It isn’t unusual to see electrical power transformers catching fire and violently exploding during rainy seasons. What might be thephysics behind such failures of power transformer that threaten life and assets ?
Anyshort-circuit of an electric transformer would produce an electric arc that hasvery high heat energy. This high energy initiates a phenomenon called “oil cracking.” In petrochemistry, petroleum geology and organicchemistry, cracking is the process whereby complex organic molecules such as kerogensor long-chain hydrocarbons are broken down into simpler molecules such as light hydrocarbons, by the breaking of carbon-carbonbondsin the precursors. The rate of cracking and the end products arestrongly dependent on the temperature and presence of catalysts.