- October 2009
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- Water is damaging for power transformers since it accelerates aging processes, reduces dielectric margin, decreases partial-discharge inception voltage, and, therefore, increases the probability of unexpected failures. Taking into account that power transformers are the most expensive equipment in an electrical plant and that the electrical supply guarantee is closely related to their reliability, it seems clear that transformer water content is a variable that must be kept under control. Since water is a byproduct of aging reactions in cellulosic insulation, the amount of water contained in a transformer usually increases from levels below 0.5% in weight, after its manufacturing, to levels of 6% in weight at the end of its life. However, it is not unusual to find high humidity levels in not so-old transformers, for example, in those that have been subjected to repairs in field. These days, some techniques are available to dry transformers in the field. Most of these methods achieve proper drying of transformer oil, but a great amount of water usually remains in cellulosic insulation and water in oil rises slowly some months after finishing the process. In these cases, drying treatments, which are very expensive, would have limited effectiveness. In this paper, a finite-element study is presented that analyzes different field-drying methods that are currently widely used. The efficiency of these methods will be studied and compared, and recommendations about drying parameters will be given.