During operation, transformer oil accumulate contaminants, which can form various chemicals. These substances reduce the oil’s performance and are, of course, undesirable.
Operation of the transformer becomes unstable. To prevent this, transformer oil is filtered and purified. Some of the methods are discussed in more detail below.
The first stage of transformer oil purification is mechanical. This is a superficial treatment to remove particulate matter and water. The next step is deeper purification performed in vacuum with heating.
The first two stages are, in fact, preliminary. The main process involves various chemicals.
One of the methods is purification of oil with a 98% sulfuric acid solution.
In comparison to other chemical purification methods, the use of sulfuric acid has a significant drawback. Beside reacting with the contaminants, the acid also adversely influecnes the structure of the oil, making it somewhat unstable. Additional processes are required to resolve that problem.
The nature of selective purification is evident from the title. Speical solvents are introduced into the oil to remove specific impurities.
De-waxing is another widely accepted process. In this process, oil is treated with special solvents: acetone, toluene, bensol etc, to remove solid contaminants.
It should be noted that chemical methods influence oil’s stability, but extend the oil’s service life at the same time.
It should also be remembered that any purification process should end with finishing purification, closing the cycle of oil processing and filtration. This is usually done by contact method.
This means that the oil is mixed with special materials, usually clay or bleaching earth. The materials are then mixed and heated. Heating facilitates acviation of all sorbents in the clay.
These absorbents capture contaminants. Deep filtration separates oil from the clay. When selecting adsorbent, it is necessary to pay attention to the content of moisture. It should be suffucient to make production efficient and to make processed oil compliant with specifications.
The most interesting technology today involves the use of bleaching clays (Fuller’s earth). Globecore manufactures a range of CMM type units for filtration of various oils with the use of Fuller’s earth. The advantages of the design are the ability of multiple reactivation of the sorbent, mobility, simplicity of operation and high quality of the output product.
Downtime is significantly reduced by the ability to reactivate the sorbent without the need for frequent replacement, thus increasing process efficiency.