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Bulk Power System Dynamics and Control - VI, August 22-27, 2004, Cortina dAmpezzo, Italy


NEW TYPES OF CONDUCTORS FOR OVERHEAD LINES WITH HIGH THERMAL RESISTANCE, WHICH INCREASE THE CURRENT TRANSMISSION CAPACITY AND LIMIT THE THERMAL EXPANSION AT HIGH CURRENT INTENSITY. Gianfranco Civili 20097 S.Donato Milanese Via Mattei, 48 Massimiliano Handel De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. 1) INTRODUCTION Over the last few years, we have witnessed a constant increase of electric energy demand, both industrial and domestic, and the satisfaction of this demand encounters great problems linked to the manufacturing and construction of new power lines, not only in highly populated urban areas, but in the whole territory. Power transmission capacity can be increased by using new types of conductors that allow to make use of pre-existing, fixed structures with only negligible modifications and, on the other side, enable an increment of the operational temperature, without increasing the Jouleeffect losses, while limiting the sag within acceptable values in the existing installations. As a consequence, we can identify the concept that has guided us to design new conductors and their characteristics. Table A

1.1) REDUCTION OF DIMENSIONS WITH THE SAME OHMIC RESISTANCE Compact conductors that do no compromise the cable flexibility, characterised by a total lack of empty internal areas, and such that their total circumference area corresponding to the cable outer diameter is formed by a electrical-conductive material. This solution allows with the same outer diameter to reduce ohmic resistance in respect to traditional cable and consequently control the loss at high temperatures. The Gaptype conductors - a particular case (see afterwards) - and the carbon-fibres reinforced conductors are exception to this concept. 1.2) TEMPERATURE INCREASE AND CONSEQUENT POWER TRANSMISSION INCREASE. High thermal resistance conductors manufactured with specific materials such as Al-Zr (TAL Thermal resistant Aluminium Alloy) preserve their mechanical characteristics or are not subject to a considerable decay even when exposed to high operational temperatures for very long periods of time (in excess of 20 years). It must be noted that even annealed Aluminium can reach up to 180C and still be without problems (while the ZTAL alloy can reach 240C in emergency situations), but its mechanical characteristics are definitely inferior to those of the Al-Zr alloys (please refer to Table A and the following diagram).

1.3) SPAN SAG CONTROL (LOW SAG) Conductors partially formed by a low thermal expansion material such as Fe-Ni (Invar) alloy (=2,810-6 1/C at a temp. 90C as compared to 11,510-6 of steel) or even carbon fibres (1,010-6 1/C) and the aluminium matrix (=6,010-6 1/C). This allows to use the extremely low expansion coefficient of the Invar carrier or carbon fibre, once it has been surpassed the ultimate stress transfer point - or Knee-point from the external layer conductive material to the internal core, with a low expansion coefficient. In facts, after a first expansion rise, determined by the average expansion coefficient of the conductor (always very high because of the weights of the Al alloy which has a coefficient =23,510-6 1/C), there is an expansion corresponding to the core materials only. The Knee-point position depends on various factors such as the span length, the conductor tension (voltage), the ratio between the two materials expansion


Bulk Power System Dynamics and Control - VI, August 22-27, 2004, Cortina dAmpezzo, Italy

coefficients (core and external layers) and their sections (please refer to the graph hereunder).

This list of characteristics and criteria shows that the solutions must take into account contrasting realities (ohmic resistance, mass, geometric dimensions). De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. started long ago researches on this matter which brought to the solution as outlined above. 2) PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS 2.1) DIMENSIONS AND RESISTANCE REDUCTION Compact conductors Over many years of research and study and in order to manufacture these compact conductors, De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A had to solve the combined problem of aluminium extruded sheaths of considerable thickness on steel rope or other material conductors and of the drawing of shaped wires (quoin-type). Once solved these problems, we have manufactured the conductor illustrated in figure n.1, formed by 7 high mechanical resistant steel wires, and an aluminium annealed penetrating sheath; in this way we obtains perfectly smooth surface, offering all the advantages against wind force and ice-coating effects. The metal total section is 53,5 mm while the outer diameter is 8,26mm.

1.4) CONTROL OF THE CONDUCTOR SAG Conductors with particular geometries (GAP-TYPE). This solution is not related to the use of the core materials of low expansion coefficient (such as the Invar and the carbon fibres) but it is based on the core sliding with respect to the external layers, even at the installation temperature (2025C) and on the pre-tensioning of the steel core itself. This steel core (practically the Invar is required only in exceptional cases) is separated from the inner surface of the shaped wires layers by a co-axial area (GAP) filled with special, high temperatureresistant grease. This allows for the sliding and pre-tensioning of the carrier core and bringing the Knee-point to the installation temperature. This solution also compels to use special technologies during the installation, which are more complex than the traditional one. 1.5) MASS CONTROL Carbon-fibres or aluminium matrix reinforced conductors In this case the best solution is certainly the use of carbon fibres, having breaking load higher than steel, acceptable elongation and extremely low density (=1,78kg/dm3): the carbon fibres mass is reduced, with respect to the metal carrier core (Invar or steel), and thus both the mass and the ohmic resistance of the conductor are reduced. The only restriction to this reduction is given by the impossibility to reduce the ratio between the section of the carrier core and the aluminium outer layers in order to maintain the stress transfer point (knee-point) below 9095C. 1.6) DECREASE OF OPERATIONAL TEMPERATURES BY INCREASING THE EMISSION COEFFICIENT Surface-treated conductors. The surface treatment, and in particular the application of acrylic or UV rays cross-linkable coating, shifts the superficial emission point from 0,2 for new conductors (0,5 for preexisting conductors) to 0,8-0,9; in this way it is possible to reduce with equal current intensity the operational temperature of several degrees (the reduction effect increases with the conductor temperature) or with equal temperature to increase the current capacity.

Fig.1 The development of this conductor is shown in figure n 2, where in order to increase conductance to the detriment of the tensile strength (in excess in the first version) the core of the conductor is made of Al-Zr alloy around which the carrier steel wires have been assembled; the external diameter is only slightly wider than the previous conductor (8,36mm as compared to 8,26mm) but the ohmic resistance in d.c. at 20C decreases from 0,638 to 0,5249/Km.

Fig.2 A further improvement to these conductors, in order to keep them compact and flexible, has consisted in applying to the entire surface of the aluminium cladding sheath, one or more

Bulk Power System Dynamics and Control - VI, August 22-27, 2004, Cortina dAmpezzo, Italy


layers of shaped wires . The result is the conductor in figure n 3 ( 15,60mm) that has two layers of shaped wires and one inner core formed by 7 high-resistance steel wires coated with an aluminium cladding sheath; in order to manufacture this conductor, De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. had to solve difficult design problems related to the shaped wires in aluminium and Al Zr alloy, reaching advanced technological solutions related to production and costs.

the same materials - the current capacity increases of approximately 16%, in addition to the other advantages such as resistance to wind force, ice coating, etc. If on the contrary, we compare the current capacity of a conductor working at 150C180C with a traditional conductor that can only work at 70C90C, the increases are approximately of +80% between 150 and 70C and +60 between 180C and 90C. 2.3) SAG CONTROL Compact conductors: core material with low thermal expansion coefficient . This solution entails the use of materials such as Fe-Ni (Invar) alloy, carbon fibres or ceramic-matrix aluminium for the core. This solution takes advantage of the different expansion of the various materials forming the core (Invar =2,810-6 1/C for T 90C, carbon fibres 110-6 1/C, aluminium matrix =610-6 1/C) and those forming the external layer (generally aluminium or Al-Zr alloys with =23,510-6 1/C): at a certain point of the expansion curve of the various elongations of the materials composing the conductor, the stress is transfer on the core materials (Knee-point). For temperatures higher than the one corresponding to this point, thermal expansion occurs according to the coefficient of the materials, hence it is extremely limited, as we mentioned above (please refer to diagram). The position of the stress transfer point (Knee point) depends on numerous factors, such as the difference of expansion coefficients between the core and the layer, the ratio of their sections, the wire length and consequently the stress on the conductor. With this in mind, table D shows an interesting comparison between a compact conductor with Invar core, the same compact cable with carbon fibre and resin core, and a GAPtype conductor; the three types of conductors are basically interchangeable, even though each one presents advantages and disadvantages. De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. has used steel wires or aluminium-coated Invar (ACS: Aluminium Clad Steel and ACI: Aluminium Clad Invar) for its cores as they offer a better protection against corrosion. Once completed, the carbon fibre solution offers a number of advantages for what concerns the mass and the tensile strength; for what concerns the ohmic resistance, its highest value as compared to the other two solutions, does not pose a problem if we can increase the conductor diameter and keep the mass to a considerably lower value than the other two. The solution with ACI wires (Aluminium Clad Invar), has the disadvantage of a higher mass both for the density of the material (Invar=8,13 Kg/dm3) and the requirement of increasing its section to reach an adequate breaking load (Invar110daN/mm) and a relatively low Kneepoint (90C). 2.4) SAG CONTROL GAP-TYPE conductors These are conductors where the carrier core, of whichever material, must be concentric, but detached (GAP) from the inner surface before the shaped wires - some millimetres. Therefore the layer closest to the core must evidently be made by shaped wires with flat or segmented surfaces (s Z) because it must create a non-deformable structure allowing for the core sliding due to lubrication with a special, high temperature-resistant grease placed in the gap during manufacturing (please refer to figure n. 4).

Fig.3 In table B the comparisons with current Italian conductors are listed. It must be highlighted that the two conductors: 8,26mm and 15,60mm previously described, have been positively tested by CESI Milan (Italy) unified in ENEL specification, produced and supplied to ENEL. It is clear that the 8,26mm and 8,56mm compact conductors with aluminium penetrating sheaths can replace the copper and aluminium, 35mm conductors, offering a relevant mass and ohmic resistance advantage. The 15,60mm compact conductor when compared to the traditional, 15.85mm, ENEL-unified conductor shows an ohmic resistance reduction (-21,7%) and a diameter reduction of 1,6%. Further and relevant development of this type of conductors will soon result from the De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. studies devoted to replace the high resistance steel wires with carbon fibres coated with high thermal resistance resins. Moreover, drastic mass and ohmic resistance reductions will be achievable and thus will render this type of conductors competitive with the copper ones. This type of extremely compact conductors can be used in the covered cable (insulated conductors) for medium power voltage, thus significantly decreasing their dimensions. 2.2) INCREASE OF TEMPERATURE AND TRANSMISSION CAPACITY High thermal resistance, compact conductors In order to manufacture this type of conductors, De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. has produced two types of Al-Zr alloy: TAL (Thermal Resistant Aluminium Alloy) Working temperature 150C Emergency temperature 180C ZTAL (Ultra Thermal resistant Aluminium Alloy) Working temperature 210C Emergency temperature 240C Moreover, we had to improve the shaped wires production technology with this type of material. In the following table C it is listed the current capacity of this type of conductors as compared to the traditional conductors having the same external diameter and - assuming they are manufactured with


Bulk Power System Dynamics and Control - VI, August 22-27, 2004, Cortina dAmpezzo, Italy


Fig.4 The selection of either flat or segmented shaped wire surface depends on the accessories (clamp) used during installation and on the practicable compression stress on the conductor. And this way, while pre-tensioning the core during installation, the stress transfer point (Knee-point) is artificially brought to installation temperature, therefore the conductor is subject to a thermal expansion in relation to the expansion coefficient of the core material. Normally, it is sufficed to use steel (=11,510-6 1/C) in order to achieve sag at 150C-180C comparable to those of the traditional conductors at 70C90C. With Invar, we achieve the outstanding performance essential to satisfy special circumstances (please refer to the diagram). De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. has already manufactured two GAP-type conductors of 22,80mm and with a of 31,50mm, and while the first is being installed, the second one has been favourably tested at CESI in Milan. The 31,50mm diameter conductor characteristics are shown in table D. 2.5) MASS CONTROL Conductors with carbon fibres and composite, reinforced aluminium matrix The carbon fibres or the aluminium matrix will solve this relevant problem. The elements used are composed by carbon fibres formed by 12.000/24.000, 7 micron () elementary filaments. The central core is formed by a structure formed by these elements that are coated with resin layers to avoid aluminium corrosion if in contact with the carbon fibre. In table E are shown the carbon fibres characteristics: the composite with ceramic fibres have the advantage as compared to the carbon fibres of a reasonable electrical conductivity, an excellent elastic module and a high operational temperature; on the other side, they are heavier, they expand more with temperature increase and they have a smaller elongation breaking point: However, their high cost results in their employment being restricted to extreme cases. Table E
Characteristics Density (kg/dm3) Young module (of N/mm) Breaking load (daN/mm) Elongation (%) Thermal expansion coefficient (1/C) Magnetic properties Exercise temperature (C) Carbon fibres composite elements 1,78 14000 200 250 1,4 0,6 10-6 NO 180

DECRESE OF OPERATIONAL TEMPERATURE BY INCREASING THE EMISSION COEFFICIENT. Compact conductors with coloured surface De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. has created acrylic based and UV cross-linkable coating: coating the conductor surface increases the conductor superficial emission coefficient, leading to a significant increase of radiation losses. Above a certain temperature (8090C) there is with equal loss due to the Joule effect and keeping constant all other factors such as solar radiation, environmental temperature, corona-effect loss, magnetic loss a significant decrease of the conductor temperature. These coatings are currently under study for what concerns improved characteristics and maximum reliability; their resistance to high temperatures, weathering effect, magnetic and electric fields, the corona effect as well as resistance to abrasion, are fundamental parameters in determining their use. With the colouring technology used by De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. we can reach superficial radiant emission coefficients between 0,8 and 0,9. In table F are shown the comparison between coated and uncoated conductors surfaces that have been in operation for a number of years (emission coefficient =0,5), and those with coated surface and an emission coefficient = 0,8. 3) CONCLUSIONS We have tried to offer you a most complete scenario of the current situation of the overhead conductors for power supply. This sector has remained idle for many years and only recently has had a sudden, forceful advancement deriving from the knowledge of new materials such as high- temperature aluminium, carbon fibres and composite ceramic matrix. De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. has immediately caught this opportunity and has undertaken laborious and difficult research and testing, putting on the market conductors satisfying all demands. As we have discussed in the previous paragraphs, the studies on the carbon fibres continue and we trust to complete them in the near future. The solutions that our Company has put forward satisfy every demand and can be used individually or integrated with other solutions. Hence, the problem of increasing the power transmitted by the overhead conductors, using the existing structures will be solved in a rational and satisfying way. Starting from the results achieved so far, De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. will continue to dedicate its best resources to accomplish new goals in this field.

Bulk Power System Dynamics and Control - VI, August 22-27, 2004, Cortina dAmpezzo, Italy


Table B-1 Compact cable De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. Type Characteristics External diameter (mm) Total section (mm) Mass (Kg/m) Breaking load (daN) Electrical Res. At 20C (/Km) Values 8,26 53,5 0,207 2250 0,638 Comparison with: Copper conductor 35mm Aluminium conductor 35 mm Values Difference % Values Difference % 7,56 34,9 0,312 1426 0,519 + 8,9 = -35,6 +57,8 +22,9 7,56 34,91 0,0955 1014 0,9429 + 9,3 + 53,3 + 110,5 + 40,6 - 32,3

Core of 7 steel wires + Aluminium Sheath

Table B-2 Compact conductor De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. Type Core of Al-Zr alloy + Steel + Aluminium sheath Characteristics External diameter (mm) Total section (mm) Mass (Kg/m) Breaking load (daN) Electrical Res. at 20C (/Km) Values 8,56 57,5 0,186 1140 0,525 Comparison with: Copper conductor 35mm Aluminium conductor 35 mm Values Difference % Values Difference % 7,56 34,9 0,312 1426 0,5192 + 13,2 = - 40,4 - 20,0 + 1,2 7,56 34,91 0,0955 1014 0,9429 + 13,2 + 53,3 + 94,8 + 12,4 - 44,3

Table B-3 Compact conductor De Angeli Prodotti S.p.A. Type Core of 7 steel wires + Aluminium sheath + 2 layers of shaped wires Characteristics External diameter ( mm) Total section (mm) Mass (Kg/m) Breaking load (daN) Electrical Res. at 20C (/Km) Values 15,60 182,6 0,600 5200 0,177 Comparison with: Conductor ACSR 148,5 mm Values Difference % 15,85 148,5 0,516 4787 0,226 - 1,6 + 23,0 + 16,3 + 8,6 - 21,7

Comparison between traditional conductors and compact conductors with shaped wires Compact conductors current carrying capacity(A)
15,85 22,80 31,50 36,00 56,26


Table C

Conductor (mm)





Steel core, annealed Al sheath (Z)TAL Wires

TAL core + Steel annealed Al sheath ACS wires + 2 layers (Z)TAL shaped wires ACS wires + 3 layers (Z)TAL shaped wires ACS wires + 3 layers (Z)TAL shaped wires

Steel core + annealed Al sheath+ (Z)TAL Shaped wires Steel wires + Al clad sheath+ 2 layers (Z)TAL shaped wires Zinc coated steel wires + (Z)TAL wires Zinc coated steel wires + (Z)TAL wires Zinc coated steel wires + (Z)TAL wires

Zinc coated steel wires+ (Z)TAL wires

ACS wires + 4 layers (Z)TAL shaped wires


157 198 228 272 302 +77 +55 +56 +57 +78 +79

175 220 255 306 336 -

277 348 403 486 536 578

320 403 466 563 621 672

361 455 527 636 702 760

Incr. +12,8 +12,9 +13,1 +13,0 +13,0 +13,1 514 648 751 910 1007 1092 596 752 871 1056 1168 1267 795 1004 1165 1416 1570 1707 913 1153 1339 1628 1804 1962 999 1263 1468 1787 1983 2160 1094 1383 1606 1955 2170 2361

Incr. +16,0 +16,0 +16,0 +16,0 +16,0 +16,0

Incr. +14,8 +14,8 +14,9 +15,0 +14,9 +14,9

Incr. +9,5 +9,5 +9,5 +9,4 +9,4 +9,3

1703 2157 2512 3071 3421 3740 +80 +59

1968 2494 2904 3551 3955 4320

Incr. +15,6 +15,6 +15,6 +15,6 +15,5





70C 90C annealed 110C +TAL 150C 180C ZTAL 210C Ratio between power flow at 150C and 70C Ratio between power flow at 180C and 90C





Comparison between compact conductors with Invar, carbon fibres and gap-type

Table D

Conductor type


1 Compact conductor with ACI core (Aluminium Clad Invar) Difference as compared to (%) Values Cond. Cond. 2 3 30,60 515 1,645 22130 0,0581 +11,1 +12,9 +16,5 +16,2 -32,9 -25,3 -22,0 -21,6 0 -2,9 31,50 657 2,202 19000 0,0500 +2,9 -0,4 -10,1 -3,1 -4,4

2 Compact conductor with carbon fibre core Difference as compared to (%) Values Cond. Cond. 1 3

3 Gap-type compact conductor with ACS (Aluminium Clad Steel) wires core Difference as compared to (%) Values Cond. Cond. 1 2 +2,9 +33,9 -14,1 -13,9












Bulk Power System Dynamics and Control - VI, August 22-27, 2004, Cortina dAmpezzo, Italy

External diameter (mm) Metallic total section (mm) Linear mass (kg/m) Breaking load (daN) Ohmic resistance in C.C. at 20C (/km)




Comparison between compact conductors with coloured or not coloured surface

Table F Compact conductorscurrent carrying capacity (A)

12,75 Steel core annealed Al sheath + 1 layer TAL shaped wires ACS wires + 2 layer TAL shaped wires NO 596 752 871 1056 1168 1267 1392 +10,7 1962 2177 1274 +9,1 1804 1987 +10,1 +10,9 1144 +8,3 1628 1778 +9,3 935 +7,3 1339 1449 +8,2 1606 1955 2170 2371 803 +6,8 1153 1242 +7,7 1383 1494 1744 2144 2398 2630 634 +6,4 913 978 +7,1 1094 1176 YES Diff. NO YES Diff. NO YES Diff. +7,5 +8,0 +8,6 +9,7 +10,5 +11,4 NO 1968 2494 2904 3551 3955 4320 ACS wires + 3 layers TAL shaped wires ACS wires + 3 layers TAL shaped wires NO 277 348 403 486 536 578 624 +7,9 760 827 +8,8 575 +7,3 702 759 +8,1 519 +6,8 636 683 +7,4 427 +5,9 527 560 +6,3 367 +5,5 455 482 +5,9 291 +5,0 361 381 +5,5 YES Diff. NO NO Diff. Steel wires + annealed Al sheath + 2 layers TAL shaped wires 15,85 22,80 31,50 36,00 56,26 ACS wires + 4 layers TAL shaped wires YES 2140 2726 3191 3945 4428 4874 Diff. +8,7 +9,3 +9,9 +11,1 +12,0 +12,8

Conductor (mm)



Materials Diff. +4,6 +5,0 +4,7 +5,9 +6,5 -

Steel core Annealed Al sheath

TAL core + steel annealed Al sheath

Coloured surface








































Bulk Power System Dynamics and Control - VI, August 22-27, 2004, Cortina dAmpezzo, Italy

The current capacity has been calculated with the following hypoteses: for non coloured conductors Ambient temperature 40C Surface emission coefficent = 0,5 (oxidation conductors used for long time) Wind speed v = 0,55 m/sec for coloured conductors Ambient temperature 40C Surface emission coefficent = 0,8 Wind seed v = 0,55 m/sec