We report the use of a fiber-optic distributed sensing system to monitor temperature at a multitude of discrete points on an industrial motor undergoing qualification after a rewinding. This technique involves using optical frequency domain reflectometry to demodulate the reflected signal from multiplexed Bragg gratings that have been photoetched in the core of an optical fiber. In this work, high-resolution optical sensing fiber was applied along the stator windings and end-windings of the motor to assess their suitability for long-term temperature monitoring. Performance tests were conducted at different heat loads representing different electrical conditions. Results indicate excellent agreement with collocated Resistance Temperature Devices (RTDs) and demonstrate significant potential for mitigating costly motor failure due to insulation breakdown resulting from highly localized hotspots.
A fiber optic based distributed temperature measurement system was implemented in stator windings (straight copper bars) as well as in the end-windings (curved copper bars) of a motor. Usually, in electrical machines such as motors or generators, only a few conventional temperature sensors are used, whereas the distributed temperature system has the potential of providing very detailed temperature distribution by having hundreds of sensors in a single fiber. The sensors were made of Bragg gratings etched onto the fiber itself. For the present study, the spatial resolution of the sensors is 6 mm (nominally at 1/4” apart). The technique uses Optical Frequency Domain Reflectometry (OFDR) to process the back-reflected light signal indicative of the thermal filed. A prototype fiber optic system was implemented in a motor made by GE industrial systems. The sensing length (length of the stator) for the motor was 0.75 m containing approximately 150 sensors thus providing very detailed temperature data. Performance tests were conducted at different heat loads representing different electrical conditions. Continuous tests for the duration of 19 hours were conducted. The temperature of stator windings varied from ambient (~ 23°C) to approximately 85°C. As reference, Resistance Temperature Devices (RTDs) were installed in adjacent slots to the slot where fiber optic sensors were installed. A total of 8 sensors were installed but data were collected on only 3 fibers. Fiber sensor measurements were found to track the temperature trends very well. The fiber data agreed with RTD data within ± 3°C in the entire duration. The RMS value of difference between the fiber and RTD on one side was 0.3°C, and with the RTD on the other side was 0.5°C. The fiber measurements also showed how hotspots could be missed by using few RTDs, as is done in the industry. The fiber measurements also showed the temperature distribution in the endwindings, an area not normally monitored. The maximum temperature was an acceptable 110°C. The feasibility of this technique for measuring stator-winding temperatures is proved. Still some of the problems faced during the installation and experiments are (a) robustness of fiber and sheathing fiber and (b) fiber survivability during manufacturing process and repair.