Employing Form-Wound Preinsulated Stator Coils For Machines Rated 6900 and Below, IEEE Std 275-

1998. [10] IEEE Standard: Recommended Practice for Testing Insulation Resistance of Rotating Machinery, IEEE Std 43-2000. [11] IEEE Standard: Guide for Insulation Maintenance of Large Alternating Current Rotating Machinery, IEEE Std 56-1977.