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The comparison of ceramic and composite insulators

Composite insulators are increasingly being used in both the distribution and transmission voltage ranges and are steadily capturing a wider share of the market. The primary impetus for their increased acceptance by the usually cautions electric power utilities is their substantial advantage compared to inorganic insulators which have primarily been porcelain and glass. One of their major advantages is their low surface energy and thereby maintaining a good hydrophobic surface property in the presence of wet conditions such as fog, dew and rain.

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Other advantages include:
1. Light weight which results in a more economic design of the towers or alternatively enabling to upgrade the voltage of existing systems without changing the tower dimensions. The light weight of the composite insulators strings also permits an increase in the clearance distance between the conductor to ground and an increase in the phase-to-phase distance in order to reduce the electric and magnetic fields which are becoming a growing concern to some members of the general public. The light weight of the composite insulators also obviates the need to use heavy cranes for their handling and installation and this saves on cost.

2. A higher mechanical strength to weight ratio which enables the construction of longer spans of towers

3. Line post insulators are less prone to serious damage from vandalism such as gunshots which cause the ceramic insulators to shatter and drop the conductor to the ground.

4. Composite insulators are much better performance than ceramic insulators in outdoor service in the presence of heavy pollution as well as in short term tests

5. Comparable or better withstand voltage than porcelain and glass insulators.

6. Easy installation thus saving on labor cost,

7. The use of composite insulator reduces the maintenance costs such as of insulator washing which is often required for ceramic and glass insulators in heavily contaminated environment.


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