Its common knowledge that transformer oil consumption will only continue to grow exponentially and globally in the years to come. Particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, specifically, India and China, are where the major players of the transformer oil industry are as a result of the growth of electric networks leading to an increase in electrical transformer installation and enhancement, which clearly explains the high demand for transformer oil.
For that reason, transformers have to be specially taken care of to maintain the health condition of the equipment and avoid malfunctions.
Below, you will find out all that you need to know about transformer oil testing.
Transformer Oil Testing
Transformer oil is essential in the cooling process of electrical equipment like transformers and requires periodical testing as it will slowly deteriorate and more importantly, to make sure it can still function properly over time.
In a typical transformer oil analysis, an oil sample is taken out of the transformer and is carefully tested to check for any potential future problems. Such a test will usually happen in a laboratory or on-site, where the use of portable test equipment is present instead.
The Process Of Transformer Oil Testing
Ensuring your transformer is at its best condition all the time on your own can be a little tough. Instead of toughing it out, you can always go for an annual maintenance program.
The standard process of transformer oil testing will comprise of these five crucial parts:
1. Electrical Breakdown
Measuring the dielectric strength, or in other words, the Breakdown Voltage (BDV) of transformer oil is crucial in ensuring that power transformers remain fully operational.
To put it simply, the higher the dielectric strength, the better, as it means the transformer will have greater electrical resistance to make sure it does not malfunction easily. The dielectric strength is primarily determined by the presence of water, acids and other types of contaminants.
As a result, it is vital to make sure the transformer oil does not comprise any such contaminants.
A higher accumulation of sludge in a transformer will potentially cause it to deteriorate and work even poorly in the future. Usually, the formation of sludge is due to the buildup of acid as a result of oxidation in the oil.
Doing this test will help to identify the level of acid that can be found in the oil, and it is a great idea to determine it before the condition of the transformer becomes worse.
3. Surface Tension
This particular test is used to identify the presence of polar compounds. It will allow one to spot oxidation contaminates or deterioration from the transformer materials, for instance, varnish, paint or paper.
Ultimately, it will allow you to see if the insulation is in the typical ageing condition or in accelerating ageing condition as a result of oxidation.
4. Colour Of The Oil
One of the easiest ways to determine the condition of the transformer is to test the colour of the oil as it indicates the age, quality and presence of contaminants.
Typically, if the oil is orange, yellow or to some extent red in colour, it would mean that it still pretty fresh and is still functioning properly. On the other hand, a deep brown colour will mean that its time for you to change the oil.
5. Moisture Content
Your moisture or water content will ultimately affect the dielectric strength and in turn, cause a decrease in the effectiveness of the transformer.
The water content in the paper is extremely crucial as a transformer with a moisture content of less than one percent, can typically last up to 40 years. While one with a water content of four percent or more will lessen the anticipated life to roughly 10 to 15 years.
The key to making sure your transformer or any other equipment is always in tip-top condition is to regularly do tests or maintenance to determine its health. Otherwise, in a worst case scenario, you might need to do a power transformer repair to get your equipment back to its original state.