Dissolved Gas Analysis of Insulating Transformer Oil Using Optical Fiber

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Virginia Tech

The power industry relies on high voltage transformers as the backbone of power distribution networks. High voltage transformers are designed to handle immense electrical loads in hostile environments. Long term placement is desired, however by being under constant heavy load transformers face mechanical, thermal, and electrical stresses which lead to failures of the protection systems in place. The service life of a transformer is often limited by the life time of its insulation system. Insulation failures most often develop from thermal faults, or hotspots, and electrical faults, or partial discharges. Detecting hotspots and partial discharges to predict transformer life times is imperative and much research is focused towards these topics. As these protection systems fail they often generate gas or acoustic signals signifying a problem. Research has already been performed discovering new ways integrate optical fiber sensors into high voltage transformers. This thesis is a continuation of that research by attempting to improve sensor sensitivity for hydrogen and acetylene gasses. Of note is the fabrication of new hydrogen sensing fiber for operation around a larger absorption peak and also the improvement of the acetylene sensor's light source stability. Also detailed is the manufacturing of a field testable prototype and the non-sensitivity testing of several other gasses. The developed sensors are capable but still could be improved with the use of more powerful and stable light sources.

Optical fiber sensing, Dissolved gas analysis, Hydrogen sensor, Acetylene sensor, Transformer monitoring