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Simulation of electric field: what and what not to expect

Title: Simulation of electric field: what and what not to expect.
Presented at: 2022 INMR World Congress, Oct 16 – 19 2022, Berlin, Germany.


For composite insulators (usually equipped with grading/corona rings), numerical simulations are commonly, not to say systematically required to ascertain the electric field at three sensitive areas: on the grading/corona ring and end fittings, on the housing surface, and at the triple point where air and housing meet the metallic end fitting. The main purpose is to assess the risk of having deep erosion related to water droplet corona. This degradation is considered as critical because erosion on a composite insulator sheath can go deep down to the fiberglass core and results in brittle fractures or other failure modes.

The situation is very different for toughened glass (or porcelain) cap and pin insulators, with or without RTV coating. The approach described above is usually not considered by end users since the absence of fiberglass core in such cap and pin insulators avoids having these concerns and the only characteristic to consider is the visible corona inception voltage. This corona inception is directly related to the electric field in the air surrounding an insulator string and to the voltage grading along this string.

Sediver has a long experience in E-Field calculation with contributions to CIGRE in the evaluation of E-Field methods as early as the late 1980s where such calculation was still in its infancy. Sediver now uses extensively Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of electric field distribution and voltage grading to validate and secure the design of insulator strings up to the complete assemblies with hardware and fittings. Sediver currently works on COMSOL after having used ELECTRO and COULOMB. Several examples of these works on AC Overhead Lines insulator strings are presented in this paper.

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