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Report RSE 17002167

Performance evaluation of conductors covered with icephobic coatings



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P. Marcacci (RSE SpA) , M. Lacavalla (RSE SpA)

MAT4-GRID 2016 - Components for the grids


Strategies to face the problem of sleeve formations over conductors must necessarily diversify. It is not possible to focus only on the robustness of the lines, by designing conductors and structures that can withstand any stress, but balancing interventions through an approach based on active and passive mitigation strategies that maximize system resilience. For passive mitigation, material research has been working with good results for several years in the study of coatings and surface treatments, that can reduce ice adhesion forces to the structures. At the present, these knowledge and capabilities are being directed towards contrasting wet snow effects, responsible of the sleeves formation on high and medium voltage conductors and ground wires. This threat in Italy represents the highest costs for the whole electrical system due to meteorological causes.

Since two years RSE has been dealing with the conductor coatings through a path that combines the study of surface treatments in the laboratory with test in real conditions environment at the experimental station WILD of Vinadio (CN), devoted to study wet snow effects on the conductors.

The activity is aimed at the study and verification of the main parameters that characterize the performance of a coating in the presence of water and ice, and look for a link with the ability to inhibit or delay adhesion of snowflakes to the surface of a conductor through real conditions test. A series of ACSR31.5 conductor samples were treated superficially by commercially available silicone coatings and by SLIPS and sol-gel surface treatments, an then they have been initiated for indoor and outdoor testing. During the last winter season the ability of seven different surface treatments to delay as much as possible, or to avoid, the initial phase of snow sleeve formation with respect to the reference conductor, has been evaluated. Succeeding to reduce this phase is equivalent to significantly reducing the sleeve loads at the end of the event. Similarly, the shedding phase of sleeves from the conductors treated, versus the reference conductor, was evaluated. The response from the field provided interesting results that deserve further investigations, especially for coating based on sandblasted conductor treated with sol-gel, which seems to respond positively during snowfall with temperatures just below 0° C and probably a low LWC.

TSO and DSO carefully look at the developments of the coatings and the results of this experiment, although it should be clarified that, at the moment, a coating applied to an operating conductor has not yet been proposed.

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