Associate Professor of the Practice Dmitry Titov and Research Engineer Klim Volkhov from the Energy Center published laboratory results of assessing the possibility of a frequent reason for power outages in Russia — flashovers of high-voltage insulators in overhead power lines. The flashovers of insulator strings result from surface contamination and reduced flashover characteristics of insulators. Apart from failures, they also lead to high costs on emergency repair works. The research is part of the project aimed to develop a technology for risk-oriented management of insulation.
Owned by the Yuzhnouralsky Insulators and Fittings Plant, a leading manufacturer of high-voltage insulators, the novel technology is now in pilot operation in power lines of the Rosseti Moscow power company. The article came out in the proceedings of the 2023 International Conference on Industrial Engineering, Applications and Manufacturing published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
According to the authors, it is difficult to determine the state of insulators and level of their contamination, while insulators are replaced either after the expiry of operation or based on subjective assessments of power company employees. The new device — a hardware and software platform with sensors and data processing tools — helps make the assessment process more objective and reduce insulator maintenance costs.
At the first stage, researchers developed a mathematical tool, which assessed the state of the insulation, and then proceeded to sensors. The study involved experiments of two types — at the laboratories and power grid facilities. “Laboratories provide high-voltage equipment, which allows imitating power line operation processes,” says Volkhov. “We used portable oscilloscopes to model different states of insulators and identify their characteristics while they are contaminated, moistened or when their number or types are changed. The second type of experiment is field measurements. We collected data about leakage currents in insulators at the real plant grid facilities in the Dagestan Republic, Volgograd and Tula regions, and in Moscow. Then, we put them in a dataset and processed it.”