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Electric Generators: Potential Problems and Recommended Solutions

by William G. Moore, P.E.

Core Lamination Migration


x

Problem:
Loss of compression allows laminations to vibrate High cycle fatigue cracks lamination Failed lamination migrates into coil ground wall insulation causing ground fault

Core Lamination Failure


x

Aging Mechanism:
Loss of core compression due to bolt mechanical stretch Shrinkage of lamination insulation due to time and temperature

Stator core teeth

Failed lamination protruding from tooth

Preventive Measures
Check core clamping bolt torque x Every 5 years or major outage x 80% of original OEM values 150 psi
x

Preventive - Knife Test


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Check for core looseness: 10 mil thick blade should not go more than 1/4

Core Plating Deterioration


x

Problem/Aging Mechanism:
Loss of compression over time allows laminations to vibrate Thin coating on lamination wears away Laminations create short circuit, additional heating, possible melting

Preventive Measures
x x

Good visual inspection Look for damaged laminations that may be shorted Rotor removal and reinstallation often can damage laminations Foreign objects: balance weights, nuts, washers, etc. Local Repairs

Preventive - Core Loop


x x

x x

Excite core to rated flux density Wait one hour for heat to soak through View with infra-red Locations 10C above average core temperature should be corrected Need High Voltage

Preventive - El Cid
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Excite core to only 4% of rated flux density Search coil on trolley detects any interlaminar circulating currents 100 -200 milliamp action threshold Uses 110 vac

Stator Winding Failure


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Problem: Unit tripped off line at full load with electricity selling @ over $1000 per MWHr

Conductor Strand Fatigue


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Aging Mechanism: Mechanical Stress High Cycle Fatigue Cracking of Conductor Strand Vibration increases as blocking and bracing loosens

Open circuit due to melted copper strands

Preventive Measures
x

Visually inspect for dusting, greasing, signs of movement Phase to phase resistance check Flag if more than 3% unbalance Standard winding electrical tests

Preventive - Bump Testing


x

Checks for local and global natural frequencies near the 120 hz double operating frequency End winding can be stiffened after test results

Insulation Failure
Problem: Extensive PD (partial discharge) cause deterioration of ground wall insulation x Also can act internally
x

PD - Corona Attack
x

Aging Mechanism: High voltage, time, air, small gaps, coil spacing - all can be PD factors
Areas of corona/partial discharge

Preventive Measures
x

Visual inspection for signs of partial discharge


White powder Pitting in surface of insulation Phase to phase discharge

Application of special corona suppression treatments

Preventive - PD Measuring Equipment


x

Corona Probe - can detect localized corona such as slot discharge hand held - voltage on winding SSC - Stator Slot Couplers - detects partial discharge in winding Bus Couplers - put on main buses

Stator Winding Failure


x

Problem: Relative movement between bar and brace wore through insulation and hollow conductor

EXPOSED TUBE

DAMAGE TO CONDUCTORS WORN DOWN WALL

Aging Mechanism: Thermal forces on oil cooled conductor. Damage due to bar movement against the end turn support. Hollow conductor wall is worn through.

Preventive - Coil Radially Tight


x

x x

Ripple Springs Provide Radial Pre-load Force on Coil Should be Compressed 80% As Coil Insulation Creeps, Radial Follow-up Maintains Coil Tightness Radial Pressure Should be Maintained at least two times Steady State Slot Pounding Forces
www.national-electric -coil.com

Map/Evaluate Wedge Tightness


x

Adwel wedge tightness tester Takes the human error of hand held tap testing w/ hammer Set calibration different ways

Preventive Measures
Visual inspection for damaged insulation, cracks in paint, dusting greasing x Retrofit bracing system to allow for relative movement
x

Restack of Generator Core


x

New core with new lamination steel, lower losses, optimized slot for maximum copper

Rewind with New Coils


x

New coils with maximum copper and optimized arrangement for maximum output, highest efficiency, and lowest losses

Generator Rotor Problems

Rotor Vibration Level Increase


x

Shorted Turns due to insulation deterioration or copper displacement can cause high vibration Blocked ventilation passages can create heating unbalance and vibration Cracked Components such as rotor copper turns, retaining rings, and fans can cause high vibration or more severe damage Rotor grounds can cause forging damage and severe rotor vibration

Rotor Insulation Deterioration


x

Rotor winding insulation gradually deteriorates over time, due to repeated temperature and stress cycles.

Shorted Turns
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Over time, top turns can elongate to the point where they short with other turns.

Shorted Turns
x

Turn insulation can migrate, if not properly bonded, causing shorts.

Shorted Turns
x

Sometimes, whole groups of turns elongate, causing turn to turn shorting.

These turns are distorted

Rotor with Shorted Turns


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Shorted turns may affect the rotor balance. Shorts can be detected by certain stationary electrical tests, such as a pole drop measurement. Shorts can be detected on line by a flux probe test as shown here. Difference in Peak Magnitude indicates a short.

Top Turn Cracking


Most susceptible on spindle mount retaining rings x Can replace top turns with a special fatigue resistant alloy
x

Copper Turn Fatigue Cracking


x

Fatigue crack in copper turn Can lead to arcing and burning, causing shorts and unbalance

Copper Turn Deformation


x

Slot Wedge Radius Too Large at Ends Deformation Prevents Free Expansion and Contraction of Coils Thermal Bowing Forces Cause Unbalance

Copper Turn Deformation

Deformation Between Wedges

Blocked Ventilation Passages


x x

Insulation or copper move Vent passages blocked by dirt or debris Cooling not balanced, get uneven heating, creates thermal bow

Rotor - Blocked Ventilation Hole


Resulting from twisting of retaining ring and migration of insulation.

Rotor Rewind to Correct Problems


x

If unbalance is severe due to shorted turns, cracked copper, blocked passageways, a rotor rewind using the old copper but new insulation may be necessary.

Retaining Ring Cracking


x

18.5 retaining rings (nonmagnetic) are susceptible to SCC and should be inspected or replaced

Retaining Ring Cracking


x

Hydrogen embrittlement of magnetic retaining rings Rings manufactured before 1960 Hardness greater than 350 BHN Operate in a hydrogen environment

Fan Cracking
x

Fan cracking can cause significant vibration and more severe damage Occurring more frequently on rotor repairs and rewinds that NEC has been involved in

Fan Cracking
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Specific fan cracking problems linked with certain OEMs

Fan Cracking
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This manufacturer has generic fan failure problem Failure of these style fans has occurred numerous times Replacement design includes reduced # of blades - thicker

Fan Cracking
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Aluminum fan blade from older OEM machine Aluminum becomes embrittled Impossible to repair or replace on kind

Fan Replacements
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New fans designed and manufactured to replace old style High strength alloyed steel Superior performance

Running Grounds
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A running ground can be frustrating to locate The migrated bottom steel runner deflects upwards and grounds to the bottom turn only under centrifugal forces

Rotor Grounds
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A double ground will cause current to flow through the rotor Severe forging damage can result This rotor was scrapped due to the extensive forging damage

Grind & Nital Etch


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x x x

Smaller burn marks and arcing damage can be repaired Nital Etch to identify the hardened material Grind Carefully Re-test Stress Analysis

Tooth Top Cracking


x x

ECT, MPT Small Cracks Enlarge Fillet Re-inspect Large Cracks Machine off Longer RR

Extensive Forging Damage


x

This rotor was energized at standstill Severe forging damage mostly isolated to the tooth top area Forging was saved

Repairs to Forging Damage

Return to Service
x

Hardened material mapped and identified Hardened material machined away New, longer retaining rings installed