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Transformer oil quality evaluation using quantitative phase microscopy

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Abstract

Transformer oil used in oil-filled electrical power transformers aims at insulating, stopping arcing and corona discharge, and dissipating transformer heat. Transformer running inevitably induces molecule decomposition, thus leading to gases released into transformer oil. The released gases not only reduce the transformer oil’s performance but also possibly induce transformer fault. To prevent catastrophic failure, approaches using, e.g., chromatography and spectroscopy, precisely measure dissolved gases to monitor transformer oil quality; however, many of these approaches still suffer from complicated operations, expensive costs, or slow speed. To solve these problems, we provide a new transformer oil quality evaluation method based on quantitative phase microscopy. Using our designed phase real-time microscopic camera (PhaseRMiC), under- and over-focus images of gas bubbles in transformer oil can be simultaneously captured during field of view scanning. Further, oil-to-gas-volume ratio can be computed after phase retrieval via solving the transport of intensity equation to evaluate transformer oil quality. Compared with traditionally and widely used approaches, this newly designed method can successfully distinguish transformer oil quality by only relying on rapid operations and low costs, thus delivering a new solution for transformer prognosis and diagnosis.

© 2022 Optical Society of America

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