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Moisture Meter for Transformer Oils


Developing a small-sized device intended to effectively measure moisture content in transformer oils

Tech Area / Field

  • INS-MEA/Measuring Instruments/Instrumentation

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • Southwest Research Institute / Automation and Data Systems Division, USA, TX, San Antonio

Project summary

The main goal of the Project is the development of a small-sized device for measuring moisture and acidity of the transformer oil both in laboratories and in field. This will allow prompt and cost-efficient assessment of the technical condition of the electrical equipment during its servicing.

High-power transformers are most critical and expensive equipment in high-power systems and their reliable operation is possible only in the case of timely repair and due maintenance.

It is very important to detect possible faults (diagnostics) in electrical equipment, especially with expired warranty period at early stages of its maintenance. Knowledge of the general condition of the «field of damages» allows trouble-free operation with possibly minimum expenditures for equipment operability maintenance. As a rule, the cost of diagnostics is multiply repaid due to «dotted» investments for preventive maintenance of the equipment.

It is known that during transformer operation the technical condition of the transformer oil deteriorates, moisture content and acidity increase.

«Scope and Norms of Electrical Equipment Testing» (RD34.45-51.300-97) prescribes to test quality and condition of the transformer oil during:

- Acceptance and storage;

- Electrical equipment filling-in;
- Servicing.
Existing routine methods used to measure content of the dissolved moisture in transformer oil [Carl Fisher method, standard deviation is (1…5)%, and hydride-calcium method according to GOST 7822-75, standard deviation is (5…8)%] are laboratory methods, and procedures of moisture metering are complicated and labor consuming. From the standpoint of equipment the physicochemical method (device

VTM-2) is rather accurate for field conditions (standard deviation is 20%). But if moisture-saturated the sensitive element of this instrument requires long time for recovery.

During maintenace, it is necessary to determine both humidity, and acidity of the transformer oil rather accurately and quickly (during several minutes) not only in labortory conditions, but also in field.

To our knowledge, just now in Russia and abroad one has no devices capable of attaining the above goals. Project implementation will provide a possibility to change the existing situation.

Main goals and objective of the Project:

1. Developing an experimental model of a small-sized device intended to measure moisture and acidity of the transformer oil both in laboratories, and in field. This device accuracy is not to yield to available standard methods as for accuracy;

2. Preparation of design and servicing documents for the experimental model of the moisture meter;
3. Developing algorithm of the device software;
4. Manufacturing the experimental model of the moisture meter and developing procedures of its metrological certification.
These tasks meet ISTC goals as for the support of applied investigations and technology development for commercial applications in the area of energy production, and the redirection of weapon scientists into non-weapon areas.

In the course of Project the use will be made of the experience accumulated by RFNC-VNIITF experts as a result of developing unique device development and experimental investigations. This meets one of basic ISTC objectives. The use will be made of the experience accumulated during implementation of Project №744-98 («Developing the family of devices intended to measure moisture of bulk materials»). In addition, «Certificate for Useful Model №10464» with the priority of November 02,98, which was obtained by two participants of the proposed development (A.B. Syrtsov and

V.V. Shaposhnikov), will serve the basis for the development.

Investigations carried out by RFNC-VNIITF experts with the help of a specially developed preliminary mock-up of the electropulse moisture meter demonstrated the principle posibility of efficient assessment of moisture and acidity in the transformer oil by the same device.

Expected results:

- Experimental model of the device;

- Design and servicing documentation.
This proposal can be implemented during one year and a half. Further, in Snezhinsk, Chelyabinsk region, it is possible to organize (with the participation of RFNC-VNIITF experts) a series production of devices on the basis of Ass. SNEZHINSKTECHSERVICE. Only in the Ural region the current demand in these devices is about 400 pcs.

Scope of collaboration with foreign collaborators:

· Information exchange in the course of Project implementation;

· Comments to technical reports (quarterly, annual, final, etc.) submitted by Project participants to ISTC;
· Participation in working meeteings (workshops) with the discussion of results generated in the course of Project implementation, collaborator’s assessment of the development quality and recommendations on its further application.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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