• Henrique Oliveira Henriques Fluminense Federal University, Engineering School, Electrical Engineering Department, 24210-240 Niteroi, RJ, Brazil
  • Carlos Eduardo Vizeu Aires Consulting, Engineering Department, 20000-000 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
  • Paulo Cesar Souza Light Serviços de Eletricidade S. A., High Voltage Maintenance and Operation Department, 27175-000 Pirai, RJ, Brazil
  • Mauricio Caldora Costa Electromagnetics Tecnologia, Engineering Department, 09750-730 São Bernardo do Campo, SP, Brazil
  • Guilherme Gonçalves Sotelo Fluminense Federal University, Engineering School, Electrical Engineering Department, 24210-240 Niteroi, RJ, Brazil
  • Jonaylton Moura Sousa Fluminense Federal University, Engineering School, Electrical Engineering Department, 24210-240 Niteroi, RJ, Brazil
  • Marcio Zamboti Fortes Fluminense Federal University, Engineering School, Electrical Engineering Department, 24210-240 Niteroi, RJ, Brazil
  • Vitor Hugo Ferreira Fluminense Federal University, Engineering School, Electrical Engineering Department, 24210-240 Niteroi, RJ, Brazil



power transformer, thermal simulation, finite element method, hot spot, CFD


Power transformers are the most common equipment in an electric power system, which has been manufactured in the last decade. However, overheating can damage them, considerably reducing their operation lives, which may cause economic losses to the power utilities. The motivation of this paper is to investigate the time and power overload limits that a power transformer can be subjected to and how it will impact its temperature. Investments in the grid can be delayed if a transformer can support some overload during some momentary load demand increase. In this context, this paper presents a study of a 30/40MVA power transformer by 3D finite element method (FEM) for coupled thermal-electromagnetic simulations to investigate its thermal behaviour when it is submitted to its nominal load at a steady-state operation and a variable load during a period of one day. The simulations were performed with the commercial software packages Flux 3D and AcuSolve, for electromagnetic and thermal modelling, respectively. The modelled equipment was based on a power transformer installed in the Light Serviços de Eletricidade S.A, the utility that supplies electrical energy to the city of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. Since the literature doesn’t present many works simulating coupled thermal-electromagnetic power transformers in 3D-FEM, this paper has the goal to bring new contributions to this field. Three study cases were modelled, and some simplifications in transformer’s geometry were made in some of them to reduce the computation time usually required for such a simulation. The obtained results are presented and compared with the measured values for the temperature in the hot spot of the transformer and in the top of the oil, to investigate the impact of these simplifications in the calculated results.


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