Structure of Composite Insulators




Development of Composite Insulators for Overhead Lines

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Contents

1. Introduction…………………………………………………………….
2. Design of composite insulators…………………………………....
2.1. Structure of composite insulators………………………………...
2.2 Designing composite insulators…………………………………...
3. Predicting service life………………………………………………..
4. Conclusion……………………………………………………………..
5. Words list………………………………………………………………
6. References…………………………………………………………......

INTRODUCTION

 

Overhead power transmission lines require both cables to conduct the electricity and insulators to isolate the cables from the steel towers by which they are supported. The insulators have conventionally been made of ceramics or glass. These materials have outstanding insulating properties and weather resistance, but have the disadvantages of being heavy, easily fractured, and subject to degradation of their withstand voltage properties when polluted. There was therefore a desire to develop insulators of a new structure using new materials that would overcome

these drawbacks.

The 1930s and '40s saw the appearance of the first insulators to replace inorganic materials with organic, but these suffered problems of weather resistance, and their characteristics were unsatisfactory for outdoor use. In the 1950s epoxy resin insulators were developed, but they were heavy, suffered from UV degradation and tracking, and were never put into actual service. By the mid-1970s a number of new insulating materials had been developed, and the concept of a composite structure was advanced, with an insulator housing made of ethylene propylene rubber (EPR), ethylene propylene diene methylene (EPDM) linkage, polytetrofluoro ethylene (PTFE), silicone rubber (SR) or the like, and a core of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) to bear the tensile load.

Since these materials were new, however, there were many technical difficulties that had to be remedied, such as adhesion between materials and penetration of moisture, and the end-fittings, which transmit the load, had to be improved. Since the 1980s, greater use has been made of silicone rubber due to its weather resistance, which is virtually permanent, and its hydrophobic properties, which allow improvement in the maximum withstand voltage of pollution, and this had led to an explosive increase in the use of composite insulators.

In 1980, Furukawa Electric was engaged in the development of inter-phase spacers to prevent galloping in power transmission lines, and at that time developed composite insulators that had the required light weight and flexibility. In 1991 the first composite insulators having a silicone rubber housing were used as inter-phase spacers for 66-kV duty, and in 1994 their use was extended to 275-kV service with a unit 7 m in length--the world's largest.

Thus as composite insulators have established a track record in phase spacer applications and their advantages have been recognized, greater consideration has been given to using them as suspension insulators with a view to cutting transportation costs, simplifying construction work and reducing the cost of insulators in order to lower the costs of laying and maintaining power transmission lines.

Recently Furukawa Electric developed composite insulators for suspension and delivered, for the first time in Japan, 154-kV tension insulators and V-type suspension insulator strings. Subsequently they were also used on a trial basis as tension-suspension devices in 77-kV applications. Work is also under way on the development of composite insulators for 1500-V DC and 30-kV AC railway service.

 


DESIGN OF COMPOSITE INSULATORS

Structure of Composite Insulators

Figure 1. Structure of composite insulator.

Typically a composite insulator comprises a core material, end-fitting, and a rubber insulating housing. The core is of FRP to distribute the tensile load. The reinforcing fibers used in FRP are glass (E or ECR) and epoxy resin is used for the matrix. The portions of the end-fitting that transmit tension to the cable and towers are of forged steel, malleable cast iron, aluminum, etc. The rubber housing provides electrical insulation and protects the FRP from the elements. For this reason we at Furukawa Electric have adopted silicone rubber, which has superior electrical characteristics and weather resistance, for use in the housing. Figure 1 shows the structure of a composite insulator.

 

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