Feasibility study on application of microwave radiometry to monitor contamination level on insulator materials

Y. Jiang, S.G. McMeekin, A.J. Reid, A. Nekahi, M.D. Judd, A. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
240 Downloads (Pure)


This paper introduces a novel method for monitoring contamination levels on high voltage insulators based on microwave radiometry. Present contamination monitoring solutions for high voltage insulators are only effective in predicting flashover risk when the contamination layer has been wetted by rain, fog or condensation. The challenge comes where the pollution occurs during a dry period prior to a weather change. Under these conditions, flashover can often occur within a short time period after wetting and is not predicted by measurements taken in the dry period. The microwave radiometer system described in this paper measures energy emitted from the contamination layer and could provide a safe, reliable, contactless monitoring method that is effective under dry conditions. The relationship between equivalent salt deposit density and radiometer output is described using a theoretical model and experimentally verified using a specially designed X-band radiometer. Results demonstrate that the output from the radiometer is able to clearly distinguish between different levels of contamination on insulator materials under dry conditions. This novel contamination monitoring method could potentially provide advance warning of the future failure of wet insulators in climates where insulators can experience dry conditions for extended periods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1020
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2016


  • x-band radiometer
  • high voltage insulators
  • insulator materials
  • flashover risk prediction
  • contamination level monitoring method


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