Power transformer is one of the most important and expensive equipment in a power system. Its reliability directly affects a power system. To ensure the reliable operation of a power transformer, its condition needs to be continuously monitored and evaluated. Over the past two decades, a number of diagnostic techniques have been developed for transformer condition assessment such as dissolved gas analysis (DGA), degree of polymerization (DP) measurement, polarization and depolarization current (PDC) measurement, frequency domain spectroscopy (FDS), frequency response analysis (FRA), and partial discharge (PD) detection. However, the interpretations of measurement results acquired from these diagnostics are usually based upon the empirical models, which are sometimes inaccurate and incomplete especially in abnormal transformer operation scenarios. Therefore, accurate interpreting on the measurement data obtained by the above techniques and subsequently making explicit condition assessment of transformers is still a challenge task.
Nowadays, considerable efforts have been made in the field of transformer condition monitoring and assessment. Majority efforts are dedicated in developing accurate transformer models and reliable transformer fault diagnosis systems. After completing a comprehensive literature review on various diagnostic techniques for transformers condition assessment, this thesis focuses on three main aspects of transformer’s health condition, including oil characteristics and dissolved gases in transformers, moisture concentration of oil-cellulose insulation and hot spot temperature of transformer windings.
Since there is a lack of common framework for applying pattern recognition algorithms (i.e. data centric approaches) to interpret oil characteristics and DGA data, this thesis firstly provides a critical review on various pattern recognition techniques for power transformer insulation diagnosis using DGA and oil characteristics datasets. A general pattern recognition application framework is then proposed. The important issues for improving the applicability of pattern recognition techniques for transformer insulation diagnosis are also discussed.
To improve the data quality of training database and enhance the diagnostic accuracy of pattern recognition algorithms, a hybrid algorithm, SMOTEBoost is proposed. It adopts Synthetic Minority Over-sampling Technique (SMOTE) to handle the class imbalance problem, where samples belonging to different fault types (insulation conditions) are unevenly distributed in the training database. By using the boosting approach for reweighting and grouping data points in the training database, the SMOTEBoost can facilitate pattern recognition algorithms consistently attaining desirable diagnosis accuracies.
To solve the intricate difficulties in moisture estimation of transformer oil-cellulose insulation system, this thesis introduces two modelling approaches, i.e., multi-physics finite element modelling (FEM) and particle tracing method, where the temperature dependent moisture dynamics in transformers’ insulation system is taken into account. In multi-physics approach, moisture dynamics is modelled by coupling the electromagnetic, thermal, fluid flow and moisture migration physics simultaneously. In particle tracing method, moisture diffusion is formulated from a microscopic view of water molecules’ motion. Especially, the transmission probability of water molecules (termed as particles in the paper) is employed to correlate the microscopic particles’ motion with the macroscopic moisture distribution. Extensive ageing and moisture diffusion experiments have been conducted on a prototype transformer to verify the proposed modelling approaches for an accurate estimation of moisture in transformers.
This thesis also proposes a distributed parameter model to investigate the effect of moisture dynamics on dielectric response of a transformer’s cellulose insulation. The correlation between moisture distribution (under non-equilibrium conditions due to thermal transients) and dielectric response parameters (dielectric losses and permittivity) of transformer cellulose insulation is revealed. The proposed methodology can help the proper interpretation of dielectric response measurement of field transformers under thermal transients.
To overcome the inaccuracy in empirical thermal dynamic models, in this thesis a moisture dependent thermal model (MDTM) is developed for estimating transformer’s hot spot temperature. In this model, nonlinear thermal resistance is formulated by considering both oil and cellulose (paper and pressboard) of the transformer. Especially, the effect of moisture concentration and hot spot temperature on the thermal resistance of cellulose is taken into account. The proposed MDTM is verified by using historical data of moisture-in-oil and temperature measurements on an in-service vegetable oil-filled transformer.
To integrate every piece of data and information obtained from different transformer diagnostic measurements and subsequently evaluating the overall health condition of a transformer, this thesis proposes a data and information fusion framework based on Bayesian Network (BN). Within the Bayesian Network, Monte Carlo and Bootstrap methods are employed to extract the most informative characteristics regarding transformer condition from different diagnostic measurements. Results of case studies demonstrate that the proposed data and information fusion framework can evaluate the effectiveness of combinations of different diagnostic measurements and subsequently facilitate determining optimal diagnostic strategies involved in transformer condition assessment. It is expected that the data centric diagnostic approaches developed in this thesis can provide an accurate modelling and reliable assessment of transformer’s health condition.