When polymer power cables were introduced into mediumvoltage applications in the late 1960s, the degradationphenomenon later referred to aswater treeingwas still unknown. However, this changedwithin a relatively short space of time. Just 5-10 years afterthese first polymer applications, faults began to appear thatcould be attributed to the new phenomenon-water treeing. Sincethen, cable manufacturers have been improving their designsgradually, and cables produced today are assumed to have muchlower susceptibility to water trees. However, water treeing isstill assumed to be the most important degradation process inthese applications.
There are huge amounts of polymer cable installations thatare degraded by water trees. Since many of these cables areinstalled in the same grid nets, one cable fault oftengenerates another. If two or more cables fail at the same time,the consequences can be extensive. A non-destructive diagnosticmethod makes it possible to assess cables and take action priorto failures.
This thesis presents the results of research work on thedevelopment of a measurement technique and diagnostic methodfor the assessment of medium voltage XLPE cables in the field.The method used is called high voltage dielectric spectroscopy,and involves the measurement of capacitance and loss as afunction of frequency at high voltages. The method is used in ashort frequency range of approximately one decade in thelow-frequency region (normally from 1 down to 0.1 Hz). Thevoltage levels used initially are all below the service-voltagelevel. If the cable is assessed to be free from water trees, aslightly increased voltage can be used.
Based on dielectric-spectroscopy measurements, specificwater-tree analysis and breakdown tests, a set of measurementprocedures and criteria that take into account differences incable designs has been proposed for the assessment of mediumvoltage XLPE cables. The characteristic responses of XLPEcables (in both non and water-tree-deteriorated cases) make itpossible to separate the cable response from the influence ofaccessories. Field experience shows thatwater-tree-deteriorated cables with relatively low breakdownstrengths can remain in service for many years.
Keywords:dielectric spectroscopy, high voltage,variable frequency, diagnostics, non-destructive diagnostics,cables, medium voltage, polymer, XLPE, water trees, watertreeing
Stockholm: Elektrotekniska system , 2001. , ix, 202 p.
dielectric spectroscopy, high voltage, variable frequency, diagnostics, non-disgnostics