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In order to improve the tracking and erosion performance of outdoor polymeric silicone rubber (SR) insulators used in HV power transmission lines, micron sized inorganic fillers are usually added to the base SR matrix. In addition, insulators used in high voltage dc transmission lines are designed to have increased creepage distance to mitigate the tracking and erosion problems. ASTM D2303 standard gives a procedure for finding the tracking and erosion resistance of outdoor polymeric insulator weathershed material samples under laboratory conditions for ac voltages. In this paper, inclined plane (IP) tracking and erosion tests similar to ASTM D2303 were conducted under both positive and negative dc voltages for silicone rubber samples filled with micron and nano sized particles to understand the phenomena occurring during such tests. Micron sized Alumina Trihydrate (ATH) and nano sized alumina fillers were added to silicone rubber matrix to improve the resistance to tracking and erosion. The leakage current during the tests and the eroded mass at the end of the tests were monitored. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy dispersive Xray (EDX) studies were conducted to understand the filler dispersion and the changes in surface morphology in both nanocomposite and microcomposite samples. The results suggest that nanocomposites performed better than microcomposites even for a small filler loading (4%) for both positive and negative dc stresses. It was also seen that the tracking and erosion performance of silicone rubber is better under negative dc as compared to positive dc voltage. EDX studies showed migration of different ions onto the surface of the sample during the IP test under positive dc which has led to an inferior performance as compared to the performance under negative dc.
Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:19 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: February 2012