A Reduced Radiator Model for Simplification of ONAN Transformer CFD Simulation

Sicheng Zhao, Qian Liu, M Wilkinson, G. Wilson, Z.D. Wang

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In this paper, a reduced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model is proposed for determining the total heat dissipation and the oil temperature distribution of transformer radiators in oil natural air natural (ONAN) cooling mode. In the reduced radiator CFD model, the air flow simulation is replaced with an optimized air heat transfer coefficient (hair) equation. An experimentally verified full radiator CFD model, which includes the air flow simulation, has been introduced as a benchmark model for evaluating the validity of the reduced model. It was found that one hair can provide sufficient accuracy in simulating the air convection effect of transformer radiators. An hair equation was derived through a parametric study using the full radiator CFD model. The performance of the proposed hair equation was compared with the existing empirical equations, and its validities for different insulating liquids and different ambient temperatures were proven by additional CFD modelling. This hair equation can be transformed into a dimensionless form to help the radiator design and facilitate the complete-cooling-loop (CCL) based transformer CFD modelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4007-4018
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Delivery
Issue number5
Early online date14 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • ONAN
  • Power transformer
  • computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • experiment
  • heat dissipation
  • radiator
  • temperature
  • thermal modelling


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