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2012 International Conference on High Voltage Engineering and Application, Shanghai, China, September 17-20, 2012

Analysis of the Pollution Accumulation and Pollution

Flashover Performance of Outdoor 500kV Insulator
Xiaohuan Liu1, Zhijin Zhang1, Kai Zheng2, Wenjiang Li2, Guoqiang Yang2
1.State Key Laboratory of Power Transmission Equipment & System Security and New Technology
Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China;
2.Chongqing Electric Power Corporation, Chongqing, 400010, China

Abstract- It is important to study the natural characteristic of chemical composition and proportion of insulators are
pollution accumulation and flashover performance of insulator different [12].
energized the operating voltage. This paper mainly focus on the
insulator strings operating in a 500kV power network in Some tests were also taken to study the pollution flashover
Chongqing, tests and analyzes the pollution depositing rules and voltage of insulators with different chemical composition in
flashover performance of them. Test results indicate that: the [12-16] and results found that the pollution flashover voltage
value of equivalent salt deposit density (ESDD) on the top surface of insulators is connected with the non-soluble deposit density
of insulator is lower than that on the bottom, as well as the value (NSDD).
of non-soluble deposit density (NSDD);the accumulation rate of
NSDD is heavier than that of ESDD; electric field distribution This paper taking RTV coating glass insulator in a 500kV
and precipitation exert a strong influence on the insulator power network of Chongqing as the research objects, studies
obviously; at the same pollution level, the flashover voltage of its natural pollution accumulation feature and performance.
natural contaminated insulator is 2 times as high as that of The research results will be taken as references for the
artificial polluted insulator, which mainly caused by the external insulation design and selection of UHV AC
difference of pollution materials and non-uniform pollution
distribution on the insulator surface. The results of this paper transmission project.
may be the reference for external insulation coordination and II. SAMPLES、TEST FACILITIES AND MEASURE PROCEDURE
design in the pollution area.
2.1 Samples
I. INTRODUCTION The two samples had been run for 5 years before tested.
Blackouts of power grids caused by pollution flashover of Each insulator string has 29 units and they were both from the
insulators occur in China and abroad,causing losses a factor same place, one was used to test its equivalent salt deposit
of ten times that of lightning damage [1-3], thus posing a density (ESDD) and NSDD and the other was used to test its
serious threat to the stable operation of power grids. Not natural pollution flashover voltage. The structure height,
surprisingly, understanding the mechanisms underlying diameter and creepage distance of the sample is 155mm,
natural pollution accumulation rule and pollution flashover 280mm and 380mm respectively and its shape is shown in
performance of insulators has generated considerable research Fig.1.
interest in China and abroad. 2.2 Measurement of ESDD and NSDD
A lot of work has been done to study the natural pollution Insulators were named in order before tested and the one
accumulating rule and pollution flashover performance of connected with the wire is No.1 and the one connected with
insulators in China and abroad. References [4,5] suggest that the ground line is No. 29. The measurement is taken as
pollution accumulation of insulators has much to do with type follows:
and the characteristic of the bottom surface of different types (1) Measurement of ESDD: Firstly, to make sure the surface
of insulators is different. References [6-9] indicate that the of insulator is cleaned thoroughly, a quantity of 300ml of
pollution accumulation of insulator is related to its shape. water was divided into 2-3 parts to clean the top or bottom
Reference [10] found that the insulator which is the most close surface according to the top and bottom area of insulator.
to the line accumulates the most pollution. Secondly, test the electrical conductivity of the filtered fluid.
At Tsinghua University, China Electric Power Research Thirdly, calculate the mass of insulator by standard [3,17].At
Institute and Northeast Electric Power Research Institute last, calculate the ESDD of insulator on both surfaces.
[1,2,11], studies found that the pollution of insulators contains (2) After filtration using filter paper, the insoluble materials
Sodium Chloride, calcium sulfate and other chemical
substances in coastal and inland areas. Similarly, a study on
the chemical composition of pollution in 7 regions of Russian
found by G. Ramos N and other researchers found that the

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2012 International Conference on High Voltage Engineering and Application, Shanghai, China, September 17-20, 2012
Figure 1.The structure of RTV coating glass insulator III. RESULTS AND ANALYSIS OF NATURAL
were dried and weighted. At last, calculate the NSDD of top
and bottom surface according to the insulators surface area 3.1 Results and analysis of ESDD
statistics. The specific method is detailed in [17]. To find out the natural contamination depositing rules of

2.3 Pollution flashover test of insulators ESDD of insulators on top and bottom surface
2.3.1 Test Facilities 0.9
0.8 top surface
The tests were performed in the multifunction artificial 0.7 bottom surface

climate chamber [18] with a diameter of 7.8 m and a height of 0.6
11.6 m. The power is supplied by YDTW-500 kV/2000 kVA 0.4
pollution test transformer. The major technical parameters are 0.3
as follows: rated capacity 2000 kVA, rated current 4 A, input 0.1
voltage 0-10.5 kV, output voltage 0-500 kV, and short-circuit 0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
impedance less than 6 percent under a rated voltage of 500 kV.
Number of insulator
The test power supply satisfied the requirements
Figure 2. ESDD of insulators
recommended by earlier studies. The tested circuit and the
principle are detailed in [18].
2.3.2 Test procedure insulators, we measured the ESDD of top and bottom
(1)Samples preparation surface of insulators respectively, the results are shown in
The natural pollution insulator strings was divided into 4 Fig.2.
groups to test their natural pollution flashover performance From Fig.2, such conclusions can be got:
and each group has 7 units. The clean insulators were polluted (1) The ESDD of the top surface of insulators are very
by quantitative coating using a pasting method. Sodium similar and they are in the range of 0.0326-0.0752 mg/cm2.
chloride and kieselguhr were used to simulate conductive and The mean value of them is 0.0499 mg/cm2.
inert materials, respectively. First, the required amount of (2) The ESDD of bottom surface of insulators is different
sodium chloride and kieselguhr were calculated and weighed each other and the insulator which is nearest to the conductor
according to the specified salt deposit density (SDD), non- has the highest value, 0.7688 mg/cm2, followed by the value
soluble deposit density and the surface areas of the specimens; of 0.4302 mg/cm2 to the insulator which is nearest to the
the errors of the weight of sodium chloride and kieselguhr ground wire. Except these two insulators, the rest 27 shown a
were less than ±1 and ±10%, respectively. relatively uniformly ESDD distribution, with the average
The ESDD and NSDD of artificial pollution insulators were value of 0.2168 mg/cm2.These differences are related to the
acquired according to the mean ESDD and NSDD of natural field distribution, according to standard [22],which shows the
insulator string and they are shown in Table 1, here, the typical curve of voltage distribution of the insulators on
maximum value of ESDD and NSDD of natural was ignored 500kV AC overhead transmission lines, it is known that, to
in calculating the mean values. the first and last units of the insulator string with 29 units,
(2) Test methods their withstand voltage are 21kV and 11kV respectively, while
All test samples were wetted by steam fog, and the steam the middle parts can withstand about 8kV. The voltage ratio of
fog was generated by a 1.5t/h boiler. More detail can be the first to last is roughly close to the ESDD ratio of the first
obtained in [19]. During the experiment, the temperature of to last. To some extent, there maybe exit a relationship
climate chamber was controlled below 35 ℃ . The wetting between the ESDD of bottom surface and the voltage exert on
degree of pollution layer is determined by measuring the insulators. Further research is needed to get specific results.
conductivity of pollution layer. When the conductivity reaches (3)The ESDD of bottom surface is more serious than that of
the maximum, test voltage should be applied immediately. top surface. The reason can be found in references [3,23-26]:
After the pollution layer has been wetted fully, even-rising the pollution depositing is not only related to the type and
voltage method was adopted to applied voltage on the samples. smooth level of the insulator, but also to the character of
Flashover tests were carried out 4-5 times for per string. The pollutant, the weather condition, field distribution and other
flashover voltages, whose deviation was less than 10% when factors; to the bottom surface, the electrical field around the
compared with the mean value of those flashover voltages steel leg of the bottom surface is too strong, when the
(Uf), were defined as valid flashover voltages[20,21]. pollution is wet, it will be much easier to bond being affected
TABLE I. by leakage current. Especially, the inner ring and area around
ESDD AND NSDD OF ARTIFICIAL POLLUTION INSULATORS (mg/cm2) the steel leg are the worst parts, causing the contamination
(ESDD)top (NSDD)top (ESDD)bottom (NSDD)bottom more serious.
0.0486 0.4662 0.2535 0.9453 (4)The ESDD of top surfaces are more uniform than that of
the bottom. Reference [27] indicates that the ways of pollution
accumulation and cleaning on top and bottom surface are

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2012 International Conference on High Voltage Engineering and Application, Shanghai, China, September 17-20, 2012

different, especially, the rain action is crucial, rainfall of Figure 4. T/B of insulators
10mm will do apparently washing on the top surface, while 3.3.2 Analysis of the ratio of non-soluble depositing to salt
rainfall of 30mm will clean up the top surface. Due to depositing
Chongqing raining frequently, each insulator gets a self- The ratios of non-soluble depositing to salt depositing are
cleaning rate of 100% on the top surface, leading that the shown in Fig.5:
ESDD of the most insulators' top surface distribute similarly. From it, we can see that: the ratios of non-soluble
3.2 Results and analysis of NSDD depositing to salt depositing are similar for bottom surfaces
NSDD is also an important factor which affects pollution and the mean value of them is 3.71. However, the ratios of the
flashover voltage. Therefore we make a detailed measurement top fluctuate a lot and the 2nd unit has the highest ratio of
of NSDD on the top and bottom surface. Results are shown in
Ratio of non-soluble depositing to salt depositing on
Fig.3. top and bottom surface

NSDD of insulators on top and bottom surface 25

1.8 20 top surface
1.6 top surface bottom surface

1.4 bottom surface

1.2 10
0.6 0

0.4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

0.2 Number of insulators

Figure 5.Ratio of non-soluble depositing to salt depositing
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Number of insulators
27.56, the average ratio of the whole string' top surface is
Figure 3. NSDD of insulators
10.23. Reference [28] indicates that two reasons cause the
From it, we can find that:
difference, one is the difference of rain action on ESDD and
(1) The NSDD distribution on the top and bottom are
NSDD and the other is the difference of rain action on top and
largely scattered. To the top, the second unit which close to
bottom surface.
the wire has the highest value of 1.1960 mg/cm2 and the 13th
unit has the smallest value of 0.2726 mg/cm2. The average IV. COMPARISON AND ANALYSIS OF THE TWO POLLUTION
value of the whole string' top surface is 0.4869 mg/cm2.While FLASHOVER TESTS
to the bottom, the 29th has the highest value of 1.6198mg/cm2 The results of natural pollution and artificial pollution
and the 4th has the smallest value of 0.5862 mg/cm2.The flashover tests are shown in Table.2:
average value of the whole string' bottom surface is 0.9629 TABLE 2
mg/cm2, about two times as big as the top. FLASHOVER VOLTAGE OF THE TWO TESTS (kV)
Natural pollution flashover test Artificial pollution flashover test
(2) Among the 29 units under the test, only the 2nd and 4th Insulators’ number Uf Test times Uf
units get higher NSDD values on their top surfaces than on the 2-8 207 1 89.6
bottom, while the rest ones are opposite, reflecting that the 9-15 226 2 92.8
16-22 198 3 87.8
bottom surface is easier in contamination.
23-29 188 4 90.4
3.3 Analysis of the non-uniform distribution of pollution From it, we can see that:
3.3.1 Analysis of T/B (1)Obviously, the natural pollution flashover voltage is
In the practical application, the ratio of ESDD of the top about 29.29 kV per unit, which is higher than the artificial
surface to that of the bottom surface (T/B) affects the pollution pollution flashover voltage, about 12.86 kV per unit. The main
flashover performance of insulators obviously. T/B is taken to two reasons for the difference are that: first, the chemical
express the non-uniformity. The T/B of insulators can be composition in natural and artificial pollution is distinctive,
obtained by Fig.2, which are shown in Fig.4. the flashover voltage changes with the solubility of salt
From it, we can see that: the T/B are almost around 1:3 to depositing and absorbent feature of non-soluble substance;
1:10; the 4th unit get the highest value of 0.35 and the 29th second, the non-uniform pollution distribution may affect the
has the smallest value, about 0.08.The T/B values of the first flashover voltage. Reference [32] indicates that: the more
and last insulators are very small and close, that is because uneven the pollution on the top and bottom surface of
their bottom ESDD are too high. insulators, the smaller the mean pollution surface conductivity
along the whole surface of insulators; under the action of the
Non-uniform level of insulators
0.4 same voltage, the origin and development of local electric arc
is inhibited as the decrease of leakage current along the
0.25 surface of insulator, which makes the pollution flashover

0.15 voltage of insulators increase continuously. Fig.1 also shows
0.05 the pollution distribution of insulators’ bottom surface.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

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Number of insualtors 252
2012 International Conference on High Voltage Engineering and Application, Shanghai, China, September 17-20, 2012

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