Monitoring insulator contamination level under dry condition with a microwave reflectometer

Yan Jiang, Scott McMeekin, Alistair Reid, Azam Nekahi, Martin Judd, Alan Wilson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    115 Downloads (Pure)


    Build-up of surface contamination on high voltage insulators can lead to an increase in leakage current and partial discharge, which may eventually develop into flashover. Conventional contamination level monitoring systems based on leakage current, partial discharge, infrared and ultraviolet camera are only effective when the contamination layer has been wetted by rain, fog or condensation; under these conditions flashover might occur before there is time to implement remedial measures such as cleaning. This paper describes studies exploring the feasibility of applying microwave reflectometry techniques to monitor insulator contamination levels. This novel method measures the power generated by a 10.45 GHz source and reflected at the insulator contamination layer. A theoretical model establishes the relationship between equivalent salt deposit density (ESDD) levels, dielectric properties and geometry of contamination layers. Experimental results demonstrate that the output from the reflectometer is able to clearly distinguish between samples with different contamination levels under dry conditions. This 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
    Title of host publication2015 IEEE 11th International Conference on the Properties and Applications of Dielectric Materials (ICPADM)
    Pages959 - 962
    Number of pages4
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4799-8903-4
    ISBN (Print)9781479989034
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2015


    • pollution measurement
    • insulators
    • microwave reflectometry
    • insulator contamination


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