Insulation plays an important role in a substation. If you’re curious about what an insulator is and want to know more about how it works, what materials make the best insulators, and more, read on.
What Is an Insulator?
An insulator in electricity is a material in which the electron cannot move freely. Their internal electric charges cannot move freely, so these materials don’t conduct electricity too well. This is in contrast to conductors and semiconductors which, in experience, conduct electrical currents. Insulators generally have high resistivity and the most common examples of insulators are non-metals.
What Are Their Uses in Electricity?
Insulators will generally be used in substations to separate and support electrical conductors while not letting electrical currents flow through themselves. When electrical materials including cables are wrapped in insulate material, this is referred to as insulating them. It’s important for a substation operator to be accountable by ensuring that they have put the right insulation in place.
This shows that there are a number of different applications for insulators in electricity, from equipment to appliances. One of them is to coat electric wires and cables that will be in close contact with one another. This is because such wires are more likely to produce cross-connections, fire mishaps, and short circuits.
When used correctly, insulators can also control pollutant emissions, and reduce energy costs efficiently. They keep the people using electrical appliances safe and also enhance the performance of said appliances. Another benefit is that they keep the appliances soundproof.
Finally, for coaxial cables, the conductor which usually sits in the middle should be adequately supported at the center of the hollow. This stops EM wave reflections and effectively minimize the likelihood of electrocution.
What Are Some Types of Insulators?
There exist different types of insulators which are used in accordance with the specific need at hand. Some of the insulators that can be found in substations include:
- Pin insulators, which are usually used in distribution systems. They have large voltage capacities and are made of material that has robust strength. Their construction is simple and they require less maintenance than other types of insulators.
- Disc insulators, which are used in both distribution and transmission lines. The materials that make them are of good quality and can support the conductors used for insulation in cables as well as for electrical wiring.
- Suspension insulators, which give more flexibility when used in overhead transmission lines. They’re a lot more efficient when compared to other insulators because even if one disc gets damaged, all other discs continue to function well. It’s therefore possible to replace any damaged discs with newer, better ones.
- Stay insulators, which true to their name, protect electrical devices from sudden jerks that are caused by voltage fluctuations. They’re small and rectangular in shape, and can be arranged within the line conductor and the earth.
- Shackle insulators, which also come in small sizes and are mainly found in overhead distribution systems and can be connected with a metallic strip. In operation, they remain in the position of circular bends or turns. They can remain in both horizontal and vertical positions and are connected to the poles using bolts or cross-arm.
It’s clear that insulators play an important role as far as electricity goes, and in order to get the best efficiency from an insulator, you need to choose the right one with the help of a professional who is knowledgeable in their working.