The aim of this paper is to investigate the various effects of climate conditions on outdoor insulators in coastal areas as a result of saline contamination under acidic and normal cold fog, determining significant electrical and physico-chemical changes on the insulator surface and considering the effect of discharge current, electric field distribution and surface roughness. To replicate similar conditions near the shoreline, experimental investigations have been carried out on insulation materials with the combined application of saline contamination and acidic or normal cold fog. The test samples included silicone rubber (SiR), ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which were used as reference. The materials are of the same composition as those used in real-life outdoor high voltage insulators. All samples were aged separately in an environmental chamber for 150 h for various saline contaminations combined with acidic and normal cold fog, and were generated by means of the adopted experimental setup. This analysis represented conditions similar to those existing near the shoreline exposed to saline and acid spray during winter and early spring. Electric field and discharge current along polymeric samples were examined under acidic and normal cold fog. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) were used to probe the physico-chemical changes on the samples surface and investigate the hydrophobicity recovery property after aging tests. Finally, a comparative study was carried out on polymeric samples before and after being exposed to the acidic and normal cold fog based on the results obtained from the experiment. Research data may provide references for the better prediction of surface degradation as well as for the better material coating and design of external insulation.
- risk assessment; insulator failure; saline contamination; environmental stresses; surface degradation; acidic and cold fog; shoreline