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ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Effective December 6, 2006, this report has been made publicly available in accordance with Section 734.3(b)(3) and published in accordance with Section 734.7 of the U.S. Export Administration Regulations. As a result of this publication, this report is subject to only copyright protection and does not require any license agreement from EPRI. This notice supersedes the export control restrictions and any proprietary licensed material notices embedded in the document prior to publication.

Field Guide: Visual Inspection of Polymer Insulators


1013283

Please note that this field guide is the public version of EPRI product 1020289, which is available for download only and contains updated content.

Field Guide: Visual Inspection of Polymer Insulators


1013283

Technical Update, May 2006

EPRI Project Manager A. Phillips


ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE 3420 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94304-1395 PO Box 10412, Palo Alto, California 94303-0813 USA 800.313.3774 650.855.2121 askepri@epri.com www.epri.com

DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITIES


THIS DOCUMENT WAS PREPARED BY THE ORGANIZATION(S) NAMED BELOW AS AN ACCOUNT OF WORK SPONSORED OR COSPONSORED BY THE ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE, INC. (EPRI). NEITHER EPRI, ANY MEMBER OF EPRI, ANY COSPONSOR, THE ORGANIZATION(S) BELOW, NOR ANY PERSON ACTING ON BEHALF OF ANY OF THEM: (A) MAKES ANY WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION WHATSOEVER, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, (I) WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF ANY INFORMATION, APPARATUS, METHOD, PROCESS, OR SIMILAR ITEM DISCLOSED IN THIS DOCUMENT, INCLUDING MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR (II) THAT SUCH USE DOES NOT INFRINGE ON OR INTERFERE WITH PRIVATELY OWNED RIGHTS, INCLUDING ANY PARTY'S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, OR (III) THAT THIS DOCUMENT IS SUITABLE TO ANY PARTICULAR USER'S CIRCUMSTANCE; OR (B) ASSUMES RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING ANY CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF EPRI OR ANY EPRI REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES) RESULTING FROM YOUR SELECTION OR USE OF THIS DOCUMENT OR ANY INFORMATION, APPARATUS, METHOD, PROCESS, OR SIMILAR ITEM DISCLOSED IN THIS DOCUMENT. ORGANIZATION(S) THAT PREPARED THIS DOCUMENT: EPRI

NOTE
For further information about EPRI, call the EPRI Customer Assistance Center at 800.313.3774 or e-mail askepri@epri.com. Electric Power Research Institute and EPRI are registered service marks of the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. Copyright 2006 Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

CITATIONS
This report was prepared by Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) 1300 W.T. Harris Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28262 Principal Investigators A. Phillips T. Shaw This report describes research sponsored by EPRI. The report is a corporate document that should be cited in the literature in the following manner:

Field Guide: Visual Inspection of Polymer Insulators. EPRI, Palo Alto, CA: 2006. 1013283.

iii

CONTENTS
1. Anatomy of a Polymer Insulator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 2. Definition of Dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 3. Maintenance Priority Rating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Maintenance Priority Rating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 4. Sheds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Splits and Punctures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Torn or Damaged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Gunshot Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 5. Sheath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Exposed Rod (Electrical Activity) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Exposed Rod (Mishandling) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Unclipped Sections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Splits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Gunshot Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 6. Sheds and Sheath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Whitening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Animal Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Undermining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Cracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Alligatoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Erosions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Contamination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 Crazing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Fungus or Mold Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Insect Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54 Hydrophobicity Loss (SIR) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Silicone Grease on Surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58

7. Corona Rings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Flashover Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Incorrect Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 Loose Ring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66 Gunshot Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68 8. End Fittings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71 Flashover Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 Degraded Seal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74 Corrosion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 9. Failure Mode Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Failure Mode Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80 Brittle Fracture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82 Flashunder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84 Destruction of Rod by Discharge Activity . . . . . . . . .86 Mechanical Failure: Rod Failure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Mechanical Failure: End Fitting Pullout . . . . . . . . . . .90

Contact Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93

1. Anatomy of a Polymer Insulator

1. POLYMER INSULATORS

Anatomy of a Polymer Insulator

ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE

End Fitting

Fiberglass Rod Sheath

Sheds

End Fitting

Sheds

Sheath

1. POLYMER INSULATORS

Anatomy of a Polymer Insulator

Corona Ring (Installed Incorrectly)

Corona Ring

ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE

2. Definition of Dimensions

2.DEFINITION

OF

DIMENSIONS

Definition of Dimensions

Dimension Connection Length

Definition

Properties Influenced Physical location of conductors and hardware in configuration

Dry Arc Distance (with no corona ring)

Power frequency, lightning, and switching surge performance

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Dimension Dry Arc Distance (with corona ring)

Definition

Properties Influenced Power frequency, lightning, and switching surge performance

Leakage (Creepage Distance)

Contamination flashover performance

2.DEFINITION

OF

DIMENSIONS

3. Maintenance Priority Rating

3. MAINTENANCE PRIORITY RATING

Maintenance Priority Rating

Maintenance Priority Rating

Each polymer insulator condition illustrated in this Guide has been assigned a Maintenance Priority Rating which indicates the severity of the problem. The Maintenance Priority Ranking below is only a recommendation provided by EPRI.

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Maintenance Priority Rating


Maintenance Priority Rating A B C D Definition Good or like new. No action required. Low degree of damage, wear, decay. Monitor for future damage. Moderate degree of damage, wear, decay. Consider replacement. High degree of damage, wear, decay. Remove polymer insulator from service.

3. MAINTENANCE PRIORITY RATING

11

4. Sheds
Sheds

4. SHEDS

13

Sheds

Splits and Punctures

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Splits and Punctures


Rating Observation Action

Split localized to sheds Monitor for growth of splits and possible progression to sheath Split progressing towards or close to sheath Puncture through shed Remove polymer insulator from service at next opportunity

What You See: Splits or punctures in sheds (splits often along mold line). Possible Cause: Aging and/or poor design or manufacture, mishandling. Resulting Failure Mode: Exposure of rod
4. SHEDS

Brittle Fracture, Flashunder, Rod Destruction by Discharge Activity


15

Sheds

Torn or Damaged

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Torn or Damaged
Rating B Observation Tear is across shed Action Monitor for growth of splits and possible progression to sheath Remove polymer insulator from service at next opportunity

C
C Tear has progressed or is progressing to the sheath

What You See: Torn/damaged sheds damage does not extend to sheath; rod not exposed. Possible Cause: Mishandling during shipping, storage, or installation. Resulting Failure Mode: Tear extends to sheath Exposure of rod Destruction of rod by discharge activity Brittle fracture, Flashunder,

4. SHEDS

17

Sheds

Gunshot Damage
B B

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Gunshot Damage
Rating Observation Damage to sheds only Action Monitor for growth of splits and possible progression to sheath

B or C

Bullets lodged in sheds Monitor for discharge activity, remove polymer insulator from service at next opportunity

What You See: Sheds punctured/broken by gunshot. Possible Cause: Gunshot. Resulting Failure Mode: Discharge activity from lodged bullets Shed/sheath damage Exposure of rod Brittle Fracture, Flashunder, Destruction of rod by discharge activity
4. SHEDS 19

5. Sheath

Sheath

5. SHEATH

21

Sheath

Exposed Rod (Electrical Activity)


D D

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Exposed Rod (Electrical Activity)


D
Rating Observation D Exposed rod Action Remove polymer insulator from service

What You See: Severe degradation of rubber and rod is exposed to elements. Possible Cause: Excessive electrical activity, harsh environment, poor design and/or manufacturing. Resulting Failure Mode: Exposed rod Brittle fracture, Flashunder, Destruction of rod by discharge activity

5. SHEATH

23

Sheath

Exposed Rod (Mishandling)


D D

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Exposed Rod (Mishandling)


D
Rating Observation D Exposed rod Action Remove polymer insulator from service

What You See: Exposed rod and damage to rubber sheath. Possible Cause: Mishandling during shipping, storage, or installation. Resulting Failure Mode: Exposed rod Brittle fracture, Flashunder, Destruction of rod by discharge activity

5. SHEATH

25

Sheath

Unclipped Sections
D D

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Unclipped Sections
D
Rating Observation D Exposed rod - between end fitting and sheath sections - between sheath sections Action Remove polymer insulator from service

What You See: Rubber sections unclipped from one another or end fitting; rod may be exposed. Possible Cause: Mishandling during shipping, storage, and installation. Resulting Failure Mode: Exposed rod Brittle fracture, Flashunder, Destruction of rod by discharge activity

5. SHEATH

27

Sheath

Splits
D D C

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Splits
Rating Observation Silicone gel present; rod not exposed Exposure of rod Action Monitor for growth of splits, remove at next opportunity Remove polymer insulator from service

C D

D
What You See: Splits along sheath sections. Possible Cause: Excessive discharge activity and/or weathering of material. Resulting Failure Mode: Splits extend to rod Exposure of rod of rod by discharge activity
5. SHEATH

Brittle fracture, Flashunder, Destruction


29

Sheath

Gunshot Damage

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Gunshot Damage
Rating Observation Action

C D

Sheath damaged rod Remove polymer insulator NOT exposed from service at next opportunity Exposure of rod or Remove polymer insulator bullets lodged in sheath from service

What You See: Sheath punctured/damaged by shot. Bullet maybe lodged in rubber. Possible Cause: Gunshot. Resulting Failure Mode: Discharge activity Increased sheath damage Exposure of rod Flashunder, Destruction of rod by discharge activity Brittle fracture,

5. SHEATH

31

6. Sheds and Sheath


Sheath

Sheds

6. SHEDS

AND

SHEATH

33

Sheds and Sheath

Whitening

A A

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Whitening
Rating Observation A White powder or film on surface Action No action necessary

Note: Adjacent sections may have different levels of whitening not an issue.

A
What You See: Whitening/white powder or film all along sheath surface. More prevalent closer to end fittings and on surfaces facing the sun. Possible Cause: Exposure of filler compound due to normal weathering. Resulting Failure Mode: N/A
6. SHEDS
AND

SHEATH

35

Sheds and Sheath

Tracking
D

Severe Tracking*
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Severe Tracking

Tracking
D
Rating Observation Action D Conductive path along surface Remove polymer insulator from service

Result of Severe Tracking*

*Images Courtesy of Eskom

What You See: Electrically conductive paths along the surface of sheds and/or sheath. Possible Cause: Leakage currents on highly contaminated polymer insulator surface. Resulting Failure Mode: Tracking Exposure of rod Brittle fracture, Flashunder, Destruction of rod by discharge activity Tracking Flashover
6. SHEDS
AND

SHEATH

37

Sheds and Sheath

Animal Damage
C D

Rodent Damage
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Bird Damage

Animal Damage
B
Rating A B C D Observation Minor shed damage Shed damage only Action No action necessary Monitor and leave in service

Sheath damage, rod not Remove polymer insulator from exposed service at next opportunity Rod exposed Remove polymer insulator from service

Image Courtesy of Powerlink

What You See: Sheds and sheath have been eaten by birds or rodents. Possible Cause: Birds or Rodents. Resulting Failure Mode: Damage extends through sheath Exposure of rod Flashunder, Destruction of rod by discharge activity
6. SHEDS
AND

Brittle fracture,
39

SHEATH

Sheds and Sheath

Undermining

C D

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Undermining
Rating Observation Sheath damage, rod not exposed Rod exposed Action Remove polymer insulator from service at next opportunity Remove polymer insulator from service

C D

What You See: A puncture hole through sheds, usually at the shed/sheath interface. Possible Cause: Excessive discharge activity. Resulting Failure Mode: Exposure of rod Brittle fracture, Flashunder, Destruction of rod by discharge activity

6. SHEDS

AND

SHEATH

41

Sheds and Sheath

Cracking

B-C

C
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Cracking
D
Rating Observation B Only sheds cracked C Sheath and sheds cracked D Action Monitor for future damage Consider replacement

Sheath cracked and Remove polymer moisture penetration possible insulator from service

What You See: Surface Cracks on rubber sheds/sheath greater than 0.1 mm (0.004 in) in depth. Possible Cause: Harsh environment or poor polymer insulator design/manufacture. Resulting Failure Mode: Cracks extend through sheath Exposure of rod Destruction of rod by discharge activity
6. SHEDS
AND

Brittle fracture, Flashunder,


43

SHEATH

Sheds and Sheath

Alligatoring
C
Shed Top

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Alligatoring
Shed Bottom Rating Observation A Limited to surface, material is not brittle B Significant depth C Shed Bottom What You See: A roughening of the surface resembling the texture of alligator skin. Material is brittle to the touch. The condition is due to loss of filler material. Possible Cause: Aging of material, harsh environment, or poor design. Resulting Failure Mode: Excessive material loss Exposure of rod of rod by discharge activity
6. SHEDS
AND

Action No action Monitor for increased degradation Consider removal from service

A
Severe embrittlement

Brittle fracture, Flashunder, Destruction


45

SHEATH

Sheds and Sheath

Erosions

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Erosions
Rating B C Observation Shallow surface erosion Deep surface erosion Action Monitor for progression of damage Consider removal from service

Excessive surface erosion Remove from service

What You See: Loss (erosion) of material on either sheds or sheath, often close to end fittings. Possible Cause: Excessive discharge activity, leakage currents, harsh environment, poor design and/or manufacture, incorrect application of corona ring. Resulting Failure Mode: Excessive material loss Exposure of rod Destruction of rod by discharge activity
6. SHEDS
AND

Brittle fracture, Flashunder,


47

SHEATH

Sheds and Sheath

Contamination
C

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Contamination
C
Rating Observation Action A-C Varying levels of Depends on level and contamination type of contamination

What You See: Contamination on polymer insulator sheds and/or sheath. Possible Cause: Pollutants from marine, agricultural, or industrial sources. Resulting Failure Mode: Excessive contamination and critical wetting conditions
6. SHEDS
AND

Flashover
49

SHEATH

Sheds and Sheath

Crazing

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Crazing
A
Rating Observation A Shallow surface fractures Action None

What You See: Shallow cracks on shed surface 0.1 mm (0.004 in) or less in depth. Possible Cause: Weathering. Resulting Failure Mode: N/A
6. SHEDS
AND

SHEATH

51

Sheds and Sheath

Fungus or Mold Growth


A

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Fungus or Mold Growth


Rating Observation A-B Fungus or mold accumulation Action None

Note: Current research indicates that fungus or mold growth is not an issue in most cases; there may be a concern in contaminated environments. Continued research is underway, and specific situations may require special actions.

What You See: Fungus contamination on polymer insulator sheds and/or sheath. Possible Cause: Fungal or mold growth. Resulting Failure Mode: N/A
6. SHEDS
AND

SHEATH

53

Sheds and Sheath

Insect Activity
A

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Insect Activity
Rating Observation Action A Webs, nests, or cocoons present None B Excessive webs, nests, or cocoons Consider removal or washing

What You See: Insect activity. Possible Cause: Spiders, caterpillars, or moths make nests, webs, or cocoons on sheath or shed rubber surfaces. Resulting Failure Mode: Excessive insect activity and critical wetting conditions
6. SHEDS
AND

Flashover
55

SHEATH

Sheds and Sheath

Hydrophobicity Loss (SIR) (Silicone Rubber Insulators only)


B A

Total Loss of Hydrophobicity


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Hydrophobicity Loss (SIR)


A
Rating Observation Action A Localized loss of hydrophobicity None B Complete loss of hydrophobicity Monitor for damage or contamination

Localized Loss of Hydrophobicity What You See: Silicone rubber polymer insulator only Insulator wets out (water does not bead); effect may be localized at live end. Possible Cause: Aging due to electrical and/or environmental stress. Resulting Failure Mode: In a contaminated environment, the risk of flashover may increase.
6. SHEDS
AND

SHEATH

57

Sheds and Sheath

Silicone Grease on Surface


A A

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Silicone Grease on Surface


A
Rating Observation Action A Grease on sheds and/or Check to see if sheds sheath and/or sheath are split

What You See: Silicone grease on polymer insulator sheds and/or sheath. Mainly at shed/sheath interface. Possible Cause: Natural aging of polymer insulator. Happens with certain polymer insulator designs. Resulting Failure Mode: N/A
6. SHEDS
AND

SHEATH

59

7. Corona Rings
Corona Ring (Installed Incorrectly) Corona Ring

7. CORONA RINGS

61

Corona Rings

Flashover Damage

Leave in Service Remove from Service


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Flashover Damage
Rating B C D Observation Damaged with AN/RI complaints Serious damage Action Replace at next opportunity and check for other damage Remove from polymer insulator Damaged but no AN/RI complaints Leave in service

Leave in Service What You See: Corona ring broken/punctured by flashover. Possible Cause: Flashover due to lightning and/or power arc follow-on currents. Resulting Failure Mode: Damage to corona ring Corona activity Audio noise, Radio Interference
63

7. CORONA RINGS

Corona Rings

Incorrect Position
C

Correct Position
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Backwards Installation

Correct Position

Incorrect Position
C
Rating Observation C Corona ring backwards or in incorrect position Action Reinstall corona ring correctly; check for degradation of rubber material

Note: Refer to EPRI Guide 1008741, Field Guide: Corona Rings for Polymer Insulators.

Incorrect Position What You See: Corona ring installed backwards or in incorrect position. Possible Cause: Incorrect installation. Check manufacturers recommendations. Resulting Failure Mode: Damaged sheds/sheath Exposure of rod of rod by discharge activity
7. CORONA RINGS

Brittle fracture, Flashunder, Destruction

65

Corona Rings

Loose Ring
C

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Loose Ring
C
Rating Observation C Corona ring is loose Action Reinstall corona ring correctly and check for damage to insulator

What You See: Grading ring is loose or not perpendicular to polymer insulator. Possible Cause: Poor installation or falling ice. Resulting Failure Mode: Damaged sheds/sheath Exposure of rod of rod by discharge activity
7. CORONA RINGS

Brittle fracture, Flashunder, Destruction


67

Corona Rings

Gunshot Damage
C B

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Gunshot Damage
Rating B C Observation Action Damaged but no AN/RI Leave in service complaints Damaged with AN/RI Replace at next complaints opportunity and check for other damage

B
What You See: Bullet hole(s) in ring. Possible Cause: Gunshot. Resulting Failure Mode: Corona activity AN/RI
7. CORONA RINGS 69

8. End Fittings
End Fitting

End Fitting

8. END FITTINGS

71

End Fittings

Flashover Damage
D C

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Flashover Damage
D
Rating C Observation Action End fitting damaged by Remove polymer insulator flashover, rod not exposed from service at next opportunity End fitting damaged by flashover, rod exposed Remove polymer insulator from service

What You See: End fitting burned by flashover. Possible Cause: Lightning and/or power arc follow-on currents. Resulting Failure Mode: Exposure of rod to moisture Brittle Fracture, Flashunder, Exposure of Rod to Discharge Activity, possible Mechanical Failure due to end fitting pullout
8. END FITTINGS 73

End Fittings

Degraded Seal
C B

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Degraded Seal
C
Rating C B Observation Degraded end fitting seal Degraded end fitting seal Action Remove polymer insulator from service at next opportunity Monitor for progression of damage

What You See: Degraded sealant and rust surrounding end fitting seal. Possible Cause: Aging, harsh environment, poor design or manufacture, and/or mishandling during installation. Resulting Failure Mode: End fitting seal failure Moisture penetration Destruction of rod by discharge activity
8. END FITTINGS

Brittle fracture, Flashunder,


75

End Fittings

Corrosion
B B

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Corrosion
Rating Observation Action B Corrosion and rust Monitor for further damage accumulation of end fitting

B
What You See: Corrosion (rust) on polymer insulator metal end fittings. Possible Cause: Harsh environment and/or poor galvanization. Resulting Failure Mode: End fitting seal failure Moisture penetration Destruction of rod by discharge activity End fitting failure Mechanical failure
8. END FITTINGS

Brittle fracture, Flashunder,

77

9. Failure Mode Guide

9. FAILURE MODE GUIDE

79

Failure Mode Guide

Failure Mode Distribution


Failure Mode Distribution: Based on 221 failures recorded in EPRI Failure Database Although EPRI has endeavored to collect information about as many failures as possible, only a percentage of the failures to date have been recorded. Most failures collected have been in North America. If you have information about any failures that may not be recorded please contact Dr. Andrew Phillips, aphillip@epri.com, 704.595.2234.

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Failure Mode Distribution


55% % of Failures Recorded (221) 45% 35% 25% 15% 5% Brittle Fracture 24.9% 51.1%

10.4%

8.1%

0.5% Flashunder Mechanical Destruction End Failure: of Rod by Fitting Pullout Rod Failure Discharge Activity Failure Mode 81

9. FAILURE MODE GUIDE

Failure Mode Guide

Brittle Fracture
Axial Delamination Broomstick

Fracture Planes
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Brittle Fracture

Type: Mechanical. Identifying Features: Flat Fracture Plane (single or multiple), Multiple fracture planes maybe separated by axial delamination. Broomstick. Possible Cause: Moisture coming in contact with fiberglass rod. Moisture penetration occurs either through end fitting seal or through rubber weathershed system. 51% of 221 Failures Collected
9. FAILURE MODE GUIDE 83

Failure Mode Guide

Flashunder
Tracking Through Rod Tracking Through/Along Rod/Rubber Interface

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Flashunder
Tracking Through Rod Splits and Puncture Holes

Type: Electrical. Identifying Features: Tracking through the rod or along the rod/rubber interface. Extends significant length of insulator. Puncture holes and splits along length of polymer insulator due to power arc and internal discharge activity bursting out. Possible Cause: Moisture coming in contact with fiberglass rod. Moisture penetration occurs either through end fitting seal or through rubber weathershed system. 25% of 221 Failures Collected
9. FAILURE MODE GUIDE 85

Failure Mode Guide

Destruction of Rod by Discharge Activity

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Destruction of Rod by Discharge Activity

Type: Mechanical. Identifying Features: Charred / carbonized fiberglass rod. Often frayed ends of fibers exposed. Possible Cause: Moisture coming in contact with fiberglass rod. Moisture penetration occurs either through end fitting seal or through rubber weathershed system. 8% of 221 Failures Collected
9. FAILURE MODE GUIDE 87

Failure Mode Guide

Mechanical Failure: Rod Failure


1

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Mechanical Failure: Rod Failure


1 2

Type: Mechanical. Identifying Features: Rod Failure - Broken rod and / or frayed fibers. Possible Cause: Manufacturing issues (QC) or mishandling during storing, transporting and installing. Usually occurs due to mishandling (See image marked 2). Three cases have been observed due to overheating of the rod during manufacturing and severe overload (See images marked 1). 10% of 221 Failures Collected
89

9. FAILURE MODE GUIDE

Failure Mode Guide

Mechanical Failure: End Fitting Pullout

ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Mechanical Failure: End Fitting Pullout


3 3

Type: Mechanical. Identifying Features: Pullout rod separated from end fitting. Occurs on both crimped and epoxy cone end fittings. Possible Cause: Manufacturing issues (QC) or mechanical overstress or degradation of epoxy compound (See images marked 3). 1% of 221 Failures Collected

9. FAILURE MODE GUIDE

91

Failure Mode Guide

If you experience, or have experienced, any failures of polymer insulators, it would be appreciated if you could inform EPRI of these failures. By recording failures in a central repository, industrywide issues and concerns can be identified. By making the industry aware of these concerns, unexpected failures may be avoided in the future. Your assistance in this regard is appreciated. If you have any questions about the information provided in this Guide, if you want to communicate findings or actions taken in the field, or if you have suggestions for making the Guide more useful to you, please contact Dr. Andrew J. Phillips at EPRI (see contact information below).

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Contact Information
Dr. Andrew J. Phillips Transmission and Substations EPRI P.O. Box 217097 Charlotte, NC 28221 9625 Research Drive Charlotte, NC 28262 Cell: 704.953.4030 Tel: 704.595.2234 Fax: 704.595.2867 E-mail: aphillip@epri.com NOTE: If you find any new conditions that are not identified in this guide, please send us a detailed description, along with any photographs. Thank you.

Other EPRI Visual Field Guides


Corona Rings for Polymer Insulators, 1008741 Visual Inspection of Steel Structures, 1012311

CONTACT

93

Export Control Restrictions


Access to and use of EPRI Intellectual Property is granted with the specific understanding and requirement that responsibility for ensuring full compliance with all applicable U.S. and foreign export laws and regulations is being undertaken by you and your company. This includes an obligation to ensure that any individual receiving access hereunder who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident is permitted access under applicable U.S. and foreign export laws and regulations. In the event you are uncertain whether you or your company may lawfully obtain access to this EPRI Intellectual Property, you acknowledge that it is your obligation to consult with your companys legal counsel to determine whether this access is lawful. Although EPRI may make available on a case-by-case basis an informal assessment of the applicable U.S. export classification for specific EPRI Intellectual Property, you and your company acknowledge that this assessment is solely for informational purposes and not for reliance purposes. You and your company acknowledge that it is still the obligation of you and your company to make your own assessment of the applicable U.S. export classification and ensure compliance accordingly. You and your company understand and acknowledge your obligations to make a prompt report to EPRI and the appropriate authorities regarding any access to or use of EPRI Intellectual Property hereunder that may be in violation of applicable U.S. or foreign export laws or regulations.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), with major locations in Palo Alto, California, and Charlotte, North Carolina, was established in 1973 as an independent, nonprofit center for public interest energy and environmental research. EPRI brings together members, participants, the Institute's scientists and engineers, and other leading experts to work collaboratively on solutions to the challenges of electric power.These solutions span nearly every area of electricity generation, delivery, and use, including health, safety, and environ0ment. EPRI's members represent over 90% of the electricity generated in the United States. International participation represents nearly 15% of EPRI's total research, development, and demonstration program. Together...Shaping the Future of Electricity
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