Partial Discharge Localization Using Time Reversal: Application to Power Transformers

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Mar 5;20(5):1419. doi: 10.3390/s20051419.


In this work, we present a novel technique to locate partial discharge (PD) sources based on the concept of time reversal. The localization of the PD sources is of interest for numerous applications, including the monitoring of power transformers, Gas Insulated Substations, electric motors, super capacitors, or any other device or system that can suffer from PDs. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first time that the concept of time reversal is applied to localize PD sources. Partial discharges emit both electromagnetic and acoustic waves. The proposed method can be used to localize PD sources using either electromagnetic or acoustic waves. As a proof of concept, we present only the results for the electromagnetic case. The proposed method consists of three general steps: (1) recording of the waves from the PD source(s) via proper sensor(s), (2) the time-reversal and back-propagation of the recorded signal(s) into the medium using numerical simulations, and (3) the localization of focal spots. We demonstrate that, unlike the conventional techniques based on the time difference of arrival, the proposed time reversal method can accurately localize PD sources using only one sensor. As a result, the proposed method is much more cost effective compared to existing techniques. The performance of the proposed method is tested considering practical scenarios in which none of the former developed methods can provide reasonable results. Moreover, the proposed method has the unique advantage of being able to locate multiple simultaneous PD sources and doing so with a single sensor. The efficiency of the method against the variation in the polarization of the PDs, their length, and against environmental noise is also investigated. Finally, the validity of the proposed procedure is tested against experimental observations.

Keywords: insulation dielectric; partial discharge; power transformers; source localization; time-reversal.