Electrical performance of non-ceramic insulators in artificial contamination tests. Role of resting time

A. De La O, R. S. Gorur, J. T. Burnham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The paper presents the results of an investigation on the electrical performance of artificially contaminated non-ceramic insulators as a function of resting time. Resting time is defined as the time interval between the application of contamination and start of testing. New (unaged), full scale, 69 kV non-ceramic insulators using different types of silicone rubber and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber as weathersheds were studied. Their electrical performance was assessed using the clean fog technique. The applied voltage was kept constant throughout the test, while contamination severity and resting time were varied as parameters. The transfer of hydrophobicity through the contamination layer was demonstrated by flashover tests. This was also visually depicted by analyzing samples in a scanning electron microscope. The results show that resting time exerts little influence on the electrical performance of EPDM insulators. However, for silicone rubber insulators, resting time is shown to drastically improve its electrical performance. Experimental evidence indicates that the transfer or recovery process of hydrophobicity in silicone rubber insulators occurs as a progressive superposition of silicone oil layers with time. Thus, the net effect of resting such insulators before tests can be thought of as a gradual reduction of the effective contamination layer thickness. Such a reduction alters the way in which the contaminant layer interacts with external stressing agents, which could impact the insulator's electrical performance in service. In this work, an attempt has been made to identify and quantify the electrically significant changes introduced by a reduction in the effective contamination thickness. It is in the light of this reduced effective contamination layer that we explain how a seemingly wettable silicone rubber insulator is still able to hold the applied voltage without flashover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-835
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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