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# The 19th International Symposium on High Voltage Engineering, Pilsen, Czech Republic, August, 23 28, 2015

## RELIABILITY OF ELECTRICAL INSULATING SYSTEMS

STATISTICAL APPROACH TO EMPIRICAL ENDURANCE MODELS
1
M. Svoboda, P. Trnka, L.Harvnek, J. Hornak
Dept. of Technologies and Measurement
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of West Bohemia
Pilsen, Czech Republic
*Email: michal88@ket.zcu.cz

Abstract: Reliability of electrical appliances is long term observed parameter. There has
been always conflict of interest; however the idea conflict is still sharpening. While end
users require reliable operation (especially continuous energy supply), operators of power
apparatus face reduction of funds for the repair and maintenance. Managers form their
economical point of view try to reduce costs of new assets and operating costs of current
assets. This leads to increasing demands on diagnostics and prognostics. As physical,
empirical and statistical models are involved, it is possible to predict the behavior of
operated assets and though to plan the service activities. The more precise these models
are, the more accurate is the prognosis.
For prognosis of insulation system reliability, usually empirical and statistical models are
involved. The empirical part came from accelerated aging tests. One or more degradation
mechanisms are affecting the samples under test. The level of degradation factors must
be elevated, so the end of life is achieved in significantly shorter time, than in real
operation. So called endurance curves are obtained and sample performance in lower
stress is estimated. The paper presents completion of such empirical tests with probability
calculations. As there is always variation between samples and also variation caused by
manufacturing process, mathematical statistics helps in lifetime calculations and brings
the quantification of error and reliability.

## 1 INTRODUCTION These indexes are intended by law in each

country, so transmission systems operators must
An integral quality of electrical energy is its fulfill these requirements.
continuous supply. Interrupts and related
characteristics are standardized to align the Interruptions are basically caused by weather
terminology and help in energy regulation. disfavor and asset outages. While the weather can
Standard EN 50160 [1] specifies the voltage not be influenced, so interruptions arise when
characteristics such as frequency, variations and natural disasters arrives, however asset outages
fluctuations of voltage, rapid changes and short- may be predicted and avoided, which is the task
term and long-term interruptions. Each country has for asset management and maintenance service.
national energy regulatory office, which monitors
and evaluates interrupts. Generally interruptions In operation, all power energy assets are aging,
longer than 3 minutes are included in the voltage both physically and morally. Physical aging is
quality analysis. The distribution system operator continuous irreversible processes that cause
must keep records of interruption, which must permanent changes in the structure and properties
indicate the origin, causes and duration of of object subsystems and elements. Usually
interruptions. dielectric subsystem is observed, because it is the
most sensitive to degradation phenomena. These
Several types of interruptions are distinguished [1]: degradation processes can be classified according
to the mechanism as:
CAIDI - Customer Average Interruption
Duration Index Temperature
CAIFI - Customer Average Interruption Mechanical
Frequency Index Electrical
SAIDI - System Average Interruption Other
Duration Index
SAIFI - System Average Interruption Generally electrical machines are stressed by all
Frequency Index these factors simultaneously; however one or
ASAI - Average Service Availability Index some of them may be dominant. The situation is
MAIFI - Momentary Average Interruption more complex due to synergistic effect of these
Frequency Index degradation processes. If more factors act at the
same time, their influence is not a simple arithmetic 2.2 Aging with continuous parameter
sum, but the machine is aging significantly faster. measuring

## 2 ACCELERATED LABORATORY AGING This procedure is suitable for non-destructive

testing. Various parameters may be observed
To describe and quantify aging of electrical during aging, in case of electrical aging it may be
machines, accelerated laboratory aging tests are dissipation factor, relative permittivity change,
performed on both materials and stocks. The absorption and resorption currents and others.
principle of these tests is to get the information Based on experience, a suitable criterion must be
about degradation in sufficiently short time set, for which the material does not fulfill the
compared to real operation of the material. As requirements. Usually insulation resistance or
power assets are designed for 30 years of dissipation factor values are set; and when the
continuous operation, it is evident that material material samples reach the criterion value, the test
testing cannot take comparable time. To reach the is evaluated.
(stressing) is applied. 3 SETTING OF EXPERIMENT

Accelerated laboratory aging tests are used for the At the beginning, experiment must be properly
qualitative and quantitative description of aging. planned and prepared. If necessary, a short pretest
Their purpose is the faster aging of material then in conducted prior to experiment should provide
possible to predict the life of the insulation system Thermal aging test is described in IEC 60216
in a relatively short time compared to the life of the Chyba! Nenalezen zdroj odkaz., where setting
electric machine. These tests must affect the of experiment is further determined. Similar guide
material by the same physical mechanism as the can be found in IEEE Std 98-1984 [4]. The integral
degradation in operation. If the loading of material part is to properly choose stress levels so the end
is extreme, it could degrade by other physical of life is reached in reasonably short time, while
mechanisms, so the test loses its explanatory preserving identical degradation mechanism. As
power. endurance curve can be made up two points,
standard suggest to use minimum three points. Of
Accelerated laboratory aging can be performed in course the more points are obtained (the more
two ways, the samples are being measured during stress levels are applied to particular samples), the
the defined aging (e.g. temperature aging) or they more information carry the test.
are aged until failure (e.g. electrical aging).
Each experiment is subjected to many errors. One
2.1 Aging to failure of them is an error in stress level setting. Assuming
no systematic error (this could be minimized by
Aging to failure is a destructive test during which proper test apparatus design and adjusting), there
the time to failure of sample is usually observed. is always a random error, which can be minimized
Samples are subjected to particular stress level by more test points (see Fig. 2, Fig. 3).
and time is measured to the moment when the
observed property is insufficient. A typical example Values influenced with error
is electrical aging to breakdown (see Fig. 1). Correct values
Time to end of life [h]

Stress level

## Figure 2: Example of regression error caused by

random error of one point out of three
Figure 1: Example of a aging to failure,
transformer paper samples, width 1mm, electrical
aging, AC, 50Hz, n=5
Values influenced with error 2) The more stress levels are to be applied
Correct values (the more set of samples are tested), the less
samples should be at each level (in each set).
Time to end of life [h]

## 3) The higher is variability (based on pre-

test), the higher number of samples is necessary

## 4) The bigger are the samples (and

electrodes), the less samples are necessary
(especially for non-homogenous materials)

## 4.1 Testing outliers

Stress level
The first task when data are collected is to test
Figure 3: Example of regression error caused by outliers. Due to random errors (in setting the stress
random error of one point out of five level, measuring the time to end of life, variation of
material dimensions and properties) and stochastic
As aging phenomena is described by exponential nature of aging tests, sometimes outliers occur.
probability distribution, usually exponential There is a variety of tests to point out outlier value
regression curve is used for experimental data (Grubbs test, Dixons test, 4s test, Shapiro-
fitting. In general two ways are possible. The first Wilson test and others). In general all of them are
option uses transformation of one coordinate (axis) applicable for normal distribution of samples; the
and linear function for regression. The second way decision depends on the expert who evaluates the
uses directly non-linear exponential regression. test. This procedure requires certain experience as
This can be easily solved numerically. Following there is a great level of uncertainty. The value
equation is used for exponential model: suspected to be outlier may be out of others
because of random error or because of physical

2 (1) nature. Neglecting such a value results in loosing
Yi aebxi
n
S ( a, b) information carried by the test. Therefore a great
i 1 experience in testing and also good knowledge of
phenomena acting in the material structure are
where: required to highlight the outlier. These tests are
more to promote test performer, so he can lean on
S(a,b) is the criterion function (sum of squared them and support its decision. Grubbs test should
residuals) be explained as an example:
Yi are measured values
(2)
max Y Y
i 1,..., N
i
G
s
Theoretical explanation is more complex, however
further information and error estimation formulas where:
can be found [4].
Yi are measured values
The only issue of this procedure is convergence. Y is sample mean
As every numerical method, it is necessary to s is standard deviation
estimate starting conditions. If they are not chosen
properly, the method should not converge to
correct solution.
Than G value is compared with table (for particular
Another issue of setting accelerated aging number of tested samples and particular
experiment is the choice of number of points for significance level ) [5] and signed as belonging to
particular stress level. In general the more points set or as outlier.
are available, the better for accuracy. However it
should be very demanding on experimental Another possibility is to use box plots. Modern
material. Following can be generalized: statistical software offers using box plots to
graphically visualize basic statistic indicators. An
1) The basic number of samples for statistic example is shown on Fig. 4
evaluation is 10 at each level of stress.
oil-paper breakdown
2 3
measured values
regression curve
2.5
lower confidence interval, = 0.1%
1.5
lower confidence interval, = 1%
time to end of life [h]

## 2 lower confidence interval, = 5%

lower confidence interval, = 10%

## time to end of life [h]

1
1.5

1
0.5

0.5
0
2.4134 3.2476 3.605 3.9029 4.5583 4.7371 4.9158 5.1541 0
field intensity E [kV/mm]

-0.5
1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5 5.5 6
Figure 4: An example of boxplot created in Matlab; electrical field intensity [kV/mm]
circle median, thick line 25 and 75 percentiles,
whiskers extreme data points, dots - outliers
Figure 5: Regression curve for paper- oil samples
aged to breakdown, lower confidence interval
displayed at different levels of significance level
= (0,1; 1; 5; 10) %.
4.2 Confidence intervals
The level of significance is chosen according to
When outliers are excluded, a simple regression
particular application. For small machines, where a
may be performed as was shown (1). Such a
certain percentage of failure is acceptable, it is
procedure gives a regression curve on which a
possible to choose higher significance level , so
mean value of particular set of samples should be
economical costs can be lowered. On contrary
located. However for proper dimensioning and
large generators must be designed with high
design of insulation materials a mean value is not
reliability, so it is necessary to pick the strictest
sufficient. If an insulating element would be
criteria. Furthermore these interval estimations
dimensioned to mean value according to this
enable comparison between materials, especially
procedure, it would last till calculated end of life
in term of variability.
with 50% probability. Hence an information about
5 CONCLUSION
Usually accelerated aging test results in regression
curve which is possible to extrapolate to obtain Empirical models over the time proven its ability to
time to end of life for lower stresses. As there is no describe electric insulation material aging, hence
they are widely used in electrical engineering. As
information about variability at low stresses,
interval estimations are rather utilized to predict stronger efforts are paid to increasing performance
material behavior with particular level of certainty. of electrical machines, it is necessary to push
Generally not mean time to end of life is searched materials to its limits, while preserving reliability.
(the time when 50% of samples fail) but the time, Proper statistical evaluation of experimental data
when the first fails. As electrical machine can work is a key task that enables correct dimensioning of
electrical insulation elements and systems.
until first insulation element fails. Thus interval
estimations are involved, especially lower Statistical tools and understanding of stochastic
confidence interval, which describes that the behavior may help in design of experiments as well
material will last longer than the subjected curve as during their evaluation.
with probability 1-. The lower is the parameter,
the higher is the probability that the sample exceed ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
the estimate curve. However choosing very low This research has been supported by the
significance level yields also very low estimate, European Regional Development Fund and the
see Fig. 5. Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the
Czech Republic under the Regional Innovation
Centre for Electrical Engineering (RICE), project
No. CZ.1.05/2.1.00/03.0094 and grant No. SGS-
2015-020 "Technology and Material Systems in
Electrical Engineering.
REFERENCES
[1] EN 50160: July 2010. Voltage characteristics
of electricity supplied by public electricity
networks
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453-6, July 2011
[3] IEC 60216-1:2013 Electrical insulating
materials - Thermal endurance properties -
Part 1: Ageing procedures and evaluation of
test results
[4] IEEE Std 98-1984, Standard for the
Preparation of Test Procedures for the Thermal
Evaluation of Solid Electrical Insulating
Materials," 2002
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http://ipnpr.jpl.nasa.gov/progress_report/42-
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