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Title: Ageing of overhead conductors
Author: Enegela, Odagboyi
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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Overhead conductors used in the transmission of power in grids around the world are generally subjected to ageing, which is the time-based change of their properties. Important properties such as corona discharge, audible noise, hydrophobicity and corrosion are usually considered and investigated. On some conductors such as the aluminium conductor steel reinforced (ACSR), a reduction in audible noise over exposure time to the service environment has been noted to occur. However, the converse has been observed for the gap-type thermal resistant aluminium conductor steel reinforced (GTACSR or “Matthew” conductor), although this conductor is preferred due to its high ampacity. The relationship between conductor hydrophobicity, audible noise, surface contamination and roughness, wettability and corrosion were investigated using All Aluminium Alloy Conductor (AAAC), Aluminium Conductor Composite Core (ACCC) and GTACSR samples. Findings from Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray Photoelectric Spectroscopy (XPS) and contact angle measurements revealed that carbon, hydrocarbon and silicone contamination was responsible for the hydrophobic nature of the surface. Furthermore, electrochemical investigations and electron microscopy showed that pitting or/and crevice corrosion were the predominant corrosion mechanisms on these conductors. Exposure to simulated industrial and marine environments further confirmed this finding and also showed that general corrosion also occurs on relatively uncontaminated conductors, thereby changing their surface roughness, as seen from the White Light Interferometry results. Corrosion was observed to be accelerated by the presence of surface contaminants such as oils and carbon, as these facilitated water (droplet) retention by reducing the conductor’s surface energy. Reduction/elimination of surface contamination/hydrophobicity were the desired solutions to the problem, and this was achieved by grit blasting. Partial/complete oxidation of the silicones resulted in the reduction/elimination of sample hydrophobicity – this was seen from more contact angles measurements and XPS data. Grit blasting also restored conductor cleanliness and roughened the surface sufficiently to produce surface run-off.
Supervisor: Lyon, Stuart; Rowland, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ageing ; Conductor ; Corrosion ; Contamination ; FTIR ; Grit blasting ; XPS