Failure analysis of composite dielectric of power capacitors in distribution systems

A. S. Farag, C. Wang, T. C. Cheng, G. Zheng, Ya Ping Du, L. Hu, B. Palk, M. Moon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the study of the reliability of capacitor units installed and operated in a distribution system during the period 1980 through 1990. Failures of capacitor units in distribution substations can be very costly to the supply of reliable power to consumers. To enhance utility reliability, failure analysis and rates, failure origin and physical damage causes were performed for these capacitor units. Two approaches, statistical and physical, were utilized in this study. In the statistical area, failure modes, reliability levels and failure causes are analyzed. The physical study mainly deals with the mechanism of deterioration of the composite dielectric. The results of the study on 2912 capacitor banks including 8736 capacitors installed at 153 distribution substations showed that the failure mode of capacitor units may be represented by a Weibull distribution and each capacitor manufactures has different failure rate. Analysis showed that partial discharge properties are a critical indicator for capacitor failure. Useful conclusions are presented both for power system operators and manufacturers. The methodology used in this study also applies to other equipment in the distribution system such as oil switches, transformers and insulators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-588
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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