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Title: Improved condition monitoring of composite insulators
Author: Da Silva domingues, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 3105
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Although the cost of investment in power lines insulators is 3-5% of the total cost of the installation, the impact of their performance on reliability, failure costs, maintenance routines, etc in power systems is tens of times higher. Composite insulators were introduced 50 years ago and have been used around the world with consistently good experience. Low weight, easy handling, good performance under high pollution, low maintenance costs, and resistance to vandalism are some of their advantages. Nevertheless, acid rain, salty dust deposition, corona discharges, ozone, UV radiation, and humidity among other factors, deteriorate the quality of the polymeric housing reducing their hydrophobicity. The synergistic action of ageing factors is extremely complex and the whole degradation process may change when any one variable is slightly modified. Many studies have been carried out to increase understanding of the physicochemical processes which control the electrical and mechanical stability of polymers during in-service ageing with the objective of predicting remaining life-times. Vital areas of knowledge about polymer insulators are still incomplete and lacking; three of them are: (1) early stages of degradation in service under different environmental conditions, (2) monitoring and diagnosis techniques suitable for distribution installations and (3) steps to establish an insulators management plan based on condition and risk of failure. In this research these three topics are covered. A full review of literature about management of electrical distribution assets is included, followed by a specific plan developed for monitoring, diagnosis and ranking of insulators mainly supported by visual inspections. Diagnosis of medium voltages EPDM insulators recovered from service aged under different conditions is done using both traditional techniques and, uniquely, dielectric impedance. The relationship between surface roughness and static contact angle is also used to characterize insulators' surfaces. Early stages of degradation are studied focusing the experimental work to evaluate the electrohydrodynamic processes which occur on new samples under different conditions, giving special attention to leakage current pulse analysis, electric field enhancement, and resistance/capacitive behaviour including phase of leakage current. Results from each specific topic offer additional understanding of polymer insulators degradation providing insight to monitoring, diagnosis and management. Additionally, results open new topics in which new investigations are proposed.
Supervisor: Rowland, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: composite insulators ; ageing ; early stages ; water droplets ; electric field ; corona discharges