Main advantages of polymer insulators

Polymer insulator is one of widely used insulators in the transmission & distribution line as there are many advantages for polymer insulators.

Main advantages of polymer insulators

Advantages related to pollution performance:

Designs based on silicone elastomers have demonstrated beyond doubt superior performance under environmentally extreme conditions. This “superior performance” is quantified as a lower flashover probability under any environmental condition, both measured in-field and at the laboratory. In all cases, this improvement applies both to new insulators and to insulators that have been aged in service and/or during ageing laboratory tests.

Available records demonstrate that properly tested designs based upon silicone elastomers offer extraordinary long-term performance over more than 30 years. Same records do also show evidence that this only happens with insulator designs that have surpassed long-duration artificial ageing tests, such as the 5 000 hours accelerated ageing test described in IEC 61109 and IEC 62217.

Designs based on different elastomer materials (other than silicone), such as EPDM, have demonstrated similar performance to that of ceramic insulators under severe pollution performance. It has been found that these designs tend to suffer from in- service degradation, associated with hydrophobicity loss, and this correlates with reported problems in surpassing complete testing cycles, such as those associated with IEC 61109 and IEC 62217.

Advantages related to handling, maintenance, and vandalism:

Polymer insulators are up to 90% lighter than ceramic designs.
Ceramic insulators require frequent washing in order to remove pollution layers, while polymer designs are essentially maintenance-free
Ceramic insulators are often coated with silicone materials in order to improve insulating performance under heavy pollution. This action implies significant costs in man/hours and service interruptions.
Polymer insulators are non-fragmentating and vandalic-resistant, being able to withstand gun shots and other vandalic actions.

 

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