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Thermal Aging Properties of Pressboard in

Mineral Oil and Natural Ester

Jinhui Zhou1, Jian Li1*, Ruijin Liao1 Yandong Lv2,
State Key Laboratory of Power Equipment & System ALSTOM GRID Technology Center Co. Ltd.
Security and New Technology Shanghai, 201114, China
School of Electric Engineering
Chongqing University, Chongqing, 400044, China
* lijian@cqu.edu.cn

Abstract: This article aims to contrastively study the thermal natural ester has been gradually accepted as a substitute for
aging characters under different temperature between natural mineral oil filled transformers [1-3].
ester and mineral oil-pressboard insulation system. The thermal In this article, accelerated aging experiments at 130 C for
aging experiment was conducted with copper flat bars together in 80 days and 100 C for 220 days was conducted to investigate
a sealed stainless vessel at 130 C for 80 days, and at 100 C for the variation of basic physicochemical and electric
220 days separately. Some basic physicochemical and electric characteristics in two kinds of oil impregnated pressboard
characteristics of oil and cellulose varied with aging time, insulation system. The behaviors including moisture content in
including moisture content, acid value, viscosity, furfural content, oil and pressboard, furfural content ,viscosity, the AC
dielectric loss, AC breakdown voltage of oil, and the degree of breakdown voltage ,acidity, and dielectric loss of oil were
tested and analyzed.
polymerization were tested at each scheduled aging time. Results
showed that the value of moisture content and dielectric loss in
natural ester were higher than that of mineral oil, but it had a II. EXPERIMENTS
better insulation strength and service life. The insulation systems for this experiment are composed of
insulation oil and pressboard. A high performance mineral oil
Keywordsthermal aging; oil-paper insulation; nature ester;
(Nytro Gemini X) and an environment-friendly natural ester
mineral oil
(FR3) were used. Table I gives the essential characteristics of
Nytro Gemini X and FR3. The insulation pressboard with
I. INTRODUCTION thickness of 1 mm was cut into 80 mm diameter rounds.
The insulation performance quality and health level of oil-
immersed power transformer is directly related to the power TABLE I
grid safety and stability. CIGRE transformer cellulose aging of
insulation paper special team pointed out that the average
operating life of power transformer in most countries is 30 Parameter Gemin X FR3[5]
years or so. Therefore, determine the aging stage of Density (20 C)/ kgm -3
0.895 0.91
transformer oil-pressboard insulation especially the operation
Viscosity (40 C)/ mm2s-1 13.0 34.1
of more than 20 years is very important, which influences the
operation reliability and economy of the power grid. Pour point/ C -22 -21
Flash point/ C 135 316
At present, more and more transformers are facing
Acid value / mgKOHg-1 0.03 0.04
increasingly serious some problems about insulation aging,
Interfacial tension/ mNm 40 28
which makes the probability of accident increasing. Aging can
let the mechanical performance of transformer main insulation AC breakdown voltage/ kV 35 56
degradation, and make insulating paper mechanical damage Dissipation factor(90 C)/ % 0.1 0.89
and insulating ability loss, eventually causes an accident. Volume resistivity/ m 11012 41010

Although the transformer oil-paper insulation aging is the Relative permittivity 2.2 3.0
comprehensive result of multiple factors, the life of the
transformer main insulation is actually mainly determined by Three steps were taken to achive the whole experiment
the thermal aging, moreover, thermal aging is the most process. First, a proper weight ratio as 1:3:10 of insulating
important factor in many aging factors. pressboard, copper flat bars and oils were dried respectively in
a vacuum chamber at 50 Pa and 90 C for two days. The
Furthermore, the social environment is in the health, safety pressboard and copper were placed in oil at 50 Pa and 40 C
and environmental development and the potentially liability for one day. Then, the stainless vessel was sealed with nitrogen
risks in transformer outages or fires have always been a general and accelerated thermal aging experiments were carried out
concern. In this case, due to a strong natural degradation ability respectively at 100 C for 220 days and 130 C for 80 days.
and high fire points, the
978-1-5090-0496-6/16/$31.00 2016 IEEE
Finally, when it reaches the scheduled aging periods, the Under the aging condition of different temperatures,
samples were taken out for test. moisture content of pressboard roughly had the same trend.
They both increased in the first stage of aging and then slightly
III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS decreased. Because the different affinity to moisture of the two
kinds of oil, the migration degree of water from pressboard to
A. Moisture content in oil oil differs, which leads to the moisture content of nature ester-
pressboard significantly lower.
In oil-pressboard insulation, moisture is an important factor
making the insulation life reducing [8]. According to the
standard IEC 60814, moisture content in oil was tested by C. Acid value in oil
DO308 drying furnace and DL32 Karl fischer coulomb Acid was mainly produced through the aging
titration. Figure 1 shows the results of the moisture content in decomposition of oil-pressboard insulation, and acid value
oil. Because of a greater affinity for moisture in natural ester [4, reflected the aging degree of the insulation oil. It was tested
6], it is several to more than ten times than moisture content in referred to ASTM D974.
mineral oil both under the two kinds of temperature. Figure 3 gives the relation of acid value of natural ester and
mineral oil with aging duration. At different aging conditions,
nature ester has a higher acid value. Because a strong ability to
hydrolysis in natural ester, which releases fatty acids, and these
high molecular acids seems that have no effect on the
pressboard aging observably [10]. Meanwhile it can be
observed that the acid value of natural ester increased
dramatically in the first stage of aging and then increased
slightly both at the 100 C and 130 C.

Figure 1. Moisture content in oil versus aging time

B. Moisture content in pressboards

The variation of moisture in pressboards is given in Figure
2. The moisture in oil-pressboard insulation system was
primarily produced by the hydrolysis of cellulose in pressboard,
and it leaded to further degradation of insulating oil. In the
process of aging, moisture moved between the pressboard and
oil to reach dynamic balance on the basis of relative saturation. Figure 3. Acid value versus aging time

D. Viscosity
In the transformer, oil plays a dual role of insulation and
circulating cooling, and the viscosity of oil is an important
index of indicating insulating oil cooling performance [7]. In
this paper, with reference to the standard ISO 3104.
Viscometer is used to measure the viscosity of oil, and the test
results were shown in Figure 4. It is obvious to see that natural
ester has greater viscosity compared to mineral oil. During the
aging phase, the viscosity of each oil has slightly increased, but
the degree is not obvious. Therefor the aging degree and
temperature have a little influence on the viscosity of
insulating oil.

E. Furan content
In oil-paper insulation system, the polymerization degree
Figure 2. Moisture content in pressboard versus aging time (DP) is considered to be one of the most direct method of
evaluating the aging stage of insulation pressboard [9], but this
parameter cannot be online accessed in the field running F. Dielectric loss
transformer. Dielectric loss at different aging duration under different
Research shows that furfural is generated by the aging temperatures was testes and the variation are plotted in Figure
decomposition of insulation pressboard, and the furfural 6. Because the natural ester liquid contains a large number of
content in oil can indirectly reflect the DP of insulating paper, polar groups, the initial value of dielectric loss is higher. The
so it is an important index of transformer insulation condition dielectric loss of natural ester increases drastically while the
on-line monitoring and evaluation [10]. mineral oil remains stable.

G. AC breakdown voltage of oil

Breakdown voltage is an important parameter reflected the
dielectric strength of insulating oil, which is used to measure
the ability of insulation oil to withstand voltage inside the
electrical equipment. The measure of the insulating oil AC
breakdown voltage is referred to IEC 60156, and the results are
presented in Figure 7.
As the aging degree of deepening, the breakdown voltage
of two kinds of oils both gradually decrease. But the electrical
strength of natural ester is invariably higher than that of
mineral oil. It is therefore important to note that nature ester
has higher values of dielectric loss without making for little
deterioration in the strength of electric.

Figure 4. Viscosity vary versus aging time

Figure 7. AC breakdown voltage of oil versus aging time

Figure 5. Furfural content versus aging time IV. CONCLUSIONS

Accelerated aging experiment was conducted at 130 C for
80 days and 100 C for 220 days to investigate the variation of
some basic electrical, physical, chemical properties of
pressboard impregnated separately in mineral oil and natural
ester during aging process. The following conclusions can be
Because of a strong moisture affinity, the natural ester has
higher moisture content in oil than mineral oil during the
thermal aging duration. But the moisture content of pressboard
impregnated natural ester is significantly lower, which makes
natural ester-paper insulation system have a longer insulation
life, and in the result of the furfural content can also reflect this
The trend of viscosity versus aging time is not obvious.
During the aging duration, the dielectric loss and acid value of
Figure 6. Dielectric loss versus aging time natural ester is approximately several times and even more
than that of mineral oil. But the AC breakdown voltage of [4] K. J. Rapp, C. P. McShane and J. Luksich, Interaction mechanisms of
natural ester is higher, which reflected that the natural ester has natural ester dielectric fluid and Kraft paper, IEEE Intl. Conf. Dielectr.
Liquids, Portugal, pp. 393-396, 2005.
a better electrical strength during the whole aging stage. [5] IEEE Guide for Acceptance and Maintenance of Natural Ester Fluids in
Transformers, C57.147-2008, IEEE, 2008.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT [6] R. Girgis, M. Bernesjo and G. K. Frimpong, Detailed Performance of a
50 MVA Transformer filled with a Natural Ester Fluid versus Mineral
The authors expressing gratitude to the Foundation for Oil, Paper A2-107, CIGRE Conf., Paris, France, 2010.
Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science [7] J. Hajek, J. Kranenborg, P. Sundqvist, R. Jonsson, T. Skytt, B.
Foundation of China (Grant No. 51321063) and ALSTOM Samuelsson, R. Asano Jr., G. K. Frimpong and R. Girgis,
Considerations for the Design, Manufacture, and Retro filling of
GRID Technology Center Co. Ltd., the 111 Project of the Power Transformers with High Fire Point, Biodegradable Ester Fluids
Ministry of Education, China (Grant No. B08036). Paper A2-203, CIGRE Conf., Paris, 2012.
[8] Liao Ruijin, Sang Fumin, Liu Gang, et al. Study on neutral acid
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