Characterization of Underground Cable Failures


Project scope:

TU Electric has approximately 10-15K miles of underground cable in its distribution system. As the insulation levels of underground cables degrade they may convey information which persists for several hours to several months that serves as a warning of impending failure. These incipient events may result in momentary or permanent faults in the distribution system. When a failure occurs in an underground system, it is expensive to repair because of the difficulty in access to incipient cable failures before outages occur in the system.

project32This work involves the development of techniques for detecting, hence there is a need to detect these and determining the location of deteriorating cable to ensure efficient and timely repair.

Detection of incipient cable failure will involve monitoring of various electrical and mechanical parameters, and assessment of measured data for abnormalities related to deteriorating cable. Location involves the recognition of patterns in these abnormalities for estimation of the location of the deteriorating section of cable. This function may be accomplished utilizing advanced techniques which analyze signatures and discrete levels of measured data.


Principal Investigator:                                     Dr. Karen L. Butler-Purry

Co-Principal Investigator:                              Dr. B. Don Russell

Sponsor:                                                                                         Project Duration:

Texas Utilities Services                                                                1996-1999

Research Assistants:

Jesus Cardoso                                                                                Monica Medina