Acoustic Noise Emitted from Overhead Line Conductors

Student thesis: Phd


The developments of new types of conductors and increase of voltage level have driven the need to carry out research on evaluating overhead line acoustic noise.The surface potential gradient of a conductor is a critical design parameter for planning overhead lines, as it determines the level of corona loss (CL), radio interference (RI), and audible noise (AN). The majority of existing models for surface gradient calculation are based on analytical methods which restrict their application in simulating complex surface geometries. This thesis proposes a novel method which utilizes both analytical and numerical procedures to predict the surface gradient. Stranding shape, proximity of tower, protrusions and bundle arrangements are considered within this model. One of UK National Grid's transmission line configurations has been selected as an example to compare the results for different methods. The different stranding shapes are a key variable in determining dry surface fields.The dynamic behaviour of water droplets subject to AC electric fields is investigated by experiment and finite element modelling. The motion of a water droplet is considered on the surface of a metallic sphere. To understand the consequences of vibration, the FEA model is introduced to study the dynamics of a single droplet in terms of phase shift between vibration and exciting voltage. Moreover, the evolution of electric field within the whole cycle of vibration is investigated. The profile of the electric field and the characteristics of mechanical vibration are evaluated. Surprisingly the phase shift between these characteristics results in the maximum field occurring when the droplet is in a flattened profile rather than when it is 'pointed'.Research work on audible noise emitted from overhead line conductors is reviewed, and a unique experimental set up employing a semi-anechoic chamber and corona cage is described. Acoustically, this facility isolates undesirable background noise and provides a free-field test space inside the anechoic chamber. Electrically, the corona cage simulates a 3 m section of 400 kV overhead line conductors by achieving the equivalent surface gradient. UV imaging, acoustic measurements and a partial discharge detection system are employed as instrumentation. The acoustic and electrical performance is demonstrated through a series of experiments. Results are discussed, and the mechanisms for acoustic noise are considered. A strategy for evaluating the noise emission level for overhead line conductors is developed. Comments are made on predicting acoustic noise from overhead lines.The technical achievements of this thesis are summarized in three aspects. First of all, an FEA model is developed to calculate the surface electric field for overhead line conductors and this has been demonstrated as an efficient tool for power utilities in computing surface electric field especially for dry condition. The second achievement is the droplet vibration study which describes the droplets' behaviour under rain conditions, such as the phase shift between the voltage and the vibration magnitude, the ejection phenomena and the electric field enhancement due to the shape change of droplets. The third contribution is the development of a standardized procedure in assessing noise emission level and the characteristics of noise emissions for various types of existing conductors in National Grid.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorSimon Rowland (Supervisor) & Roger Shuttleworth (Supervisor)


  • corona inception
  • free field microphone
  • partial discharge measurement
  • UV camera
  • spray system
  • charge simulation method
  • A-weighted sound pressure level
  • overall sound pressure level
  • hydrophobicity
  • contact angle
  • sound pressure level
  • FFT
  • hum noise
  • successive image method
  • cage experiment
  • audible noise
  • overhead line conductor
  • surface potential gradient
  • electric field calculation
  • transmission line
  • anechoic chamber
  • conductor bundle
  • finite element method
  • high speed camera
  • droplet vibration

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