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2132

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 25, NO. 4, OCTOBER 2010

Study on DC Pollution Flashover Performance of


Various Types of Long String Insulators Under
Low Atmospheric Pressure Conditions
Zhijin Zhang, Xinliang Jiang, Yafeng Chao, Ling Chen, Caixin Sun, and Jianlin Hu

AbstractIn this paper, the dc pollution flashover performance


of various types of porcelain, glass, and composite insulators is
investigated. It also presents analysis of the dc flashover process
of polluted insulator string at high altitude using insight from
high-speed photography. The research results indicate that the
relationship between the dc pollution flashover voltage and the
string length of insulators is basically linear, the characteristic
exponents describing the influence degree of air pressure on pollution flashover voltage vary between 0.35 and 0.77 and are related
to the insulator types and pollution degree, etc., the characteristic
exponents describing the influence degree of pollution on flashover
voltage vary between 0.24 and 0.36 and are related to the insulator
types and air pressure, etc. Based on the flashover phenomena
using the insight from high-speed photography, a new physical
model explaining the flashover mechanism for a polluted insulator
string at high altitude is introduced, which can be expressed as
an electrical circuit consisting of a surface arc of length 1 and
air-gap arc of length 2 in series with a resistance representing
the wet pollution layer. In addition, the exponent
describing
the influence degree of air pressure on flashover voltage for the
polluted insulator is discussed.
Index TermsDC, external insulation, flashover performance,
insulator string, low air pressure, pollution.

I. INTRODUCTION
NVIRONMENTAL pollution can cause the outdoor
insulators to become progressively coated with dirt and
chemicals in the long term. In the presence of wet atmospheric
conditions, the contamination particles on the insulator surface
will dissolve into the water and provide a continuous conducting path between the high-voltage electrode and ground
which makes a leakage current flow on the polluted layer of the
insulator. The formation of dry bands on the surface because
of the influence of the leakage current will result in arcing. The
arcs may suddenly elongate across the wet surface, leading to
a total flashover [1].

Manuscript received September 23, 2009; revised January 13, 2010. First
published August 23, 2010; current version published September 22, 2010.
This work was supported in part by the National Basic Research Program of
China (973 Program) (No. 2009CB724503) and in part by the foundation of
Chongqing University. Paper no. TPWRD-00714-2009.
The authors are with the State Key Laboratory of Power Transmission
Equipment and System Security and New Technology, Chongqing University,
Chongqing 400044, China (e-mail: zhangzhijing@cqu.edu.cn; xljiang@cqu.
edu.cn; yfchao@cqu.edu.cn; suncx@cqu.edu.cn; hujianlin@cqu.edu.cn;
cxxxz@163.com).
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TPWRD.2010.2049132

To ensure the safe and reliable operation of dc transmission


lines, a great number of research on dc flashover performance
of polluted insulators has been conducted at home and abroad
[1][34]. The artificial pollution tests of HVDC insulators, initiated by CIGRE and completed with the cooperation of corresponding IEEE working groups, show that dc flashover voltage
of the polluted insulators is about 20% lower than ac flashover
voltage under the same conditions [2]. References [3] and [4]
also give similar conclusions. References [5][6][7] give the
long-term research results of operation performance of composite insulators under dc voltage, and the results show that the
peak leak current of composite insulators energized dc voltage
is obviously lower than those of energized ac. The research on
pollution accumulation conducted by Sweden ASEA Co. and
American BPA Co., etc. show that the amount of accumulated
pollution on insulator surface under dc voltage is 20% 50%
heavier than that under ac voltage under the same condition [8].
The research [9] on the polarity effect of composite insulator
conducted by French researchers shows that the difference of dc
pollution flashover voltage between negative and positive polarity is less than 3%, so the polarity effect can be neglected.
Similar results are obtained by Chongqing University in China
in [10]. Researchers have conducted dc artificial pollution tests
on different types of insulators and the results show that under
the condition of moderate pollution, the flashover voltage of
composite insulators is 30% higher than that of glass insulator
string; the more serious the pollution is, the greater superiority
of composite insulators can be shown; the composite insulators
dc pollution flashover performance is better than its ac pollution flashover performance [11], [12]. U.S. The Electric Power
Research Institute (EPRI) conducted the dc pollution flashover
tests on five types of composite insulators with different shapes
(the length is about 3.5 m). The results show that the flashover
124 kV/m when the salt deposit density (SDD)
gradient is
is
mg/cm , and the configuration of composite insulators
has a great influence on dc pollution flashover voltage [9].
As is known to all, the effect of high altitude on transmissionline insulation has considerable influence on the hardware selection and operating conditions. Several investigations, mostly
experimental [13][18], have already addressed the problem of
altitude effects on pollution flashover of high-voltage insulators. The results show that the relationship between the flashover
voltage and air pressure for polluted insulators can be expressed
as follows:

0885-8977/$26.00 2010 IEEE

(1)

ZHANG et al.: STUDY ON DC POLLUTION FLASHOVER PERFORMANCE

where is the flashover voltage of polluted insulators at a low


is the flashover voltage of polluted insulators at
pressure ,
101.32 kPa, and is the exnormal atmosphere pressure
ponent describing the influence degree of air pressure which, in
general, depends on the type of voltage stress, insulator profile,
and pollution severity.
Rudakova and Tikhodeev [14] reviewed the Russian literature
on the subject, including field, laboratory, and vacuum chamber
tests and found that the exponent is in the range of
for dc. The experimental results [19] of Ishii et al., which were
obtained with half-scale insulator, showed that the exponent
is 0.35 for negative dc. DC pollution tests were performed on
98.6
different types of insulators in the pressure range of
kPa, and the results showed that varies in the range of
for different pollution severity and insulator types [20]. The
is
for cap-and-pin insulators and
for
post insulators according to the experimental tests [21], [22].
Despite the aforementioned experiments, the literature on the
air pressure dependence of flashover mechanism for insulators
shows very little reported work. Some attempts to model the
flashover mechanisms on polluted insulators beginning with results obtained with arcs struck between metallic electrodes are
analyzed by Wilkins [23] and by Novak [24]. Based on revised
values for thermal properties of air at high temperature by considering the effect of ambient pressure on the physical parameters of the dielectric recovery equation, Rizk introduced the
model of altitude effects on the ac flashover of polluted highvoltage insulators [25].
The need for Chinas rapid socioeconomic development for
electrical power promotes the fast development of the electrical
power industry. The unbalanced distribution of energy and load
center promotes the constructions of long-distance bulk HVDC
power transmission projects. But two-thirds of the territory of
China is plateau and mountainous areas with an altitude that is
higher than 1 km. Besides, the pollution is another main threat to
the power system in China. So the HVDC projects in China face
the compounding effects of pollution and high altitude. With the
change of altitude/air pressure, the pollution flashover performance will be different.
For example, the 800-kV dc Yun-Guang line (from Yunnan
Province to Guangdong Province) has a 268 km run through
areas higher than 2 km, and the highest area reaches about 2.7
km and the pollution level of equivalent salt deposit density
mg/cm .
(ESDD) is about
But present research cannot provide enough references to
the construction and operation of the 800-kV HVDC line. So
knowing how to deal with the combined influence of high altitude and pollution on the flashover performance of the insulators on ultra-high voltage (UHV) dc transmission lines is a key
technical problem faced by Chinese UHV projects. To solve the
problem of the pollution flashover in order to ensure the 800
kV transmission lines safe and reliable operation, it is important
and urgent to study the pollution flashover performance of UHV
dc transmission-line insulators at high altitude sites. This paper
also presents the analysis of the dc flashover process of polluted
insulator at high altitude using insight from high-speed photography. It then introduces a new physical process to explain the
flashover performance for the polluted insulator at high altitude.

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II. TEST FACILITIES, SPECIMENS, AND TEST PROCEDURES


A. Test Facilities
All tests were performed in the multifunction artificial climate chamber with a diameter of 7.8 m and a height of 11.6 m,
and the power supply is led by a 330-kV wall bushing. The temC by the
perature of climate chamber can be lowered to
refrigeration system, and the atmospheric pressure can be depressed to 30 kPa by vacuum pump. Furthermore, in the climate
chamber, strong ultraviolet light can be simulated, and the wind
velocity can be adjusted from 0 m/s to 12 m/s.
The dc power supply is a 600-kV/0.5-A cascade rectifying
circuit controlled by the thyristor voltage-current feedback
system which ensures that the voltage ripple factor is less than
3.0% when load current is 0.5 A, the dynamic voltage drop
is less than 5%, and the relative voltage overshoot, due to
load-release, is less than 8%. The test power supply satisfies
the requirements recommended by [26][30].
B. Test Specimens
The specimens are porcelain, glass, and composite insulators,
as shown in Fig. 1. Their main parameters are shown in Table I.
In Table I,
is the length of insulator in millimeters; is the
creepage distance in millimeters, and is the diameter of shed
in millimeters. SIR is the abbreviation of silicone rubber.
C. Test Procedures
1) Polluting Manners: Before the tests, all samples were
carefully cleaned so that all traces of dirt and grease were removed and dried naturally. For composite insulators, the surfaces of the samples were coated by a very thin layer of dry
kieselguhr to destroy the hydrophobicity which would be at the
degree of WC4 or WC5. Since the layer of kieselguhr was very
thin, the effect of the kieselguhr on the nonsoluble deposit density (NSDD) could be neglected.
The insulators were polluted by quantitative coating with
pasting method. Sodium chloride and kieselguhr were used to
simulate conductive and inert materials, respectively. First, the
required amount of sodium chloride and kieselguhr were calculated and weighed according to the specified SDD, NSDD, and
the surface areas of the specimens, and the errors of the weight
of sodium chloride and kieselguhr were less than 1% and
10%, respectively. Then, the sodium chloride and kieselguhr
were mixed to slurry with appropriate volume of deionized
. In 1 h after the pretreatment, the
water
specimens were polluted by fully stirred suspension. After 24
h of natural drying, the specimens were suspended into the
climate chamber.
It is well known that the nonuniformity between the upper
surface and the lower surface of a suspension-type insulator affects the pollution flashover voltage. The SDD and NSDD of the
upper surface are equal to that of the lower surface of all insulators in this paper.
2) Arrangement: The minimum clearances between any part
of the samples and any earthed objects met the requirements
of [31].
3) Wetting: The polluted insulators were wetted by steam
fog. The steam fog was generated by a 1.5 t/h boiler, the nozzles

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 25, NO. 4, OCTOBER 2010

TABLE II
COMPARING THE RESULTS BETWEEN U AND U

The air pressure was reduced to a level lower


than
the simulated/target value. Then, the valve of fog generator was
turned on to let the steam fog in. In order to keep the fog spray
rate at the target value, the opening degree of the valve at this
of that at normal air pressure. The
condition was
flashover test was conducted when the pressure in the chamber
reached the target value and the pollution layer was sufficiently
wetted.
4) Determination of Flashover Voltage: In this study, an
even-rising voltage method was adopted and the step-up rate
was 3 kV/s. Flashover tests were carried out on
strings
times per string at the same pollution
of insulators and
degree. The flashover voltages, whose deviation was less than
10% compared to the mean value of those flashover voltages,
was defined as valid flashover voltages. The average value of
valid flashover voltage was defined as average flashover voltage
at that pollution degree
of insulator string

(2)
Fig. 1. Profiles of test insulators. (a) Type A: XP-160. (b) Type B: XZP-210.
(c) Type C: LXZP-210. (d) Type D: LXZP-300. (e) Type E: FXBW-500/160.
(f) Type F: FXBZ- 800/400.

TABLE I
PARAMETERS OF INSULATORS

were perpendicular to the axis of test insulator, and the distance


between them was greater than 3.5 m. The input rate of fog is
, and the temperature in the chamber was
C
C. The wetness degree of the
controlled between
pollution layer on the insulators was determined by measuring
the layer conductivity. The test voltage was applied to the samples immediately when the conductivity reached the maximum
value.
The input of steam fog would raise the air pressure in the
chamber, and the air pressure difference between the inside and
the outside of chamber would accelerate the rate of input of fog,
so the following measures were taken when testing dc pollution
flashover performance of the insulator string under lower air
pressure:

(3)
where
is the average flashover voltage of the insulator (in
kilovolts), is the pollution flashover voltage for the time (in
kilovolts), is the number of valid flashover voltages, and
is the relative standard deviation of the test results.
To evaluate the method, the up and down method was also
used in this paper with the voltage step being 5% of the ex, and the results are shown
pected 50% withstand voltage
in Table II.
and
of the inThe conclusions can be drawn that the
is
sulator decrease with the increase of SDD and the value of
higher, about 4 6% than that of
under the same conditions.
Numerous experimental results indicate that the relationship
between the dc pollution flashover voltage and SDD can be expressed as follows [2][12]:
(4)
where is the coefficient that is related to the insulator types,
materials, air pressure and voltage types; SDD is the salt deposit
density mg/cm ; is the characteristic exponent describing the
influence degree of SDD on pollution flashover voltage and it
is related to the insulator types, air pressure, and voltage types,
etc.

ZHANG et al.: STUDY ON DC POLLUTION FLASHOVER PERFORMANCE

2135

TABLE III
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DC POLLUTION FLASHOVER VOLTAGE (U ) AND STRING LENGTH ( )

TABLE IV
POLLUTION FLASHOVER VOLTAGES OF INSULATORS AT LOW AIR PRESSURE

Fitting the test results in Table II with (4), the values of


are 0.29 and 0.30 for the even-rising voltage method and up
and down method, respectively. Thus, according to the results
of these two test methods, the change law of the
or
on
the SDD is basically identical. The even-rising voltage method
was applied because of its high efficiency in this paper.
III. DC POLLUTION FLASHOVER PERFORMANCE OF INSULATOR
STRINGS UNDER LOW AIR PRESSURE
A. Test Results
The dc pollution flashover performances of various insulators were investigated according to the aforementioned test processes; the results are shown in Tables III and IV.
The conclusions according to Tables III and IV are as follows.
1) The dispersion of the test results is small and the relative
of these results are all less than
standard deviations
7%.

2) The dc pollution flashover voltage of insulators decreases


with an increase of SDD and a decrease of air pressure.
3) With the increase of SDD, the influence of air pressure on
dc pollution flashover voltage of the insulator is reduced.
Take the string of 21 units XP-160 (Type A), for example,
Table IV, the air pressure decrease from 98.6 kPa to
are 44.1 kV
70.1 kPa, the decreasing amplitudes of
and 18.4 kV when SDD is
mg/cm and SDD is
0.15 mg/cm , respectively.
4) There is a nearly linear relation between
and the
insulator string length up to 21 units at high altitude.
The reason is that the polluted insulator string can be
equivalent to series resistances under dc voltage, and
the resistance performance of the polluted insulators is
mainly determined by the resistance of the surface pollution layer which depends on the physical properties of
the contaminants themselves; it is not related to the air
pressure.

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 25, NO. 4, OCTOBER 2010

Fig. 2. Relationships between


: mg/cm . (b)

= 0 03

of polluted insulators and

SDD = 0:15 mg/cm .

P=P

(a) SDD

Fig. 3. Relationships between


98.6 kPa. (b) P
70.1 kPa.

of polluted insulators and

SDD (a) P

TABLE V
VALUES OF U AND n FOR VARIOUS INSULATORS UNDER DIFFERENT SDD

2) For the influence degree of air pressure on the dc pollution


flashover voltage, Type B is the smallest and type A is the
greatest.
C. Relationship Between the Flashover Voltage and Pollution

B. Relationship Between Flashover Voltage and air Pressure


The general conclusion is that dc and ac discharge voltage
of the polluted insulators decreases with the decrease of the air
pressure. Fitting the test results in Table IV with (1), the fitting
curves are shown in Fig. 2, and the values of and for various
insulators under different SDDs are shown in Table V.
The conclusions according to Fig. 2 and Table V are as follows.
and is related to insulator
1) The value of is
types and SDD.

DC pollution flashover voltage is related to the pollution


severity as shown in Table IV. DC pollution flashover voltage
decreases with the increase of pollution degree.
Fitting the test results in Table IV according to (4), the values
of and of various insulators under different air pressures are
shown in Table VI and the fitting curves are shown in Fig. 3.
The conclusions according to Fig. 3 and Table VI are as
follows.
1) The value of of dc pollution flashover voltage is
.
2) The value of is related to air pressure and decreases with
the decrease of air pressure. The reason is that there is a
phenomenon of arc floating during the process of dc pollution flashover, and the higher the altitude/lower air pressure
is, the heavier the arc floating will occur (i.e., the greater
proportion of air-gap arcs in partial arcs will be. The performance difference of the air-gap arcs and surface arcs
makes the characteristic exponent decrease.

ZHANG et al.: STUDY ON DC POLLUTION FLASHOVER PERFORMANCE

2137

TABLE VI
FITTING VALUE OF A, b ACCORDING TO THE TEST RESULTS OF WITH (4)

Fig. 5. Insulators string length flashover gradient of various types of insulators


(SDD = 0:05 mg/cm ) .

Fig. 4. Creepage flashover gradient of various types of insulators (SDD =

0 05 mg/cm ).

3) The value of is related to insulator types, as shown in


Table VI, for the influence degree of pollution on the dc
pollution flashover voltage, Type B is the largest and Type
F is the smallest. It means that type F is superior in the
heavy polluted locations because of composite insulators
under pollution condition arising from the smaller diameter
of the sheds which, in turn, limits the leakage current.
Definine the insulators creepage flashover gradient as the
to the creepage distance
ratio of pollution flashover voltage
, namely,
, define the insulators string length
flashover gradient as the ratio of pollution flashover voltage
to the length of insulator , namely,
. The
and
of various types polluted insulators are shown in Figs. 4 and
5 according to the test results and the basic technical parameters
of the insulators in Table I.
The conclusions according to Figs. 4 and 5 are as follows: The
and
are different for various types of insulators. Under
the same pollution degree and the same pressure, the
and
of the composite insulators is higher than that of the porcelain and the glass insulators. Type E has the maximal creepage
flashover gradient, which indicates that the utilization rate of the
leakage distance of this composite insulator is the best.
IV. DC FLASHOVER PROCESS OF THE POLLUTED INSULATOR
AT HIGH ALTITUDE
To reveal the question as to how air pressure affects the dc
pollution flashover performance of the insulator string, the dc

flashover process of the 5-unit XP-160 polluted insulator string


at high altitude is obtained through the high-speed framing
camera of HG-100 K while setting the imaging rate 1000
frames/s, as shown in Fig. 6.
Fig. 6 shows that the dc flashover process of the polluted insulator string at high altitude includes four stages as follows: 1)
wetness of the contamination layer on the insulator surface, 2)
formation of dry bands, 3) burning and elongate of the partial
arc, and 4) finally flashover. The phenomenon of extinguishing
and re-burning the arc is not evident during the process of dc
partial arc elongation.
Some of the partial arcs may deviate from the surface of polluted insulator string at high altitude and form the air-gap arc,
which may become more serious with the increment of altitude.
That is to say, the partial arcs include two main parts: air-gap
arc and surface arc during the flashover process for the polluted
insulator string at high altitude.
The existence of the air-gap arc during the flashover process
for the polluted insulator string at high altitude makes the distance of discharge path shorter than the total leakage distance of
the insulator string. It takes about 6 s from the burning of partial arc to flashover for the 5-unit XP-160 insulator string at the
air pressure of 63.6 kPa, that is to say, the average propagation
velocity of the partial arc is lower than 10 m/s at high altitude.
According to the aforementioned insight of the dc flashover
process of polluted insulator at high altitude from high-speed
photography, the physical flashover process of the polluted insulator string at high altitude can be simply described, as shown
in Fig. 7.
Based on the Obenaus model, a new physical model explaining the flashover mechanism for polluted insulator at high
altitude can be put forward in this paper. It can be simply exand
pressed as a circuit consisting of a surface arc of length
in series with a resistance representing
air-gap arc of length
the wet pollution layer supplied by a constant voltage.
In order to reveal the mechanisms underlying the decrease in
flashover voltage of an insulator at high altitude, the air-gap arc
and surface arc characteristics at high altitude (especially the
difference between them, which had been mentioned by D.A.
Swift in his discussion of [25]) must be determined.
Many studies have been carried out to determine the arc characteristics [23][25], [32][34]. The voltage gradient-current

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 25, NO. 4, OCTOBER 2010

Fig. 6. Pollution flashover process of five units of XP-160 (P = 63:6 kPa; SDD = 0:05 mg/cm ).

Using spheres with the diameter of 20 mm, we determined the


dc air-gap arc characteristics at low air pressure and obtained the
characteristics as follows [35]:
Negative

(8)

The voltage balance equation expressing the pollution


flashover process at high altitude with a static voltage is given

(9)

Fig. 7. Physical process of the polluted insulator string at high altitude.

characteristics of an arc at standard and low air pressure


can be expressed as follows:
(5)
is the voltage gradient along arc (in volts per cenwhere
timeter; is the current through arc (in amperes); is the air
pressure corresponding to determine the arc characteristics (in
is the normal atmosphere pressure
101.32 kPa;
kPa);
, , and are the constants of the arc characteristics.
Using a plane triangular glass sample, we investigated the
dc flashover on a polluted surface under high altitude conditions and obtained the surface arc characteristics shown as follows [35]:
Positive arc

(6)

Negative arc

(7)

where is the dc voltage applied to the insulator string; is the


leakage current passing through the polluted insulator string;
is the surface resistance of the pollution layer;
is the length
is the length of the air-gap arc; is the
of the surface arc;
,
,
length of residual pollution layer of insulator string;
and
are the constants of the surface arc characteristics;
,
, and
are the constants of the air-gap arc characteristics
represents the electrode fall voltage. The total length of
and
, , and
is shorter than the total leakage distance
of
units of the insulator string.
The surface resistance of the pollution layer is
(10)
where
is the equivalent diameter of the polluted insulator
is the surface conductivity. The equivalent diameter of
and
the insulator, which is expressed in centimeters, is defined [33]
as
(11)
where is the form factor of the insulator and
of units in an insulator string

is the number

(12)

ZHANG et al.: STUDY ON DC POLLUTION FLASHOVER PERFORMANCE

2139

where
is the insulator diameter as a function of the position
on the insulator.
Usually, it is very difficult to obtain the general solution of a
multiple power function. To reveal the flashover mechanism of
the polluted insulator string, the best approach is to discuss the
extreme condition.
0)
1) Suppose the partial arcs are all surface arcs (i.e.,
during the flashover process for the polluted insulator string at
high altitude. Then, (9) can be changed as follows:

TABLE VII
VALUES OF CUR

During the flashover process for the polluted insulator string


at high altitude, the air-gap arc and surface arc may occur at the
same time. Thus, the exponent describing the influence degree
of air pressure is

(13)
(22)
Suppose is constant, using
, the minimum
to maintain an arc with certain length can be devoltage
rived. When

0.50,
0.52,
0.92,
Taking
into (22), the following can be reached:

0.28 [35],

(23)
(14)

(15)
, the critical arc length
From
by numerical solution

can be obtained

(16)

Thus, it can be seen that the exponent describing the influence degree of air pressure is in the range of 0.33 0.72 according to (23). The value of depends on the ratio of the length
of the air-gap arc to the length of the surface arc during the
flashover process for the polluted insulator string at high altitude. The main reason that makes the of insulators different is
the partial arc fluttering degree difference for insulators.
V. DETERMINATION OF STRING LENGTH
-KV UHV LINE
ON

Therefore, the critical current and critical flashover voltage


are

In the test, the pollution on insulators is even, but pollution


on insulators in service is uneven. So the experimental results
should be corrected [9] by

(17)

(24)

(18)
Equation (18) shows that the exponent describing the influence degree of air pressure is
under the condition.
0)
2) Suppose the partial arcs are all air-gap arcs (i.e.,
during the flashover process for the polluted insulator string at
high altitude. Then, (9) can be changed as follows:

where is a coefficient which varies between 0.29 and 0.47,


the value of takes 0.38 according to major experiences in the
is the pollution uneven coefficient which is defined
world;
as the ratio of SDD on the upper shed surface to that on the lower
are shown in Table VII.
shed surface The values of
For the 800-kV dc UHV transmission line, its rating voltage
is 800 kV and its maximum operating voltage
is
816 kV. Considering the dispersion and certain safety margin,
the target withstand voltage of its suspension insulator string is

(19)
where is the ratio of the distance of the discharge path to the
total leakage distance of insulator strings and
.
Using the aforementioned method, the critical current and
critical flashover voltage can be obtained as follows:

(25)
where is the standard deviation of experimental results, and
takes 7% according to the design and operation experience.
is 1033 kV. Experimental
So the target withstand voltage
research results show that the discrepancy of average flashover
voltage and 50% flashover voltage is a standard deviation.

(20)
A. String Length for the Porcelain or Glass Insulator

Equation (21) shows that the exponent


ence degree of air pressure is

(21)

If the porcelain or glass insulator is used in the 800-kV transmission line, the number of insulator units can be determined by

describing the influunder the condition.

(26)

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 25, NO. 4, OCTOBER 2010

TABLE VIII
NUMBER OF SUSPENSION INSULATOR UNITS OBTAINED BY EXPERIMENT

3)

TABLE IX
STRING LENGTH OF THE INSULATOR OBTAINED BY EXPERIMENT (in meters)

4)

5)

6)
where
is the average flashover voltage of the insulator
is the string length; and it
per unit obtained by experiment;
takes the minimum integer larger than or equal to the calculated
result depending on whether the calculated result is decimal. So
according to the experimental results, the number of insulator
units for the 800-kV line is shown in Table VIII.
B. String Length for Composite Insulator
If the composite insulator is used in the 800-kV transmission line, the sting length of insulator can be determined by
(27)
is the insulators string length flashover grawhere
dient by experiment, and is the string length (in meters). So
according to the experimental results, the string length for the
800-kV line is shown in Table IX.
According to the calculation results, the string length is about
10.88 m for XZP-210 or 8.43 m for the composite insulator
in the regions with an air pressure of 89.8 kPa (about height
mg/cm . The
altitude of 1000 m) and below and the SDD of
composite insulator has advantages in the selection of external
insulation in heavy pollution areas.
VI. CONCLUSION
Based on the dc pollution flashover performance tests performed on different types of porcelain, glass long insulator
strings, and the composite long-rod insulator in an artificial climate chamber where high altitude was simulated, conclusions
are obtained as follows.
1) From the viewpoint of engineering applications, the relationship between pollution flashover voltage of the insulator under high-altitude conditions and string length is ba.
sically linear when
2) DC pollution flashover voltage decreases with the increase of pollution level, and the characteristic exponent

7)

describing the influence degree of SDD on pollution


flashover voltage is related to insulator type, air pres, the values of are
sure, etc. For the types of
,
,
,
,
, and
, respectively.
DC pollution flashover voltage decreases with the decrease
of air pressure, and the characteristic exponent describing
the influence degree of air pressure on pollution flashover
voltage is related to insulator type, pollution degree, etc.
, the values of are
,
For the types of
,
,
,
, and
, respectively.
The influence degree of pollution and air pressure on the dc
flashover voltage of the insulator is related to the material
of the insulator. The composite insulator has advantages in
the selection of external insulation in heavy pollution areas.
From the dc flashover process of the polluted insulator at
high altitude by a high-speed photograph, it can be obviously seen that the partial arcs include two main parts: 1)
air gap arc and 2) surface arc.
A new physical model explaining the flashover mechanism
of the polluted insulator at high altitude is introduced by
and
using a circuit consisting of a surface arc of length
air-gap arc of length
in series with a resistance representing the wet pollution layer supplied by a constant
voltage.
deAccording to mathematic solution, the exponent
scribing the influence degree of air pressure is given,
. The value of
which is in the range of
depends on the ratio of the length of air to the length of
surface arc during the flashover process for the polluted
insulator string at high altitude.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors would like to thank all members of the external


insulation research team in Chongqing University for their hard
work to obtain the experimental data in this paper.
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Zhijin Zhang was born in Fujian Province, China,


in 1976. He received the B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D.
degrees from Chongqing University, Chongqing,
China, in 1999, 2002, and 2007 respectively.
Currently, he is an Associate Pofessor of the
College of Electrical Engineering at Chongqing
University, Chonqing, China. His main research
interests include high voltage, external insulation,
numerical modeling, and simulation. He is the author
or coauthor of several technical papers.

Xinliang Jiang was born in Hunan Province, China,


on July 31, 1961. He received the M.Sc. and Ph.
D. degrees from Chongqing University, Chonqing,
China, in 1988 and 1997, respectively.
His employment experiences include the
Shaoyang Glass Plant, Shaoyang; Hunan Province;
Wuhan High Voltage Research Institute, Wuhan
Hubei Province; and College of Electrical Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing China.
His special fields of interest include high-voltage
external insulation, transmission lines icing and
protection. He published his first monograph-Transmission Lines Icing and
Protection in 2001, and has published more than 80 papers about his professional work. He received the Second-Class Reward for Science and Technology
Advancement from the Ministry of Power in 1995; Beijing Government in
1998; Ministry of Education in 1991 and 2001, respectively; the First-Class
Reward for Science and Technology Advancement from the Ministry of Power
in 2004; the Third-Class Reward for Science and Technology Advancement
from the Ministry of Power in 2005; the Second-Class Reward for Science
and Technology Advancement from the Ministry of Technology in 2005; the
First-Class Reward for Science and Technology Advancement from Ministry
of Education in 2007; and the First-Class Reward for Science and Technology
Advancement from Chongqing City in 2007.

Yafeng Chao was born in Hubei Province, China,


on February 19, 1982. He received the M.Sc. degree
from Chongqing University, Chonqing, China, in
2008, and is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree
in the College of Electric Engineering, Chongqing
University, Chonqing, China.
His main research interests include high-voltage
technology, external insulation, and transmission-line icing. He is the author or coauthor of
several technical papers.

Ling Chen was born in Chongqing, China, in


November 1982. He received the B.Sc. degree
from Harbin University of Science and Technology,
Harbin, China in 2005 and the M.Sc. degree from
Xihua University, Sichuan, China, in 2008, and is
currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree in the College
of Electric Engineering, Chongqing University,
Chonqing.
His research interests include high voltage and
transmission-line icing and deicing.

2142

Caixin Sun was born in Chongqing, China, on December 13, 1944. He graduated from Chongqing University, Chonqing.
Currently, he is Professor and Doctorate Advisor
of the College of Electrical Engineering, Chongqing
University. His current research includes electrical
external insulation technology in complex climatic
environments, online detection of insulation condition, and insulation fault diagnosis for high-voltage
apparatus and high voltage techniques applied in
biomedicine.
Mr. Sun is a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER DELIVERY, VOL. 25, NO. 4, OCTOBER 2010

Jianlin Hu was born in Hubei Province, China,


in January 1978. He received the B.Sc. and M.Sc.
degrees from Chongqing University, Chongqing,
China, in 2001 and 2003, respectively, where he is
currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree.
He has been a Teacher in the College of Electrical
Engineering, Chongqing University, since 2003. His
main research interests include high-voltage external
insulation.