Advancements in Dissolved Gas Analysis: CO/CO2 Ratio
For DGA interpretation, faults identified using hydrocarbon gases are considered more serious if they appear to affect paper insulation. That is made explicit in CIGRE technical brochure 771
. Production of hydrocarbon gases from the oil by electrical or thermal stress does not significantly affect the oil’s function as a coolant or electrical insulator. On the other hand, production of carbon oxide gases from paper insulation raises a concern of paper deterioration. In particular, charring of the paper by a localized hot spot, especially in the windings, can lead to transformer failure.
Recently R. Cox and C. Rutledge have developed a method for judging the location of a fault in paper insulation from the percent change of the CO2/CO carbon oxide gas ratio
[2, 3]. In a controlled experiment with a sacrificial transformer and a heating element, they found that direct heating of paper tends to generate more CO than CO2. Case studies of faulty transformers have revealed that a large percent decrease in CO2/CO is associated with charring of winding paper. A moderate percent decrease in the ratio is often associated with paper charring outside of the windings, such as on bushing or tap changer leads. A minor percent decrease or an increase of the ratio (with production of carbon oxide gas) is usually associated with mild bulk overheating of paper insulation rather than a localized hot spot.