Title page for ETD etd-05122003-161802

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lazarevich, Alison Kay
Author's Email Address alazarev@vt.edu
URN etd-05122003-161802
Title Partial Discharge Detection and Localization in High Voltage Transformers Using an Optical Acoustic Sensor
Degree Master of Science
Department Electrical and Computer Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wang, Anbo Committee Chair
Liu, Yilu Committee Member
Scales, Wayne A. Committee Member
  • Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA)
  • High Voltage Transformer (HVT)
  • Acoustic Emission
  • Partial Discharge (PD)
  • Hyperbolic Positioning
  • Fiber Optic Acoustic Sensor
Date of Defense 2003-05-12
Availability unrestricted
A partial discharge (PD) is the dissipation of energy caused by the buildup of localized electric field intensity. In high voltage devices such as transformers, this buildup of charge and its release can be symptomatic of problems associated with aging, such as floating components and insulation breakdown. This is why PD detection is used in power systems to monitor the state of health of high voltage transformers. If such problems are not detected and repaired, the strength and frequency of PDs increases and eventually leads to the catastrophic failure of the transformer, which can cause external equipment damage, fires and loss of revenue due to an unscheduled outage. Reliable online PD detection is a critical need for power companies to improve personnel safety and decrease the potential for loss of service.

The PD phenomenon is manifested in a variety of physically observable signals including electric and acoustic pulses and is currently detected using a host of exterior measurement techniques. These techniques include electrical lead tapping and piezoelectric transducer (PZT) based acoustic detection. Many modern systems use a combination of these techniques because electrical detection is an older and proven technology and acoustic detection allows for the source to be located when several sensors are mounted to the exterior of the tank. However, if an acoustic sensor could be placed inside the tank, not only would acoustic detection be easier due to the increased signal amplitude and elimination of multipath interference, but positioning could also be performed with more accuracy in a shorter time.

This thesis presents a fiber optic acoustic sensing system design that can be used to detect and locate PD sources within a high voltage transformer. The system is based on an optical acoustic (OA) sensor that is capable of surviving the harsh environment of the transformer interior while not compromising the transformer’s functionality, which allows for online detection and positioning. This thesis presents the theoretical functionality and experimental validation of a band-limited OA sensor with a usable range of 100-300 kHz, which is consistent with the frequency content of an acoustic pulse caused by a PD event. It also presents a positioning system using the time difference of arrival (TDOA) of the acoustic pulse with respect to four sensors that is capable of reporting the three-dimensional position of a PD to within ±5cm on any axis.

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