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Case Study
Transformer Failure Due to Oil Leakage

Submitted By:
Abacan, Carl Markvince _____________
Advincula, Arji S. _____________
Arano, Wilbert _____________
Arceo, Franco _____________
Asi, Bryan P. _____________

Submitted to:
Engr. Ma. Lourdes V. Balansay

August 18, 2017

I. INTRODUCTION bushings and parts of the winding will get
exposed to air. This will increase the temperature
of the windings. This in turn, would damage the
India’s manufacturing sector, heavy insulation of the winding. Apart from this moisture
industries, various global service centres are all can get in through the leak, and degrade the
dependent on reliable power supply. This transformer oil – leading to an overheated
underlines the principle that ‘No Power-No transformer.
Business’. This makes it utmost important that In power transformer, the conservator
‘Transformers’, the heart of substation, must tank is provided with an oil level indicator having
function reliably. Failures of critical transformer- an alarm facility. If the oil level drops below a
assets not only impact industries but other predetermined level, the alarm will ring. It allows
consumer categories also affect the economy of the operator to initiate necessary actions. But in
the country and have social and political distribution transformer, oil level indicator with
ramifications. alarm facility is not provided. Only a small
A transformer is a vital equipment that transparent window (gauge) placed conservator
connects the generation to various types of loads. tank to see the oil level is provided. It shows the
The right kind of design, manufacture, test, level of the oil directly, being able to see from the
operation and protection increase normal life of outside. When the crystal is dirty, you can wipe it
transformer. off with a rag. Periodic checking of this window is
not done in India. So, many of small transformers
All power utilities are much worried these fail due to decrease in oil level.
days due to high rate of failure of distribution
transformers and service. The failure rate of
transformers in India is in the order of 12 to15%
as against less than 1% in developed countries.
No one wants to share responsibility of failure.
Manufacturers often blame the users for running
the transformers in overload for single phasing or
unbalancing. Users are of the opinion that the
cause of failure is due to faulty design or bad
materials or poor workmanship. But the fact is –
responsibility should be shared equally by both.


Oil inside the transformer serves as a coolant

and insulator due to it has a High dielectric Oil leaks can occur from many parts of
breakdown and Low viscosity. transformer tank: Radiator fins, Bad welds,
cracked voltage bushings, Gaskets, Butterfly
Cooler: During voltage up/down the temperature valves controlling the flow of oil between the
of the windings of transformer increases, oil is radiator and main oil tank.
used to cool down the temperature.
Oil leaks in gaskets
Insulator: It acts as an insulator between the
windings. It increases the resistance between the Oil leaks from transformer gasket, if it has
windings and avoids short circuit. aged, lost elasticity and cracked as it cooled
much further than its normal operating range.
This is often a slow weeping rather than a
catastrophic failure; however, over a time, the
If the oil leaks from the transformer tank
weeping can cause a serious amount of oil loss.
due to some reason, the oil level in the tank will
drop. In the worst case, the connections to
level should vary slightly with the
temperature changes.
3.) Correct the adjustment of the gasket if oil
leaks from it. Many times even after
correct adjustment, the gasket oil leak is
not stopped, then the gasket will have to
be replaced with a new one. A gasket
with low elasticity such as lead type must
always be changed with a new. Do not
use the old one again.
4.) Leaks from a radiator can be repaired by
welding. This requires that the
Oil leakage from radiator transformer must be taken offline and
drained before it can be welded.
Radiator fins are a common area for oil 5.) Proper inspection of a transformer is the
leaks. Fins are made from thin metal to aid heat best way to prevent oil leakage.
transfer. The downside of that thinness is that Preventing leaks is as important as
internal corrosion due to water ingress and sealing them.
separation or external environmental corrosion
can quickly penetrate and spill the oil.


The leaks from a transformer tank is caused by

bad welds,


1.) Transformer tanks should be regularly

checked for any signs of cracks that may
lead to oil leakage. Inspect carefully for
any oil leaks within the tank.
2.) Monitoring of oil level should be done
regularly by observing the oil level gauge.
If the level gauge is equipped with a
pointer, document its position, as the