Development of nano-based silicone rubber composites for high voltage insulation in Qatar environment
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This proposed research aims to improve the long-term performance of high voltage insulation systems for electric power transmission in the Gulf region. Outdoor insulators that are mounted on towers in order to support the conductors are critical backbone components of the transmission line infrastructure. Substation post insulators are another form supporting transmission lines entering into the transmission and distribution substations. As compared to underground insulation systems, outdoor high voltage insulation systems have been extensively used wherever possible, as they require less cost and facilitate accessibility for maintenance. However, their poor electrical performance threating the resilience of the entire transmission power infrastructure has been a significant concern. Such a concern is valid given the unique weathering conditions taking place in the Gulf region, accelerating the aging of these high voltage insulation systems, such as heavy deposition of dust and sands inland and heavy deposition of salts in coastal lines. Transmission line systems in the Gulf region are considered as critical infrastructure for which maintaining reliability of operation has been always a matter of national security. Therefore, maintaining reliable high voltage insulation infrastructure has a paramount important for utilities in the Gulf Region. High voltage insulators can be generally classified into ceramic, non-ceramic (also called polymer) and pre-coated ceramic insulators. For more than 100 years, ceramic insulators have been widely used primarily because of their thermal stability against electrical discharges. This high thermal stability is attributed to the strong bonds between the various atoms in the ceramic material . However, these bonds also lead to poor wetting performance, giving rise to leakage currents (LC) and eventually flashover. Such an issue has driven utilities in the Gulf region to replace these conventional ceramic insulators with polymeric insulators. For example, countries that are located in the Gulf region suffer from harsh pollution conditions and hence there is a need for frequent water washing of outdoor insulators. In some extreme cases, washing is conducted every couple of months â . So, there is a growing interest in these countries to switch from classical ceramic insulators to polymeric insulators. While the experience of using polymeric insulators in these countries is mostly encouraging, the long-term performance of these insulators is still not fully known. Aging that leads to complete mechanical failure of polymeric insulators has been reported . Therefore, using pre-coated ceramic insulators may be a good alternative offering the thermal stability advantage of the ceramic with a hydrophobic coating surface..........