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Measurement of leakage current for monitoring the performance of outdoor insulators in polluted environments

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3 Author(s)
Ramirez, I. ; Inst. de Investig. Electr., Cuernavaca, Mexico ; Hernandez, R. ; Montoya, G.

Monitoring of leakage currents on various types of insulators, in the field and in laboratory tests, has provided a much broader perspective on the performance of outdoor insulators in various pollution zones. The technique can be effective for corrective maintenance of transmission lines, provided the type of pollutant and the critical leakage currents are analyzed periodically. A leakage current that is continuous, periodic, or increasing with time is one consideration in the performance of insulators in pollution zones, whereas the maximum permissible levels of leakage current at flashover, which is considerably different for each insulator profile, is another consideration. What this means is that insulators showing lower leakage currents will not necessarily have the best operating performance. The insulator profile affects the accumulation of pollutants, which defines their pollution performance, and control of the leakage current by the insulator design depends largely on the type of pollutant. As a result, there is no unique solution, and leakage current values with flashover risk from laboratory tests for various types of insulators must be determined by using the type of pollutant in the field. This combination of strategies will provide an effective means of ensuring reliable transmission line operation in pollution zones.

Published in:

Electrical Insulation Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 4 )