Partial Discharge Localization inside Transformer Windings via Fiber-Optic Acoustic Sensor Array

Chaofei Gao, Lei Yu, Yue Xu, Wei Wang, Member, IEEE, Shijie Wang, Peng Wang


Partial Discharge (PD) is the main sign of the insulation deterioration, therefore the online PD localization of the power transformers can provide the equipment degradation characteristics and has great value for the power grid. Because of some unique merits, acoustic PD detection is one of the best options for such application. However, when discharges happen inside the windings, precise PD localization by acoustic method becomes very challenging. As the acoustic PD signal can be reverberated and distorted along its propagation, the type and number of sensors, with their installation, should be carefully studied and selected.

In this paper, the acoustic wave propagation inside the transformer is explored via numerical simulation. Based on the understanding of wave propagation, a novel-structure fiber-optic acoustic sensor array is properly designed and installed into one phase winding, which is from a real 35 kV transformer. Experimental verification shows that, by using this proposed design, PD localization with less than 5 cm error can be achieved. Therefore, the novel sensor array developed in this paper, together with the installation and localization method, unveils a novel access to accurate online PD localization, especially for those PDs which happen inside transformer windings.

Keywords: Power Transformer, Partial Discharge Localization, Extrinsic Fabry–Pérot Interferometric (EFPI) Sensor, Acoustic Signal Propagation Simulation, Finite Element Method (FEM).

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