Electrical and material characterization of field-aged 400 kV silicone rubber composite insulators

S. M. Rowland, J. Robertson, Y. Xiong, R. J. Day

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    Abstract

    This paper presents the electrical and material characteristics of field-aged silicone rubber composite insulators, which have been deployed for 15 years on a 400 kV transmission line in a coastal region of the UK. There were no indications of reduced performance in service. Observations indicate non-uniform aging of the insulators on the different surfaces of the insulator sheds and core, along the insulator string length and in the different compass orientations. A uniquely large number of contact angle measurements, made on each of the insulators' different surfaces, confirm the visual aspect of nonuniform aging. Electrical investigations of the insulators have been performed in terms of leakage current analysis, ac flashover / withstand and switching-surge impulse flashover. A correlation is seen between the ac leakage current and the hydrophobicity measurements. Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis of the changes of the materials' surface chemistry is presented. The role of solar radiation and organic growth appears critical to the observed non-uniform aging and must be considered if the longer term operation of the insulator is to be forecast. It is proposed that a reduction of the difference between positive and negative wet-flashover voltages may be a good indicator of early insulator aging. © 2010 IEEE.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number5448091
    Pages (from-to)375-383
    Number of pages8
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
    Volume17
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

    Keywords

    • Aging mechanisms
    • Composite
    • Contact angle
    • Hydrophobicity
    • Impulse flashover
    • Insulators
    • NCI
    • Silicone rubber
    • Transmission line

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