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International Journal of Students Research in Technology & Management

Vol 2 (02), March-April 2014, ISSN 2321-2543, pg. 64-66

DETECTION OF HOT SPOTS BY THERMAL


IMAGING TO PROTECT POWER EQUIPMENTS
S. Harishkumar1, V. Razick Mohammed 2, B. Mohammed Mujtaba3
Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
C. Abdul Hakeem College of Engineering & Technology, Vellore 632509, India
1
s.harishkumar11@gmail.com
2
mdrak@rediffmail.com
3
mujtabazabyan@gmail.com

Abstract— This paper aims at conducting automated periodical occurring due to poorly connected wires in a Low voltage
tests in a power plant or transformer and thus eliminates the risk line, these hot spots may lead to fire accidents.
of the damage caused by hot spots. Hot spots in an Industrial
plant are major hazards that may lead to the complete III. SEVERITY OF THE HOT SPOT LEADING TO ELECTRICAL
replacement of equipment if left undetected for a long time. The FIRE (A CASE STUDY PROVIDED BY THE TNEB)
principle of our paper is as follows - Any object above 0 K emits
infrared radiations. An infrared camera is a device that records  Consider an arcing fault in a 440 V switch board
such radiations emitted and the intensity of such radiations shall where the inter-space between the conductors could
represent the temperature of the source emitting those radiations. be 2-3 cm apart.
The image captured using Infrared camera is processed using  Once an arc is established across this space due to
Matlab to detect the temperature of the hot spot without direct reasons like dirt or Moisture Bridge or carbon
contact measurement. The temperature measured serves as a tracking, the arc voltage will build in the order of 60-
base to calculate the severity of the arcing that is developed and
65 volts and the corresponding arc current will be
thus commission the plant accordingly. The identification and the
possible elimination of Hot Spots in time can safeguard many a very high.
equipment in an industrial plant. It helps to avoid unscheduled  It is because the phase impedance under this
outages and the consequence monetary loss. Thus by prior condition will be low-in the order of one quarter
detection of the hot spots, the plant is safeguarded and entire ohm/phase (0.25 ohm/ph)
replacement of the plant components will be made obsolete.  So the arc current will be
I = V/R
Keywords— Hot Spot, Infrared, Matlab = (440-65)/0.2
= 375/0.25
I. INTRODUCTION I = 1500 Amp.
The instrument and the power transformer in the
substation require periodical maintenance inorder to avoid  The power content of this arc will be
the hazards that are initiated by hotspots. Schneider Electric P = V *I / 1000 KW
uses an handheld thermo graphic camera to produce a P = 65X1500/1000
thermo graphic image in which the different colours = 97.5 KW
indicates the temperature of the transformer. This concept P = 100 kW (approx).
motivated us to design an autonomous line following robot These arcing faults can raise the temperature of nearby
to examine the equipments in the substation through the conductors by 2500 degree Celsius. No wonder it will result
thermo graphic camera mounted over the line follower in on high cost losses.
order to take periodical test of presence of hotspot.
IV. MAMMOTH DESTRUCTIVE NATURE OF THE ARC
II. WHAT IS AN HOT SPOT?
The arc’s destructive power can be estimated from the
An electrical or insulation failure is accompanied by 2 relationship between length of arc and voltage across it as
events, production of acoustic pulses (sound) and increase in shown in Fig. 1.
temperature owing to heating. Both these will lead to energy
dissipation. There are many events that lead to such heat Within 10 cm of the arc length, the arc voltage has risen
production and these localized areas are popularly known as to approx 150 volts. If this trend continues, the arc voltage
hot spots or partial discharges in equipment insulation. will rise to a very high voltage thus causing explosion. So
These hot spots may glow emitting light radiation. When such a situation should be averted.

www.giapjournals.org/ijsrtm.html 64
International Journal of Students Research in Technology & Management
Vol 2 (02), March-April 2014, ISSN 2321-2543, pg. 64-66

 Hot spots are the primary cause for a major explosion


of electrical equipment.
 t is one of the main reasons for fai ure of current
transformer especia in ircuits

VII. ARCING
An arc generates a sparingly bright, white-hot light and
a pressure shockwave. The current of an arc depends on the
voltage available and the spacing of the conductors. While
Fig. 1 Arc voltage vs. arc length arcs can occur at any voltage and current, these arcs do most
of their damage in Low Voltage network mostly because of
230 KV Transformer explosion initiated by Hot Spots very high current availability.
(Fig. 2).
VIII. T IME CALCULATION
It is practically observed that the temperature gradually
increases over a period of time and the explosion/fire
accident takes place once the temperature attains and
remains at Fire point of the fluid (say Transformer oil) for at
least 5 seconds i.e. Practically once an in-line arc is
established. Time to ignition was observed to be 1:10 and
16:40 for mineral oil and R-Temp fluid, respectively.
IX. HOW TO DETECT IN ADVANCE
 A line tracer robot is made to move around the plant
periodically capturing thermal images.

Fig. 2 Explosion by Hot Spot

V. T IME PERIOD
Arcing faults are essentially high-impedance short
circuits in power supply systems. In more precise language,
an arcing fault may be defined as variable impedance
sustained luminous discharge of electrical power across a
gap in a circuit.
These discharges conduct sufficient current to
sustain an arc but remain below the trip threshold of circuit
breakers. They typically start as inline high-resistance
caused by a dirty or loose connection; this situation may be Fig. 3 Images of the transformer by optical camera and
sustained for days or weeks. The heat from the faulty thermal imaging camera
connection eventually melts the connection causing an in-
line arc. The in-line arc then jumps phase to generate white-
hot heat that melts and consumes the metal in switchgear in
a few seconds.
VI. SIGNIFICANCE OF HOT SPOTS
 Hot Spots are the source of High frequency waves
armonics
 When these waves pile up at a location, the will cause
the equipment damage by Resonance Phenomenon.
 Hot spots are indicators of impending failure of the
equipment.
 There are sources of electrical energy losses (loose
Fig. 4 Line Tracer that has been used
connections).

www.giapjournals.org/ijsrtm.html 65
International Journal of Students Research in Technology & Management
Vol 2 (02), March-April 2014, ISSN 2321-2543, pg. 64-66

 The thermal image is processed for high temperatures  These values are compared to reference values using
using image processing tool in Matlab if constructs and any abnormality is reported to
 If temperature is above maximum temperature fixed, control room using transmission via serial port (say).
the thermal image with its position and temperature is  s1=seria ‘com1’ ;
sent to control room engineer for remedy (Fig.3 and  fopen(s1);
Fig. 4).  fwrite(s1,<binary data format>) (Tab. 1);

TABLE 1
X. ANANLYSIS OF THERMAL IMAGE DIAGNOSTIC STUDIES ON HOT SPOTS

The colours in the thermo graphic image show the Equipment Diagnosis Remedy
Main cable High temperature Re-plug the phase and
temperature in the electrical equipment (transformer). termination inside in a phase lug and re-terminate the cable.
The temperature is high and dangerous, when the image power panel insulation Replace insulation.
Check for hot spots
is in red colour i.e., range of 37- 38 deg C. again.
Transformer High temperature Check the cooling oil
level and other areas
Bus bars inside High temperature Correct the bolting
PCC in a phase
indicating
improper loose
bolting
Moulded case High temperature Re lug the phase
Circuit Breaker in a particular properly and check
phase for hot spot again

Fig. 5 Temperature Range XIII. LINE FOLLOWER

Once, the temperature across equipment is found to be The ine fo ower used in the s stem doesn’t use an
above the critical temperature then the security system is infrared source to track the path, because the radiation may
alerted (Fig. 5). affect the performance of the system. So, an optical camera
is used to follow the line. The images captured by the optical
XI. PRINCIPLE OF THERMAL IMAGING camera are processed and the line is found. The line
The Stefan-Boltzmann law states every object at any follower is used only for the transportation of the system.To
specific temperature, T, will radiate energy is proportional get the top view of the power equipment, an explainer robot
to the fourth is used.

Power of the absolute temperature: T^4. XIV. APPLICATION

W = K.e.T4 The main application is to take periodic test in


substation in order to protect the electrical equipment
Where (Transformer) from explosion.
W - Radiant power emitted (W/m2) XV. CONCLUSION
K - Stefan-Boltzmann constant (5.69 W/m2K4) The identification and the possible elimination of Hot
e - object emissivity Spots in time can safeguard many a equipment in an
industrial plant. It helps to avoid unscheduled outages and
T - absolute temperature of object (K) the consequence monetary loss Thus by prior detection of
XII. PROCESSING the hot spots, the plant is safeguarded and entire replacement
of the plant components will be made obsolete. The
The matlab processing is accomplished as importance of IR camera in detecting Hot spots in a high
*Image=getsnapshot(teta); => captures the image to voltage substation is well established especially the
Matlab impending failure of CT s.

*image(i)(j) => yields a matrix of 3 values (RGB) REFERENCES


representing colour intensities at i row and j column [1] Hanselman and Littlefield, Mastering Matlab, pp. 557-665, 2012.
[2] Gilat, MATLAB: An Introduction with App ions, Version - 8e, 2011.
*image(i)(j)(1) => refers to red intensity value

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