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ESTIMATION AND MINIMIZATION TECHNIQUES OF TRANSFORMER TANK
LOSSES

ESTIMATION AND MINIMIZATION TECHNIQUES OF TRANSFORMER TANK
LOSSES

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CIGR

LOSSES

El-Nasr Transformers & Electrical Products Co. (ELMACO)

**

Elect. Power and Machines Dept., Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University

***

Elect. Power and Machines Dept., Faculty of Engineering, Ain-Shams University

(EGYPT)

ABSTRACT

Transformers are classified among the most important building blocks of any electric power

system network. Enhancing the performance of a particular transformer would positively

reflect on the quality of its network. Loss minimization may be regarded as the most crucial

aspect on which current design efforts are focussed. While rough estimation of the bulk

transformer losses resulting from ohmic and core losses is straight forward, evaluation of

other losses resulting from stray flux in transformer copper and iron, both active and non-

active, parts is known to be more complicated. The purpose of this paper is to present a

detailed study of transformer tank losses. While previous studies mainly focussed on

relatively large power transformers, this paper focusses on the stray loss investigation for

ratings below 100 MVA in part of comprehensive efforts aiming at maximizing efficiency of

such transformers. Using finite-element analysis the aforementioned aspects have been

investigated in order to deduce optimum tank configurations. Moreover, effectiveness of tank

shield sheets on the overall tank losses have also been investigated.

1. INTRODUCTION

In general, power plant manufacturers are under an ever mounting pressure to produce lower

loss power plants for reasons of energy conservation and environmental considerations as

well as the obvious money savings. There is no doubt that transformers are classified among

the most important building blocks of any electric power system network. Thus, enhancing

the overall performance of a particular transformer would positively reflect on the quality of

its network.

In a competitively increasing global market economy, loss minimization may be regarded as

the most crucial aspect on which current design efforts are focussed (see, for example, [1]).

While rough estimation of the bulk transformer losses resulting from ohmic and core losses is

straight forward, evaluation of other losses resulting from stray flux in transformer copper

1

amradlya@intouch.com

and iron, both active and non-active, parts is known to be more complicated. Until recently

many companies have relied mainly on empirical calculations, either derived experimentally

from older designs or from papers dating from as far back as the early part of the century, to

determine the stray losses on power transformers[2]. For the majority of standard designs

empirical relations have served as good gauges of eddy induced loss but for designs of

special transformers or units with very tight specification tolerances the same relations have

often proved to be inadequate. More specifically, it can be stated that in general the proper

evaluation of stray and/or tank losses requires more sophisticated analytical and

computational capabilities including electromagnetic field calculation.

The purpose of this paper is to present a detailed study of transformer tank losses. It is known

that these losses result from eddy currents induced by stray flux[3-5]. Consequently, tank

losses are affected by several factors such as; core magnetic loading, tank wall shapes and

thicknesses, clearance between tank walls and transformer active parts, in addition to tank

material magnetic and electric properties. While previous studies mainly focussed on

relatively large power transformers, this paper focusses on the stray loss investigation for

ratings below 100 MVA in part of comprehensive efforts aiming at maximizing efficiency of

such transformers. Using finite-element analysis the aforementioned aspects have been

investigated in order to deduce optimum tank configurations. Moreover, effectiveness of tank

shield sheets on the overall tank losses have also been investigated. Details of the proposed

study are given in the paper.

In order to accurately assess tank losses, a complete and thorough idea concerning leakage

flux through every part of each of its six walls should be known. This necessitates carrying

out a complete 3D electromagnetic field analysis of the whole transformer zone including its

active and non-active constituents. A typical transformer-tank configuration, indicating net

clearances between transformer active parts and different tank sides, is shown in Fig. 1.

TOP VIEW

h-w

h-t

h-l

Fig. 1. Typical transformer-tank configuration indicating net clearances between transformer

active parts and different tank walls

In Figure 1, the net clearance between the transformer active parts and that tank side, front

and top walls have been denoted by h _ w , h _ l and h _ t , respectively.

Based upon this configuration, 3D finite-element electromagnetic field analysis has been

utilized to investigate overall tank losses for original and modified dimensions. Moreover,

effect of introducing conductive tank wall shields has also been investigated. Sample results

of the carried out computational efforts are presented in the following Section.

By the aid of a commercially available 3D finite-element package, this task has been

performed for a typical 25 MVA, 66/11 KV, D/Y transformer. Tank dimensions and

clearances in accordance with Fig. 1, normalized with respect to the long tank side, are given

in Table I.

TABLE I

Tank Dimensions And Clearances Normalized With Respect To The Long Tank Side

Tank Width 0.320

Tank Height 0.643

Net Clearance To Side Wall h _ w 0.043

Net Clearance To Front Wall h _ l 0.102

Net Clearance To Upper Wall (i.e. Tank Cover) h _ t 0.036

For the tank dimensions under investigation, 3D electromagnetic field analysis have revealed

that most of the tank losses are concentrated in its side walls as shown in Fig. 2. It can be

easily inferred from this figure that the overall tank losses for the original tank configuration

is about 2850 W.

2400

1600

Losses (W)

800

0

Bottom Top Short Sides Long Sides

Fig. 2. Distribution of tank losses on its different walls for the original tank dimensions.

The impact of varying the net clearances between transformer active parts and various tank

walls have also been computationally investigated. Figs. 3-5 show how losses may change as

a result of changing h _ w , h _ l and h _ t , respectively, by 5% and 10% from their initial

values.

5% 10%

2400

1600

Losses (W)

800

0

Bottom Top Short Sides Long Sides

and 10%. Overall tank losses are about 2450 W and 2390 W, respectively.

5% 10%

2400

1600

Losses (W)

800

0

Bottom Top Short Sides Long Sides

and 10%. Overall tank losses are about 2780 W and 2810 W, respectively.

5% 10%

2400

1600

Losses (W)

800

0

Bottom Top Short Sides Long Sides

and 10%. Overall tank losses are about 2775 W and 2700 W, respectively.

Further computations have been also carried out to investigate the impact of shielding a tank

wall by a conductive material. More specifically, the impact of shielding the long tank sides

by 3 mm and 5 mm cooper shields were also investigated. Results of these computations are

given in Fig. 6.

3 mm 5 mm

480

360

Losses (W)

240

120

0

Bottom Top Short Sides Long Sides cu Shield

Fig. 6. Distribution of tank losses on its different walls as a result of shielding its long sides

by a copper sheets having thickness of 3 mm and 5 mm. Overall tank losses are about 1063

W and 920 W, respectively.

IV. CONCLUSIONS

Many important conclusions can be drawn from the computational results given in this paper.

First, it is clear that the bulk of the tank losses are concentrated in the side walls which have

the largest surface area as shown in Figs. 2-5. Hence, tank loss minimization should be

mainly focussed on the minimization of losses in these sides. Second, while it is always

assumed that increasing the clearance between the active parts and a tank wall should reduce

the overall tank losses, this assumption might not always be true. More specifically,

increasing the clearance with a certain wall should always result in a decrease in this

particular walls losses. However, the increase in this clearance might result in an increase in

another walls dimensions and, consequently, a potential increase in its losses. Net result

might be an increase or a decrease in the over all tank losses. This fact is clearly highlighted

by results given in Fig. 4, where a further increase in the clearance with the short side

resulted in an increase in the losses of the long side that exceeded the decrease in losses of the

short side. Third, shielding is extremely effective to dramatically reduce tank losses.

However, cost of shield and its loss minimization should be weighed economically.

Moreover, the shield thickness is not indicative of its loss elimination capabilities. For

instance, Fig. 6 shows that a 3 mm copper shield reduced the overall tank losses from 2850

W to 1063 W (i.e. 62.7% reduction). On the other hand a 5 mm copper shield (i.e. 66.66%

increase in the shield thickness) reduced the overall tank losses from 2850 W to 920 W (i.e.

67.7% reduction). This suggests that an optimum shield thickness, both financially and

technically, should be investigated while aiming at minimizing tank losses. Finally, it should

be stated that future efforts should also be targeted at investigating effects of magnetic shields

as well.

REFERENCES

[1] Saleh et. al., Estimation And Minimization Techniques Of Eddy Current Losses In

Transformer Winding, Paper No. 15-105, CIGRE 2002.

[2] S. Mamota, "Stray Load Losses in Transformers," Journ. Japanese Inst. Elect. Engnrs.,

No. 454, pp. 505-580, 1926.

[3] S. Holland et. al., "Calculating Stray Losses in power Transformers Using Surface

Impedance with Finite Elements," IEEE Trans. Magn., Vol. 28, pp. 1355-1358, 1992.

[4] Guerin et. al., "3D Eddy Current Losses Calculation in Transformer Tanks Using FE

Method," IEEE Trans. Magn., Vol. 29, pp. 1419-1422, 1993.

[5] Yongbin et. al., "Study on Eddy Current Losses and Shielding Measures in Large Power

Transformers," IEEE Trans. Magn., Vol. 30, pp. 3068-3071, 1994.

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