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Partial Discharges in HVDC Cables - The Effect of the Temperature Gradient during Load Transients


The paper investigates the role of the space charge accumulation phenomena in the inception of Partial Discharges (PD) in a defect within the bulk of the dielectrics of a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cable. It is widespread accepted that the number of PD occurring in an HVDC cable during its lifetime is largely less than that under AC voltage stress. This is essentially due to higher values of the voltage between the conductor and the screen needed to trigger PD under a steady DC voltage than the same value under AC stress. Nevertheless, due to the dependency of the electrical conductivity of the insulation on the electric field and temperature, PD in HVDC cables is strongly influenced by the temperature distribution and, consequently, on the load current. Thus, the main goal of this research is to evaluate the main parameters of the PD occurring in an HVDC cable during a load transient. Numerical simulations by using Comsol Multlphysics® are validated by the results obtained with an ad hoc experimental setup. A model DC cable, subjected to transient phenomena due to a current step and with an air void defect in the insulation material, is simulated and setup. On the other hand, an experimental setup is used to carry out PD measurements on the same case study. The results of this research show the strong dependency of the PD parameters on the temperature distribution varying over time during a load transient.