Outdoor Insulation Technical Committee

Technical Committee Chair

Dr. Refat Ghunem

Scope, Aims and Strategic Objectives

The main aim of this technical committee is to develop IEEE guides on evaluation methods of high voltage insulation materials and applications in the outdoors. The following objectives can be highlighted in achieving this aim:

  • Providing a scheduled forum such as workshops, special sessions and meetings, addressing new challenges in the industry.
  • Conducting technical activities such as round robin testing, state-of-the-art literature surveys and workshops on recent advances.
  • Publishing review articles, position papers and special issues in the publications of the DEIS.

Background

Outdoor insulators have been widely recognized as backbone components of the power system. Reliable outdoor insulators are needed in order to withstand weathering conditions in outdoor environments. As such, outdoor insulating material formulations have been improved and novel composites have been proposed over the past few decades in order to address this need. In addition, the use of standard material screening methods has gained interest in order to evaluate these outdoor insulating material formulations or composites for different applications. These activities and areas of interest remain important in order to develop reliable outdoor insulating materials for new and emerging applications in the future.

The activities of the outdoor insulation technical committee are focused in three main areas; (1) novel solutions and outdoor insulating materials, (2) service experience and performance of outdoor insulating materials and insulators, and (3) material screening methods. A call is open for new proposals or initiatives within the scope or these areas of interest of the IEEE DEIS outdoor insulation technical committee are also welcome.

RTV Silicone Rubber Coatings

The application of silicone-based insulator coatings has gained interest over the past two decades in order to solve the pollution problem of ceramic insulators. With a hydrophobic surface, coated insulators have been operated without the need for frequent washing for a descent amount of time. Coated insulators also merge the advantages of a thermally stable ceramic insulation bulk made from porcelain or toughened glass and a hydrophobic silicone-based surface. Silicone rubber, which is the main constituent of these coatings, possesses a unique self-healing property among other polymers, whereby a low-molecular-weight (LMW) siloxane fluid diffuse to the surface from the bulk of the coating. This unique ability can washes off contaminants and restores hydrophobicity after a temporary loss of hydrophobicity. To this end, a main task for the outdoor insulation technical committee is to address in-service problems of silicone-based coatings in the power system and ultimately develop guides or best practices for their life cycle management.

Hand removal: a conventional replacement method of HVICs (from [1] Cherney et al., “End-of-Life and Replacement Strategies for RTV Silicone Rubber Coatings”, IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2014.)

Outdoor Polymer HVDC Insulators

Another area of interest is the application of outdoor polymer insulators in HVDC systems. The need for a smarter electric grid highlighted the importance of reliable outdoor insulation systems for HVDC delivery of power. Therefore, a key objective of this technical committee is to maintain state-of-the-art knowledge about these recent advances and build up an experience about the behaviour of different outdoor insulating materials in smart grid applications. This ongoing activity facilitates developing new reliable guides for material screening in these new applications.

The ASTM D2303 and IEC 60587 have been widely used standard methods in the industry in order to qualify different polymeric outdoor insulating materials under AC voltages. Both methods specify testing materials with standard voltage levels in specific testing methods. The IEEE DEIS outdoor insulation technical committee has worked on the development of an equivalent DC testing method. This task is important in the light of the concerns raised about the severe erosion reported under DC as compared to AC voltages.

Fig.2. Flow chart of the stepwise voltage method in the inclined plane tracking and erosion test (from R. A. Ghunem, “Using the Inclined-Plane Test to Evaluate the Resistance of Outdoor Polymer Insulating Materials to Electrical Tracking and Erosion”, IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine, Vol. 31, No. 5, 2015). The equivalent +DC and –DC voltage were approximated in [2] as 70% and 90% of the standard AC, respectively.

Outdoor Insulators and Pole Fires

Wildfires are major concern for operators of the power system. Outdoor insulators have been identified as a main root cause of pole fires in the power system, which highlights the need to understand the role of outdoor insulators in mitigating the risks of wildfires in the power system. The IEEE DEIS Outdoor Insulation Technical Committee has initiated a task force to review the state-of-the-art in this regard and prepare a review paper for submission to the IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine. The activities of the task force have been completed by the end of 2021. 

Super hydrophobic Insulators

Superhydrophobic insulators have gained wide interest for their potential advantages in the power system. Superhydrophobic outdoor insulating materials have been developed with a surface micro-nano structure in order to have an enhanced self-cleaning property, thereby targeting the mitigation of the pollution problem of outdoor insulators. The IEEE DEIS Outdoor Insulation Technical Committee has initiated a task force to review the state-of-the-art in this regard and prepare a review paper that discusses the development, feasibility and evaluation of superhydrophobic materials for outdoor insulation applications, for submission to the IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation. The activities of the task force have been completed by the end of 2021.  

New Task Forces in Year 2022

The IEEE DEIS Outdoor Insulation Technical Committee has initiated two new task forces in year 2022. The first task force explores evaluating the erosion of tracking resistant materials. The second task force explores the state-of-the-art about service experience of outdoor polymer insulators

Selected Current Activities and Achievements

The following IEEE guides and position papers were prepared by the outdoor insulation technical committee for publication in DEIS publications (since 2016). 

  • R. A. Ghunem (Chair), E. A. Cherney, M. Farzaneh, G. Momen, H. A. Illias, G. Mier, V. Peesapati, and F. Yin, Development and Application of Superhydrophobic Outdoor Insulation: “A Review Prepared by a Task Force of the IEEE DEIS Outdoor Insulation Technical Committee,” accepted for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, 2022. 
  • R. A. Ghunem, A. H. El-Hag, M. Marzinotto, M. T. Nazir, K. L. Wong and S. H. Jayaram, “Overhead Lines and Wildfires: Role of Outdoor Insulators: Prepared by a Task Force of the IEEE DEIS Outdoor Insulation Technical Committee,” IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 14-25, July/August 2022, doi: 10.1109/MEI.2022.9797260. 
  • IEEE Std 2652-2021- “IEEE Guide for DC Inclined Plane Tracking and Erosion Test for Outdoor Insulation Applications”.
  • IEEE Std 1523-2018 (Revision of IEEE Std 1523-2002) – “IEEE Guide for the Application, Maintenance, and Evaluation of Room-Temperature Vulcanizing (RTV) Silicone Rubber Coatings for Outdoor Ceramic Insulators”.

Members of the IEEE DEIS Outdoor Insulation Technical Committee/New Task Forces in Year 2022

  • Refat Ghunem (Chair), National Research Council, Canada
  • R. Sarathi (Vice Chair), Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India 
  • Edward Cherney, University of Waterloo, Canada 
  • Boxue Du, Tianjin University, China
  • Ayman El-Hag, University of Waterloo Canada, Canada
  • Ravi Gorur, University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA
  • Suat Ilhan, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey 
  • Shesha Jayaram, University of Waterloo, Canada 
  • Behzad Kordi, University of Manitoba, Canada 
  • Stefan Kornhuber, University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz, Germany
  • Stefan Kühnel, University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz, Germany 
  • Massimo Marzinotto, Terna, Italy 
  • Vidyadhar Peesapati, University of Manchester, UK
  • Valeria Pevtsov, Manitoba Hydro, Canada  
  • Mohammed El Amine SLAMA, Cardiff University, UK
  • Sara Tehermaram, Powertech Labs Inc., Canada 
  • Isaias Ramírez Vázquez, Instituto Nacional de Electricidad y Energias Limpias, Mexico
  • Jun Zhou, China Electric Power Research Institute, China 

Contact details for further technical committee information

Dr. Refat Ghunem: refat.ghunem@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca