Random wound coils are a key operational element of most electric apparatus in modern industrial systems, including low voltage electric machines. One of the major current bottlenecks in improved exploitation of electrical devices is the high sensitivity of their wound components to in-service thermal stress. The application of conventional thermal sensing methods (e.g., thermocouples, resistance temperature detectors) for thermal condition monitoring of current carrying random wound coils can impose considerable operational limitations due to sensor size, EMI sensitivity and the existence of electrically conductive material in their construction. Another substantial limitation exists in distributed sensing applications and is caused by what is often a considerable length and volume of conventional sensor wiring leads.
This paper reports the design of a fiber optic FBG sensing system intended for enabling real-time distributed internal thermal condition monitoring within random wound coils. The procedure of random wound coil instrumentation with the FBG sensing system is reported in a case study on an IEEE standard wound coil representative of those utilized in electrical machines. The reported work also presents and discusses important practical and technical aspects of FBG sensing system implementation and application, including the FBG array geometry design, sensing head and fiber packaging, the sensor array installation and calibration procedure and the use of a commercial interrogation system for obtaining thermal measurements. Finally, the in situ multiplexed FBG sensing system thermal monitoring performance is demonstrated in representative static and dynamic thermal conditions.