Investigating the effect of cavity size within medium-voltage power cable on partial discharge behaviour

Abstract: One of the common causes of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation ageing and finally cable failure is the
presence of a cavity within cable insulation. Gas filled cavities can be initiated in XLPE cables during its manufacturing,
installing and operating conditions. Once the size of the cavity reaches the critical limit, noticeable partial discharge (PD) activity
develops. Therefore, the size of the cavity is one of the important factors that considered when investigating the PD activity in
power cable. This work studies the effect of cavity size on PD behaviour within insulation layer of an 18/30 kV XLPE cable
specimen; the changing in an artificial spherical cavity depths and diameters is investigated in the laboratory. In addition, 2D
model geometry of a cable insulation having an artificial cavity is also developed using COMSOL software and MATLAB
program to simulate the PD measurements from the laboratory experiments to imitate the conditions found during
measurements, hence interpreting the obtained experimental results and determining the significant parameters influencing PD
activity; hence, more a fuller understanding of PD phenomena within a cavity. The results show good coincidence between
experimental and simulated data, in terms of PD magnitude and PD inception voltage.

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