You are on page 1of 14

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER APPARATUS AND SYSTEMS

VOL. PAS-86, NO. 8

AUGUST 1967

Influence of Air Density on Electrical Strength


of Transmission Line Insulation
T. A. PHILLIPS, SENIOR MEMBER, IEEE, LAWRENCE M. ROBERTSON, FELLOW,
ALBERT F. ROHLFS, FELLOW, IEEE, AND RICHARD L. THOMPSON, MEMBER,

IEEE,

IEEE

Abstract-Flashover tests were conducted at the Leadville EHV


Test Facility of the Public Service Company of Colorado and Project
EHV at Pittsfield, Mass., to obtain comparative data to evaluate the
influence of air density on switching surge and impulse flashover
strength of transmission line insulation. The tests showed that negative polarity flashover voltages are greater than those of positive
polarity. Therefore, positive polarity will be the critical requirement
for transmission line design for switching surge duty.
Air density corrections ranging from (RAD)0-6 to (RAD)1.0 were
found for positive polarity switching surge voltages as a function of
insulation length and configuration. For impulse voltages, a full air
density correction is required for both polarities under all conditions,
with the exception of negative polarity where, with a massive proximity effect, no air density correction is required.

INTRODUCTION
HE ELECTRICAL strength of air and exposed porcelain
insulation systems is affected by variations in barometric
pressure, temperature, and humidity. To assure a desired withstand voltage in service, the critical flashover voltage (CFO) obtained for standard sea level conditions must be increased by
correction factors pertinent to the service conditions. The influence of these factors exerts a profound effect on transmission
line economics, as has been evidenced on lines designed for highaltitude application.1E1
The degree to which correction factors can influence design
requirements is illustrated by the following equation:
CFOstandard = withstandservice X K1 X K2 X K3 X K4 X K5

conditions

conditions

Fig. 1. Leadville, Colo.: configuration 1 shows transportable


impulse generator on left, suspension insulator hanging from phase
wire in center, and V tower on right.

The exponent n is not certain and may vary with insulation


length,[ 1 tower configuration, and precipitation.

2) The standard deviation of the flashover voltage (and thus


the ratio of CFO to withstand) also may vary with insulation
length, tower configuration, precipitation, and altitude.
In 1965 General Electric Company undertook a research program for Arizona Public Service Company and Public Service of
Colorado to determine the air density correction factor for transmission line insulation. Also participating were Southern California Edison Company, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and
the Edison Electric Institute.
TEST PLAN

where

K1 ratio of CFO to withstand voltage

K2 air density correction


K3 temperature correction (independent of air density)
K4 humidity correction
K5 ratio of dry CFO to wet CFO.
A considerable range of uncertainty exists for these correction
factors. In particular, the most significant correction for highaltitude applications is the product K1 X K2, which at 5000 feet
may be as great as 1.30. This product is uncertain for several
reasons.
1) K2 is calculated as 1/RAD-, where RAD is the relative air
density.

RAD = 17.9 B (inches Hg)


459 + T (OF)

Paper 31 TP 66-511, recommended and approved by the Transmission and Distribution Committee of the IEEE Power Group for
presentation at the IEEE Summer Power Meeting, New Orleans,
La., July 10-15, 1966. Manuscript received June 15, 1966; made
available for publication March 21, 1967.
T. A. Phillips is with the Arizona Public Service Company,
Phoenix, Ariz.
L. M. Robertson is with the Public Service Company of Colorado,
Denver, Col.
A. F. Rohlfs and R. L. Thompson are with the General Electric
Company, Pittsfield, Mass., and Schenectady, N. Y., respectively.

Test Sites

Consideration had been given to the use of pressure chambers


to study the effect of air density, but the size and mechanical
design requirements of a chamber that would permit tests on
strings suitable for EHV systems made this approach impractical.
It was concluded that this question would best be answered by
testing identical insulation configurations at both low and high
altitudes. The Leadville Test Site of Public Service Company of
Colorado was chosen as the high-altitude site (10 500 feet) since
many of the necessary facilities were already in place; the EHV
Project at Pittsfield was the low-altitude test site. Tests were
planned for both warm and cold weather in Pittsfield in order to
evaluate a possible independent effect of temperature.
Test Equipment
At Leadville, a transportable impulse generator, Fig. 1, built
by the General Electric Company High Voltage Laboratory, was
used to perform the tests. The generator is rated 3600 kV with
200, 100, or 60 kilowatt-second connections. At Pittsfield the
tests were performed at the EHV Project using the 3000-kV,
250/125 kilowatt-second impulse generator.
At both locations, the circuit constants were adjusted to
produce similar impulse and switching surge waveshapes.
Oscillograms of the waveshapes are reproduced in Figs. 2 and 3.
For the impulse wave the front time was measured according to
ASA C68.1 using twice the time between the 30 and 90 percent
points. The impulse waveshape for the Leadville tests was 2.0 by

PHILLIPS ET AL.:

949

AIR DENSITY AND TRANSMISSION LINE INSULATION

(a)

(b)
(b)
Fig. 2. Leadville, waveshapes: (a) impulse wave 2 X 45 js;
(b) switching surge wave 260 X 3600 ,us.

Fig. 3. Pittsfield, waveshapes: (a) impulse wave 2.5 X 48us;


(b) switching surge wave 240 X 3200,us.

45 and for the Pittsfield tests it was 2.5 by 48 microseconds. The


front of the impulse wave was longer at Pittsfield because the
generator was farther away from the test specimen than at Leadville. Consequently the circuit had greater inductance which required greater series resistance to damp the oscillations at crest.
This in turn produced the longer front. The difference in fronts
did not affect the CFO voltages, however, since the flashovers
all occurred well out on the tail of the wave. There is no standard
for switching surge testing so in this case the time from zero
to the actual crest was used. The switching surge waveshape for
the Leadville tests was 260 by 3600 microseconds and for the
Pittsfield tests it was 240 by 3200 microseconds.

field in the summer and fall of 1965. Winter tests of these same
configurations were conducted at Pittsfield in early 1966 to investigate whether temperature has an effect in addition to that
accounted for by the relative air density. Tests of configurations
4 and 5 were conducted at Leadville and during the winter test
series at Pittsfield.

Scope of Tests
The flashover strength of transmission line insulation is substantially influenced by the mass of the tower and by the proximity of the insulation to the structural members of the tower.
Because of these mass and proximity effects it would have been
necessary to examine a range of tower designs at both Leadville
and Pittsfield. The expense and time involved in such a program
led to a decision to test basic configurations representing boundary conditions which would encompass most tower designs.
These tests were intended to determine the effect of air density
independent of specific tower designs, that is, to define relationships which would permit the use of existing full-scale tower test
data for high-altitude applications.

Tcst Configurations
Three basic test configurations were selected to include the
following variables:
1) length of insulator assembly
2) length of air gap
3) influence of nearby ground plane
4) wet and dry conditions
5) switching surge and impulse waveshapes.
Configuration 1, shown in Fig. 4, represents a suspension insulator string with a minimum proximity effect. Configuration 3,
shown in Fig. 6, represents a suspension insulator string with a
large proximity effect caused by the ground plane. Configuration
2, shown in Fig. 5, provides a comparison of air vs. porcelain
and represents a moderate proximity effect. In addition, cap and
pin substation insulator assemblies were tested placed directly on
the ground (configuration 4) and on an 8-foot pedestal (configuration 5) shown in Fig. 7.
A range of insulation lengths typical of 230- to 500-kV designs
was tested for configurations 1, 2, and 3 at Leadville and Pitts-

Leadville Test Arrangement


The Leadville test site is illustrated in Fig. 1. A plan view of the
area is given in Fig. 8. The test specimens, in the cases of
configurations 1, 2, and 3, were suspended from one of
the outside phase conductors of the EHV test line so that
the spacing from the test specimens to the V-tower was 55 feet.
This spacing was selected to minimize any proximity effect that
the tower might exert on the flashover voltage of the test specimen. Earlier investigations have established that a clearance
ratio (air strike to tower divided by insulation length) of two or
more will minimize the influence of the tower on the flashover
strength of the insulation. The location of the impulse generator
is also shown.
For the tests on configurations 3, 4, and 5 a one-inch wire mesh
ground plane (36 feet by 36 feet) was placed directly on the
ground under the test specimen. This ground plane was used at
both Leadville and Pittsfield in order to offset any difference in
the resistivity of the earth that might exist between the two test
sites. The slope of the land under the test specimen was five
degrees.

Pittsfield Test Arrangement

The Pittsfield test site is shown in Fig. 9. A plan view of the


area is given in Fig. 10. Here a steel cable was strung between
Tower 2 of the EHV Project and the Quebec Hydro test tower.
The test specimens were suspended from the midpoint of the
cable so that they were 56 feet from either tower, thus minimizing
the proximity effect of the towers.
At Pittsfield the land was fairly level; therefore, in the cases of
configurations 3, 4, and 5 the wire mesh ground plane was supported on wooden frames to produce a sloping ground plane
similar to that which existed at Leadville.
TESTING PROCEDURES

Test Runs
Each test run consisted of a critical flashover determination
using 20 shots per level. The voltage levels were changed in
approximately four percent steps until at the lowest level there
were not more than five flashovers and at the highest level there
were not less than 15 flashovers.

950

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER APPARATUS AND SYSTEMS

AUGUST 1967

ENSION CONDUCTOR
CH CABLE BLOCK

-x 10 SUSPENSION INSULATOR
UNDER TEST

Fig. 4. Assembly details for configuration 1.

Fig. 5. Assembly details for configuration 2.

Fig. 6. Assembly details for configuration 3.

LOAD I

Fig. 8. Plan view of Leadville test site.

Fig. 7. Assembly details for configuration 5. (Configuration 4


the same as configuration 5, except steel base was omitted and insulators set directly on ground.)

Fig. 9. Pittsfield, Mass., fall tests. Configuration 2 shows control


trailer in lower left and vertical rod gap at right. Bubble which
houses impulse generator is in background. Tower 2 of EHV
project straddles the bubble. In lower portion is mock-up ground
plane to represent slope of land at Leadville.

Fig. 10. Plan view of Pittsfield EHV test site.

PHILLIPS ET AL.:

DATA ANALYSIS

1.16

'E 1.12
Z 1.
8

:r

-o

0.2

0.

VAPOR PRESSURE

'HG

Fig. 11. Humidity correction factors:


(A) switching surge, (B) impulse,
negative, (C) impulse, positive.

The voltage of a level was determined by averaging the crest


values of the full waves obtained at that level. The probability of
withstand was calculated for each level and plotted on normal
probability paper. The CFO and the standard deviation were determined by drawing the best fitting straight line through the
points and reading the voltage values at the 50 and 84 percent
probabilities. The voltage at 50 percent probability is the CFO.
The difference between the two readings is the standard deviation.
In fitting the straight line to the data points, the points nearer
to the 50 percent probability were given more weight than those
farther away. In order that the standard deviations for different
insulation strengths could be compared, they were converted to
percent of CFO.
Weather Observations
Weather observations were made at the beginning and end of
each test run and in-between if conditions changed. The following
factors were recorded:

a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

barometer
f)
dry bulb temperature g)
wet bulb temperature h)
sun

rain

951

AIR DENSITY AND TRANSMISSION LINE INSULATION

i)
g)

snow
fog

wind
dew
frost.

Humidity Correction
The test data were corrected for humidity in accordance with
the curves shown in Fig. 11. For impulse voltages, the standard
correction curves from ASA C68.1, curves B and C were used.
However, for switching-surge voltages these standard corrections
have been found to be too large. Curve A represents a humidity
correction curve developed by General Electric High Voltage
Laboratory from recent flashover test programs. This curve is the
best available at the moment but may require further refinement.
Wet Testing Procedure
The wet tests were made using a precipitation rate of 0.2 inches
per minute. In the case of configuration 1 the rain spray header
was supported in a horizontal position above the insulators and
the spray nozzles were directed so that the spray would be distributed over the length of the insulator string. For configuration
2, the header was placed in a vertical position and the nozzles
were directed so that the spray would cover the gap. Because of
breezes the spray could not be controlled as well as in an indoor
test facility and consequently the test results might be more
erratic.
The water available at Leadville had low resistivity. Therefore, it was processed through a demineralizer, brought up to a
high resistivity, and then mixed with the local unprocessed water
to achieve a resistivity of 18 000 to 22 000 ohm centimeters. At
Pittsfield the resistivity of the water was 22 000 ohm centimeters.

Switching Surge Results


The switching surge data are plotted in Figs. 12 through 20.
The CFO is plotted as a function of the number of insulator units
or the length of the air gap. RAD existing at the time of each
test is recorded adjacent to each data point.
In order to study the relationship between CFO and RAD the
data for configurations 1, 2, and 3 have been replotted in Figs.
25 through 27. The CFO values uncorrected (raw) and corrected
for humidity are plotted as a function of RAD for selected insulator and gap lengths. For example, in Fig. 25, which is for
configuration 1 under dry conditions, there are two sets of curves.
The one on the left shows raw (uncorrected for humidity) CFO
values and the one on the right shows CFO values corrected for
humidity. In each set of curves the CFO data from Leadville,
Pittsfield fall, and Pittsfield winter are plotted for 10, 20, and 25
insulator units. Adjacent to each test point the average air temperature existing during the test run is recorded. Straight lines
are drawn to average the data points. Vertical lines indicate by
their length the variation of the individual test points from the

average curve. These variations may be due to several factors:


1) Consistency of voltage measurements: To check the consistency of the voltage measurements, the test voltages were plotted
against the input charging voltage of the impulse generator.
Such plots should produce straight lines with essentially no scatter of data points. These plots demonstrated that the data were
consistent and that accurate comparisons could be made.
2) Statistical variation in CFO voltages: Based on probit analyses of selected tests, the 95 percent confidence limits for the
CFO may typically encompass a 43 percent variation. Using
the X2 statistical distribution, an analysis of the accuracy obtainable with 20 shots per voltage level verified this +3 percent
range. Therefore, the CFO obtained from a given test represents
an estimate of the actual CFO, which with 95 percent certainty
lies within a 6 percent band.
3) Humidity correction factor: Comparison of the raw sets of
curves with the corrected sets will show whether correcting for
humidity improves the fit of the data for the plots of CFO voltage vs. RAD. On positive polarity the variations are less for
the corrected data. On negative polarity, the corrected data and
the raw data produce about the same amount of variation and, in
general, the variations are considerably larger than for positive
polarity. Since all of the configurations have lower flashover voltages on positive polarity, it was concluded that the curves that
had been corrected for humidity should be used in the analysis of
the effect of RAD.
4) Temperature effect (independent of RAD): As menitioned
previously, the air temperatures existing during the test runs are
listed adjacent to the plotted points in Figs. 25 through 27.
In general the test points obtained at the higher temperatures lie
above the -average curves on positive polarity and below the
average curves on negative polarity. Thus, it appears that there
may be a small temperature effect which is independent of RAD.
However, this needs to be verified and evaluated by future testing.
In most instances, particularly on positive polarity, the variation
of the points from the average curve is less than i3 percent, thus
falling within the 95 percent confidence interval expected of the
data. (See item 2.) Therefore, it was decided to use the average
curves to analyze the RAD vs. CFO relationship.
The data were reduced to a common range of RADs so -that
one configuration could be compared to another configuration,
one length to another length, etc., on a common basis. The range
of RADs from 0.7 to 1.0 was chosen. The curves were extended
to RAD of 0.7. Voltage values were read off the curves at
RADs of 0.7 and 1.0 and designated V0.7 and V1.0, respectively.
Then the ratios V0.7/Vl.O were calculated. Curves, not reproduced here, were plotted for configurations 4 and 5 (configuration 1. 2, 3 curves are shown in Figs. 25 through 27) in order to

952

AUGUST

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER APPARATUS AND SYSTEMS

cOO

___

1[

/.71

172-

-,-

.73

1601

y99/

A02

.75

/.7

100

20

8o0o

/ .2

40

POS.

(I2C

PQs.

RoE

POS.

----W
M24EG.
0

1O

20

+ POS.

--_-_-___
xMNEG.

LEADVILLE TESTS

YPOS.
_ jNEG.

----0

4.0

30

NO. OF UNITS

401

NEG.

400

PITTSFIELD FALL TESTS

101

1.01

PITTSFIELD WINTER TESTS

LEADVILLE TESTS

7
0S

Fig. 12. Configuration 1: switching


surge, dry.

10

o0

40

30

20

NO. OF UNITS

Fig. 13. Configuration 1: switching


surge, dry.

20

40

30

NO OF UNITS

Fig. 14. Configuration 1: switching


surge, wet.

2400

2001
1600

-00

Fig. 13.Cofiuraio1swt1.10
-,surge Sooy.
;6Cc1-

PITTSFIELD FALL TESTS

1967

___-

- _ __ _ -

2000

.72

///
>--

--

12061600.1

lOS'

.72-WET-

1600

!Pl
Il 0o T4

50

1#//J +1.1 1

.71

.73

~~I2D
- ___

~ 1.04

f-

.7-W

.~~~672-WET

L~~~.J
99/

.7
9DRY
//

/0 /

NEG.

WET
9 POsD

/
- '1

I06
.06
0

ffl

GAP LENGTH (FT)

POS.

MEG.

10

____+

L4

POS.

LEADVILLE TESTS
--

16

GAP LENGTH (FT)

Fig. 16. Configuration 2: switching


surge, dry.

0D

U,

1b

12

Fig. 17. Configuration 3: switching


surge, dry.

.7 I
, |2
THESE CURvtb wtKt
EjDRAWN TO APPROXI/
/THE SHAPE OFIMATE
/
I I |
Xl
t THE CURVES FOR
J
/
+1.08 CONFIGURATION 3
/

|___xNG

1000

II
LOl I

>

I/

PITTSFIELD WINTER TESTS

--

lo

20

NO. OF UNITS

400-

41b

Fig. 18. Configuration 3: switching


surge,

dry.

4II1
{st./

II'tZ

__

POS.

LEADVILLE TESTS

4 /

/-

07,

PITTSFIELD WINTER TESTS

/.7

// .,74

j0 POS.

NG OF UNITS

12

'

~~~LEADVILLE
---

16

Fig. 19. Configuration 4: switching


surge, dry.

1.0

MEL
|---@.0

| ^t
4

60.

---~~~~~~
N EG.

/,

N EG.

30

L_____

1.071

>1

0)

1.03

FIGURES 176a10
~~~~~SEE
/'-

2~~~~

PITTSFIELD WINTER TESTS400

1600 ----

0
3
9

41,

161.07

1600

- 1

N EG.

NO. OF UNITS

200--0

1600 -

POs&

M EG.

2400-

NE

0O. - NPITTSFIELD FALL TESTS

POD
MEG

NMEG.

Fig. 15. Configuration 2: switching


surge, dry and wet.

2400

.
031___
x NEG.04
LT
.72

.0

PITTSFIELD WINTER TESTS

LEADVILLE TESTS

---0

l//

~~~~+POS.

/
6/
72

400

//I
.064 1.05/

12DC

--

PITTS~FIELD FALL TESTS

/~~

600

>160

11lW

1e200

PO0.
MEG.
TESTS

POE.

MEG.
12

16

NO. OF UNITS

Fig. 20. Configuration 5: switching


slurge,

dry.

PHILLIPS ET AL.:

20 O17

1) .06

LLiA41:i

20

ID

IS

1001.04I

4-

.74

v 74

II1600

Im.72

.072
/-10

1I.'I-'--1.06

_;;

,:; I:1200

12001

--

_ -

155

-L

1.04
-

.2

l--i
P-3

A72p

PITTSFIELD FALL TESTS

.2

____

__

NEG.

400

LEADVILLE TESTS
&
-i0POS.
-

20

DEP

LEADVILLE TESTS

40

1.086,

___

O,

NO OF UNITS

Fig. 23. Configuration 3: impulse, dry.

RAW

1.07+

--__

~+ p5S.
D___ x NEE.
LEADVILLE TESTS
_ t * POS.
~-- --N DEE.

X--.20
30

12

---~

f, t/

A//

Fig. 22. Configuration 2: impulse, dry.

ooo
-

4010

GAP LENGTH (FT)

Fig. 21. Configuration 1: impulse, dry.

PITTSFIELD FALL TESTS

72

f POS.
* PUS.
a NEG.

30

41.

PITTSFIELD FALL TESTS

---Na NEG.

NO. OF UNITS

hA

vu

I8

LD

161

1E00

:x

12
0

953

AIR DENSITY AND TRANSMISSION LINE INSULATION

60,____25 UNITS

__

14001
I9-1
0
.D

___

20N~

1200

l--

1000
PITTSFIELD WINTER TESTS

400C
60
40

20 l

NO. OF UNITS

30

40

Fig. 24. Configuration 3: impulse, dry.

___0

__

RAW

I.E

1.1

117

RAD

L5

RAW
__

I600

>

Uas

Fig. 25. Configuration 1: switching surge, dry (+ positive,


X negative).

1600

RAD

0.9

t00

25

CORR. FOR H
25 UNITS

21

UNITS

31

1400

40C

1-

12001 ___
1000

I_

RO

32'

~ ~9,

1063
Boool
600

6001

__

25e

R.U

U.9
0D

RAD

0.7k7

Fig. 26. Configuration 2: switching


(+ positive, X negative).

19

surge,

dry

1.1I I-R.

414

26

54!

53.

45.

--

25

2T

__+_

600. -- _
40

35-

41

1200

154'

1E8

RADuD

nq

nR
uAS

u. 7

1.2

1.1

1.0

Fig. 27. Configuration 3: switching


(+ positive, X negative).

RAD

0.9

a8

surge,

5'
0.7

dry

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER APPARATUS AND SYSTEMS

954
CONFIGURATION I

II

1.0

SS.. NEG. DRY

VO.7
V1.

V0.7
V1.0 0.1

RDDY

U.7

PUS. DR

PS

078
0.7

POS. DRY

NEG. IIET

impOPot

INEG. DRY
10

l.t

V0.7

u.

CONFIGURATION 2

IO

30

20

NO. OF UNITS

1.1

V1.0 0.0

S P

A0

30

NO. OF UNITS

CONFIGURATIONS 4 DiS

SWITCHING SURGE

r---IIMPULSE

n e-

1967

IMP NEG. DRY

CONFIGURATION 3
SWITCHING SURGE
- IMPULSE

AUGUST

NEG.DRY

VO.7

,POS. DRY
'POS. WET

V I.0

CONFIGURATION
S. S.

0.8

POS.

DRY

DRYICONFIGUR TION 5

S. S. PO
Po. DRY

IPOS. DRY
v.v0

_S.S. NEG. DRYJ

0.7
10

GAP LENGTH (FT)

0.6

.-V

15

NO. OF UNITS

Fig. 29. VO.7/Vl.o relationships.

Fig. 28. V0.7/Vl.o relationships.

determine V0.7/V1.0 ratios. The ratios for all configurations are


listed in Table I and are plotted in Figs. 28 and 29 to show how
the V0.7/V1.0 ratio varies with configuration, length, polarity,
dry vs. wet, and switching surge and impulse waveshapes.

results show good agreement with the results for line insulation.
an insulation length equivalent to 25 suspension units, the

At

V0.7/Vl.0 ratio for configuration 4 is 0.83 compared to 0.81 for


configuration 3. Configuration 5 and configuration 2 have similar
ratios up to an insulation length equivalent to 20 suspension
units, but at a 25-unit length, air density has less influence on the
air gap than on the cap and pin insulation. That is, the V0.7/V1.0
ratio at a 25-unit length is 0.83 for configuration 2 and 0.77 for
configuration 5. For negative polarity configuration 5 has an
unusual pattern, with the influence of air density increasing
with increased length. The negative polarity VO.7/Vl.o ratio for
configuration 5 is 0.79 for a 10-unit equivalent length and 0.71 for
a 20-unit equivalent length.

DISCUSSION OF SWITCHING SURGE RESULTS


Positive Polarity: Configurations 1, 2, and 3
Referring to the positive polarity results in Table I, it is seen
that for the 10-unit insulation length, the V0.7/V1.0 ratio is
approximately equal to 0.70 for all except configuration 2 (five
feet). The 0.59 ratio obtained for configuration 2 is not consistent
with the other data and appears to be unrealistic since it is unreasonable for the ratio to fall below 0.70, corresponding to a
full correction for air density. This low value is believed to be the Summary of Switching Surge Results
result of an unnoticed reduction in the air gap length at Leadville
For positive polarity, there is a significant difference between
caused by increased sag in the span conductor due to temperature
changes or to improper gap setting. This test was made at the the air density effect for configuration 1 (small proximity)
beginning of the test program and additional controls were im- and configurations 2 and 3 (moderate to large proximity). A full
correction for air density would be appropriate for configuration 1
posed during the remainder.
As the insulation length increases, the ratio of V0.7/V1.0 in- for insulator string lengths up to 25 units. For configurations 2
and 3, the air density effect is more a function of insulation
creases for all configurations. The ratio also increases with increased proximity. For configuration 1, small proximity, the length with the ratio of V0.7/V1.0 ranging from 0.7 for short air
ratio at 25 units has increased only slightly to 0.72, but for con- gaps and insulator strings to 0.81-0.83 for a 12.5-foot gap or 25
figurations 2 and 3, moderate to large proximity, it is 0.76-0.80 insulators. Configuration 4 is equivalent to configuration 3 for
at 20 units and 0.81-0.83 at 25 units. The wet and dry compari- an equal insulation length, but configuration 5 is influenced more
by air density than configurations 2 and 3 at longer insulation
son obtained for configuration 1 shows that the VO.7/Vl.0 ratio
is greater under wet conditions, but the difference is small and a lengths, with a V0.7/V1.0 ratio of only 0.77 at a 25-unit equivalent
check point at the 25 unit length (12.5-foot air gap) for configura- insulation length (10 cap and pin units).
For negative polarity, the effect of air density decreases signifition 2 shows a slightly smaller ratio for wet conditions. Therefore,
it would be conservative to assume no difference in wet and dry cantly with increasing proximity. With the exception of configuration 5 at negative polarity, the air density effect decreases as the
conditions.
length of the insulation path increases.
Negative Polarity: Configurations 1, 2, and 3
DISCUSSION OF IMPULSE RESULTS
The negative polarity data obtained for configurations 1 and 2
demonstrate a pattern similar to that observed for positive
To study the relationship between CFO and RAD, the impulse
polarity. The V0.7/Vl.o ratio increases for increasing insulation data were plotted in a manner similar to that used for the switchlength and proximity and is approximately the same for ing surge data, as shown on Figs. 21-24. The resulting V0.7/V1.o
wet and dry conditions. However, for configuration 3 the ratios are shown in Figs. 28 and 29 and summarized in Table II.
VO.7/Vl.0 ratio is significantly greater for negative polarity, inThe ratios of V0.7/V1.0 range from 0.68 to 0.76 for all configuradicating almost no effect of air density on the longer insulation tions and polarities except configuration 3 at negative polarity.
lengths. At 25 units, the V0.7/V1.0 ratio is 0.93.
In general, the air density effect decreases slightly with increased
insulation length and is not influenced by proximity at positive
Configurations 4 and 5
polarity. For practical purposes, a full correction for air density
Ratios of V0.7/V1.0 obtained for cap and pin insulation as- should be used for configurations 1 and 2 under all conditions
semblies are also shown in Table I. For positive polarity, these and for configuration 3 at positive polarity.

PHILLIPS ET AL.:

AIR DENSITY AND

TRANSMISSION

955

LINE INSULATION

TABLE I

V0.7/V1.0 RATIOS-SWITCHING SURGE


Configuration

Proximity

small

moderate

3
4
5

large
large
moderate

Wet
or
Dry
dry
wet
dry
wet
dry
dry
dry

Positive Polarity
Insulation Length, * units
15
20

10
0.68
0.70
(0.59)t

0.68

0.69

0.74

0.80

0.73

0.74

0.75

0.72

0.68

0.74

25

10

0.72

0.65
0.70
0.72

0.67
0.71
0.75

0.68
0.72
0.78

0.88

0.89

0.91

0.79

0.75

0.71

0.76
0.83
0.81
0.81
0.83
0.77

0.76

Negative Polarity
Insulation Length,* units
15
20
25

0.93

* Insulation length is expressed in terms of an equivalent number of suspension insulator units for all configurations:
15
20
25
Suspension units 10
Air gap, ft
5
7.5 10
12.5
6
8
10
Cap and pin units 4

t Gap spacing error suspected.

TABLE II
V0-7/V1l0 RATIOS-IMPULSE
Wet

Positive Polarity,
Insulation Length,* units

Configuration

Proximity

Dry

10

16

1
2
3

small
moderate

dry
dry
dry

0.72
0.69
0.75

0.69

large

or

20

10

0.76

0.72
0.68
0.92

0.73

Negative Polarity,
Insulation Length,* units
16
20
0.72

25

0.72
1.00

1.07

* Insulation length is expressed in terms of an equivalent number of suspension insulator units for all configurations:
16
20
25
Suspension units 10
5
8
10
12.5
Air gap, ft

For configuration 3 at negative polarity, the data indicate that


correction for air density would be required; that is, the CFO at
Leadville was approximately equal to the CFO at Pittsfield. The
voltage meas urements for these tests have been investigated
and their accuracy confirmed. Furthermore, similar results were
obtained during both the fall and winter tests. The complete
absence of an air density effect in this case is most surprising and

TABLE III
SWITCHING SURGE STANDARD DEVIATIONS

no

merits further investigation.

STANDARD DEVIATION OF SWITCHING SURGE


FLASHOVER DISTRIBUTION
The standard deviation was determined for each CFO tests as
explained earlier under testing procedures. Where several repeat
tests were made on one test condition, the standard deviation
sometimes varied as much as 2 or 3 to 1. This indicates -(hat the
standard deviation for a single CFO should not be given much
weight, but that a number of them should be obtained and averaged in order to determine the proper standard deviation to
employ in comparing one test condition to another or in estimating the withstand voltage.
Examination of the data obtained during this investigation
indicated that for any one configuration, the standard deviation
was essentially the same at all insulation lengths tested. Therefore, the standard deviations for all insulation lengths have been
combined for each configuration. Standard deviations are shown
for positive and negative polarity for Leadville and Pittsfield
tests in Table III.

Config-

uration Location
I
Leadville
1

Pittsfield

Leadville

Pittsfield

Leadville

Pittsfield

4
4

Leadville
Pittsfield

Leadville

Pittsfield

Number Standard Deviation*


Polarity of Tests Average
Range
pos.
9
3.95
1.6-6.5
10
neg.
1.91
0.6-3.0
pos.
7
4.48
2.5-6.0
6
neg.
3.53
2.0-5.9
6
pos.
4.42
2.2-6.2
4
3.85
2.3-5.8
neg.
pos.
9
7.02
4.5-8.9
6
3.48
1.9-5.2
neg.
2.86
3
2.6-3.3
pos.
3
5.66
4.3-7.2
neg.
12
4.18
2.5-5.4
pos.
4.0-16.4
13
7.9
neg.
pos.
1
3.1
4.3
pos.
1
3.6
1
neg.
3.06
3
1.5-4.0
pos.
3
2.30
1.7-2.8
neg.
3
5.63
pos.
4.0-6.7
4
2.1-4.8
3.67
neg.

* Expressed in percent of the CFO voltage.

956

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER APPARATUS AND SYSTEMS

The relationship of the standard deviations for various conditions were studied by means of the Student's t-tests. This is a
statistical comparison method which determines for a specified
level of confidence whether the means (in this case the average
standard deviations) of two distributions are equlal or different.
The results of these comparisons are summarized in Table IV.
Where the averages were not found to be equal, the mean difference and the 95 percent confidence interval estimate of the difference in the averages are shown.
Referring to Table IV, it can be seen that no significant difference was found in the standard deviations under wet and dry
conditions. For this reason, wet and dry results were not shown
separately in Table III. The standard deviation is greater for
positive polarity than for negative polarity for all configurations
except configuration 3, in which the relationship is reversed.
For configuration 3, the negative polarity standard deviation can
be assumed with 95 percent confidence to be at least two percent
different from the positive polarity standard deviation. It is of
interest that for negative polarity this configuration displayed a
significantly smaller air density effect than for positive polarity or
other configurations, thus indicating a basic difference in the
mechanism of flashover.
The standard deviations at Leadville and Pittsfield were compared for positive polarity and for negative polarity with and
without configuration 3 data. In all cases the standard deviation
at Leadville was smaller than at Pittsfield. For positive polarity,
the mean difference between the Leadville and Pittsfield standard
deviations was 1.4 percent, and for negative polarity the mean
difference was 2.6 percent. When the large negative polarity
standard deviations obtained for configuration 3 at Pittsfield are
eliminated from the comparison, the mean difference for nega-

AUGUST

1967

tive polarity is reduced to 1.1 percent.

Comparing the three basic configurations, Table IV shows that


for positive polarity, the standard deviation is not a function of
proximity, since the standard deviations for configurations 1 and
3 (small and large proximity effect) were found to be equal.
However, the standard deviation for air gaps appears to be
approximately two percent above that for insulator strings, determined by comparing configuration 2 (air gaps) with configurations 1 and 3 (insulators). For negative polarity, configuration 3
has a significantly higher standard deviation than either configuration 1 or 2; based on the 95 percent confidence interval
estimates of the mean differences, the standard deviation for
configuration 3 is at least three percent above that for configuration 1 and at least two percent above that for configuration 2. The
negative polarity standard deviation for air gaps, configuration 2,
is somewhat higher than for insulators without a large proximity
effect, configuration 1, with a mean difference of about one percent.

Standard Deviation of Impulse Flashover Distribution


The standard deviations of the impulse test data are summarized by location and polarity for each configuration in Table V.
The number of tests was not sufficient to permit a statistical
evaluation as was performed for the switching surge data.
However, the variation is less and the standard deviations are
reasonably consistent with the exception of configuration 3, negative polarity, at Pittsfield. The average standard deviation for
impulse voltages was two percent and is independent of polarity
and configuration, with the exception of configuration 3, negative
polarity, at Pittsfield, which had an average standard deviation
of 5.8 percent.

TABLE IV
t-TEST COMPARISONS OF SWITCHING SURGE STANDARD DEVIATIONS

Standard Deviations

Compared
Wet vs. dry-positive polarity
Configuration 1 and 2
Wet vs. dry-negative polarity
Configuration 1 and 2
Positive polarity vs. negative polarity
Configuration 1, 2, 4, 5
Positive polarity vs. negative polarity
Configuration 3
Leadville vs. Pittsfield
Positive polarity
Configuration 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Leadville vs. Pittsfield
Negative polarity
Configuration 1, 2, 3, 5
Leadville vs. Pittsfield
Negative polaritv
Configuration 1, 2, 5
Configuration 1 vs. 2
Positive polarity
Configuration 1 vs. 2
Negative polarity
Configuration 1 vs. 3
Positive polarity
Configuration 1 vs. 3

Result of t-test
Comparison

Mean
Difference

o-wet

adry

orwet

ordry

95% Confidence Interval


Estimate of Difference

o-pos. > aneg.

1.9

1.2 - 2.6

crpos. <crneg.

3.6

1.9

orLead.

< oaPitts.

1.4

0.5 -#2.3

aLead. < cFPitts.

2.6

0.9

cPitts.

1.1

0.3 - 2.0

1.8

0.44

3.1

0.1

2.2

6.7

o-Lead. <
l Kr2
<

ar1
a

<

cr2

1.1

I=

cr3

5.3

4.2

Negative polarity

cr1

<

cr3

5.0

3.2

Configuration 2 vs. 3
Positive polarity

cr2

> 3

2.0

0.8 -3.2

or2 < cr3

3.8

1.7

Configturation 2 vs. 3

Negative polarity

6.0

AIR DENSITY AND TRANSMISSION LINE INSULATION

957

of Standard Deviation Data


Differences in the standard deviations for the Leadville and
Pittsfield data amounted to 1.4 percent on positive polarity and
1.1 percent on negative polarity, Leadville always being lower.
The difference for porcelain and air insulation is one to two percent. However, the lower limits of the 95 percent confidence
intervals of these differences are considerably less, and for practical design purposes the use of the following standard deviations
is suggested:

pension insulators, and cap and pin insulators have approximately


equal flashover strengths. With moderate proximity, the flashover
strength of the cap and pin assembly is similar to that for the air
gap. However, the air gap is affected somewhat less by air density and thus has relatively greater strength at Leadville. It is
apparent that the flashover voltage levels obtained at Pittsfield
for configurations 2 (1550 kV) and 3 (1150 kV) bracket the range
of flashover values for actual towers. Configuration 2 is at the
high end of the range (consistent with moderate proximity) and
configuration 3 is at the lower end of the range (consistent with
a large proximity effect).
Table VI shows that for positive polarity, typical 500-kV insulation dimensions (25 insulators and 12.5-foot air gap) have
VO.7/Vl.o ratios of 0.81 or greater for both configurations 2 and 3.
Therefore, it should be valid to use a V0.7/Vi.o ratio of 0.8 for the
practical range of 500-kV tower designs. A ratio of VG.7/V1 of 0.8
is equivalent to an exponent n of 0.6. Tests of cap and pin insulation assemblies indicated that an air density correction of
(RAD)0 7 would be required for a 10-unit assembly (equivalent
to 25 suspension units). Therefore, a correction of (RAD)0.7
should be conservative for 500-kV transmission line design and
should encompass substation applications. That is
T' = Vs(RADx)n
where
CFO at location x
Vx
RADX Relative air density at location x
CFO at standard conditions (RAD = 1)
Vs
n
0.7.
For an insulation length equivalent to 20 suspension units, the
positive polarity V0.7/V1.o ratios are 0.76 for configuration 2 and
0.80 for configuration 3. Therefore, an air density correction of
(RAD)0 8 would be appropriate for this length. A reliable V0.7/V1.0
ratio for a 15-unit equivalent length was not obtained for configuration 2, but the ratio for configuration 3 is 0.74, indicating
that an appropriate air density correction for this length would
be (RAD)0 9. As discussed earlier, a full air density correction,
(RAD) 1 0, would be applicable for the 10-unit insulation length.
In order to establish the relationship between the withstand
and CFO voltages, it is necessary to determine two things:
1) standard deviation

PHILLIPS ET AL.:

Summary

Switching surge, positive polarity


all configurations
Switching surge, negative polarity
configuration 3
all other configurations
Impulse, positive polarity
all configurations
Impulse, negative polarity
configuration 3
all other configurations

5.0 percent

7.5 percent
3.0 percent

.0

2.0 percent
5.0 percent
2.0 percent

In a recent paper concerning switching surge testing of the


line insulation for the 500-kV Peace River project,181 the standard
deviation obtained for each test was reported. These have been
analyzed and indicate that the standard deviation for transmission line insulation is five percent confirming the foregoing
conclusions for positive polarity switching surges.

APPLICATION TO TRANSMISSION LINE DESIGN


Switching Surge
The negative polarity flashover voltages were greater than the
positive polarity flashover voltages for all configurations tested.
Therefore, for transmission line insulation design, positive
polarity flashover strength will be the critical requirement.
The positive polarity switching surge CFO voltages, dry, obtained for equivalent lengths of suspension insulators, air gap,
and cap and pin insulators are compared in Table VI with data
obtained from full-scale tower tests at Project EHV in Pittsfield.
The data shown are for 25 suspension insulators, ten cap and pin
insulators, and a 12.5-foot air gap. The data have been corrected
for humidity.
The data in Table VI indicate that with large proximity, sus-

Config-

TABLE V

TABLE VI

IMPULSE STANDARD DEVIATIONS

COMPARATIVE POSITIVE POLARITY CFO VOLTAGES


FOR TEST CONFIGURATIONS AND ACTUAL ToWERS*

uration

Location

Leadvile

Pittsfield

Leadville

Pittsfield

Leadville

Pittsfield

Number Standard Deviation*


Polarity of Tests Average Range
pos.
neg.
pos.
neg.
pos.
neg.
pos.
neg.
pos.
neg.
pos.
neg.

Total not including


Configuration 3, Neg. Polarity,
Pittsfield
*

1.7-2.2
0.8-2.2
1.7-3.1
1.2-3.2
1.4-2.1
2.2-2.3
1.6-3.4

2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
5
8

2.0
1.5
2.4
2.2
1.8
2.3
2.5
1.6
3.1
2.5
1.3
5.8

2.9-3.2
1.0-3.9
1.0-2.0
3.1-10.0

25

2.0

0.8-3.9

Expressed in percent of the CFO voltage.

1.6-1.6

Test Configuration

Leadville,
kV

960

4
5
2

1000
1140
1240

Full-scale tower tests


V-string (25-ft. window)
no corona rings
with corona rings

Single stringt

no corona rings
with corona rings
Air gap
conductor to leg or truss
conductor to guy wire

Pittsfield,
kV

1165 fall

1220 winter

1250
1500
1520 fall
1550 winter

1280
1160
1360
1300
1290
1550

* For 25 suspension insulators, 12.5-ft air gap, or 10 cap and pin


insulators.
t Insulator string swung to a 300 angle. Clearance to tower
equal to length of insulator string.

958

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER APPARATUS AND SYSTEMS

2) level of reliability required, and thus the number of standard


deviations that should be subtracted from the CFO voltage to
establish a realistic withstand voltage.
The standard deviations were analyzed earlier. Limiting the
considerations to positive polarity, as was done here, it is apparent that a standard deviation of 5.0 percent should be used.
If the withstand voltage is considered to be two standard
deviations below the CFO voltage, the withstand voltage will be
90 percent of the CFO. For three standard deviations below the
CFO, the withstand voltage will be 85 percent of the CFO.
Impulse
It is recommended that for impulse design consideration a full
air density correction, (RAD)1 0, should be used with a standard
deviation of 2.0 percent.

CONCLUSIONS

Switching Surge
1) The following air density correction factors are applicable
to transmission line design:
Insulator or
Air Gap Length, ft
5.0
7.5
10.0

12.5

Correction
Factor
(RAD)' 0
(RAD) 9
(RAD)0.8
(RAD)0.7

2) Air density correction is the same for wet and dry conditions.
3) Air density correction is approximately the same for air gaps
and insulators.
4) Air density effect decreases with increasing length and increasing proximity of insulation to ground planes.
5) Negative polarity switching surges produce higher flashover
voltages than positive polarity. Therefore, positive polarity
switching surges determine the criteria to be followed in designing
transmission line insulation.
6) There seems to be a slight temperature effect that is independent of RAD. However, this effect is small and will need to
be investigated further for verification.
7) The use of a humidity correction improved the correlation
of the CFO data with RAD. Therefore, it is concluded that it is
valid to use a humidity correction.
8) A standard deviation of five percent is applicable to transmission line design.
9) The standard deviation of CFO voltages is essentially independent of proximity on positive polarity. On negative polarity
it increases with large proximity effects.
10) The standard deviation of CFO voltages is smaller at high
altitude than at low altitude.

Impulse
The air density correction that should be used for transmission line design for impulse waves is (RAD) 1.0 and the standard deviation is 2.0 percent of the CFO voltage.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution made by T.
Brownlee of the General Electric Company in supervising the
Leadville portion of the program and the support he received
from P. K. Jones of Public Service Company of Colorado and J.
P. Benedict of the General Electric Company. The Pittsfield tests
were supervised by F. J. Turner and performed by L. W. Graham
and T. W. Armstrong of the General Electric Company. The
ingenuity of these people in coping with problems in the field and
their close attention to details contributed much to the success
of the program.

AUGUST 1967

REFERENCES

[1] W. R. Johnson, E. G. Lambert, J. B. Tice, and F. J. Turner,

"500-kY-line design: II-electrical strength of towers," IEEE


Trans. Power Apparatus and Systems, vol. 82, pp. 581-589, August
1963.
[2] G. H. Aleksandrov, V. Y. Kizvetter, R. M. Rudakova, and
A. N. Tushov, "The AC flashover voltages of long air-gaps and
strings of insulators," Elektrichestvo, pp. 27-32, May 1962.
[3] H. S. Goff, D. G. McFarlane, and F. J. Turner, "Switching
surge tests on Peace River transmission line insulation," IEEE
Trans. Power Apparatus and Systems, vol. PAS-85, pp. 601-613,
June 1966.

Discussion
A. E. Kilgour (Allis-Chalmers, Milwaukee, Wis.): This paper holds
considerable interest and the authors are to be commended for their
fine presentation. It is encouraging that the comparative information
presented is in generally close agreement. The explanations, procedures, and graphic display will certainly be of value for future
design and operational purposes.
Several questions have been generated from reading this work.
1) Regarding ground resistivity: we appreciate the elimination
of as many variables as possible for some testing, but were differences
found in ground resistivity and what effect would the authors expect
the ground resistivity to have on the results obtained?
2) The details of factors effecting the variance between CFO and
CWS seem to add to the complexity. Practical applications are that
the relationship between CFO and CWS be weighed with a good
confidence level but without excessive margins of safety so as to
prevent an economic burden. Therefore, which factors do the
authors feel to be most significant?
3) The paper states the General Electric Company's method of
variance was used in place of existing standards. What are the
merits of the G.E. method? What efforts are being made to incorporate them into the standards now under discussion for revision
and updating?

Manuscript received July 25, 1966.

M. K. Ramthun (Arizona Public Service Company, Phoenix, Ariz.):


The authors are to be commended for casting a good deal of light on
the heretofore gray area of the effect of altitude on transmission line
design.
As a participant in the High Altitude Test Program at Leadville,
Colo., Arizona Public Service Company is particularly pleased with
the conclusions. These data were utilized by Arizona Public Service
in the design of the tower-insulation system for the Company's
500-kV Four Corners-Colorado River Transmission Line.
After consideration of all factors, Arizona Public Service engineers
adopted an exponent of 0.65 to the RAD. We emphasize, however,
that this was done only after careful analysis of other factors which
we felt indicated a rather conservative overall design.
The following is an example of the difference these data made in
tower design.
The tower-insulation system selected by Arizona Public Service,
using a RAD exponent of unity would have sufficed to an altitude of
about 4200 feet. The exponent of 0.65 extended the altitude to about
7000 feet. This permitted the use of a single type of tangent tower
for nearly 99 percent of the line. For those few miles above 7000
feet, a few insulators were added to the tangent tower. For the few
towers above 8000 feet, the light angle tower was utilized as a
tangent with additional insulation.
Again it is emphasized that other considerations which indicated a
conservative line design encouraged the use of the 0.65 exponent.
Among these considerations was a METIFOR analysis of the
proposed line.

Manuscript received July 27, 1966.

PHILLIPS ET AL.:

959

AIR DENSITY AND TRANSMISSION LINE INSULATION

John H. Moran (Lapp Insulator Company, Inc., LeRoy, N. Y.):


The authors of this paper have done yeoman work in gathering and
analyzing the data which they present. It is axiomatic at this time
that the proper correctioni factors to be applied to the test values
obtained on modern outdoor insulating structures are vitally needed.
The influence of the air density is but one of a number of factors
known to influence the strength of insulating structures, and it
will be only through the agency of such investigations as this that
the entire truth will eventually become known. The authors deserve
the thanks of the entire electrical insulating industry for the facts
presented in this paper.
The section entitled Scope of Tests contains the statement that
"the flashover strength of transmission line insulation is substantially
influenced by the mass of the tower." I would like to suggest that
some other term be used to describe this effect, such as, projected
tower area, since I do not believe that a change from one conducting material in the tower to another conducting material, for instance, from aluminum to steel, which, although it would increase
the mass of the tower, would actually have any effect on the flashover
strength.
With respect to the wet tests conducted on configuration 2, which
utilized a rod gap, I would like to ask the authors if the flashover
path was observed to follow consistently the area being wetted, or
if the flashover path went beyond the wetted area.

Manutscript received July 28, 1966.

T. M. Parnell (Department of Electrical Engineering, Untiversity of


Queellsland, Australia): This paper is a most welcome contribution
in a field where considerable effort is needed to establish sound design
practices for the higher transmission voltages. The authors are to be
congratulated on their ingenuity in producing information from a
situation where the cost of conventional experiments would probably
be prohibitive.
The results do, however, raise a number of points where some
clarification seems necessary.
1) In arriving at RAD corrections, humidity corrections had to be
applied in accordance with Fig. 11. Can the authors comment on the
magnitude of the humidity corrections actually used, relative to the
RAD corrections which they deduced from the corrected test results
and on the probable errors in RAD corrections due to uncertainty
in the humidity corrections?
2) In their conclusions the authors suiggest that RAD correction
decreases according to a power law as the length of the test object
increases. Since both humidity and RAD may be presumed to
affect the breakdown process simultaneously and independently,
can the authors suggest reasons for treating the humidity corrections
as a quantity independent of test object leingth? The standard
quoted by the authors, ASA C68.1, suggests that this is not so in the
case of the shorter gaps.
One aspect of the application of the authors' results appears to
deserve comment.
In determining switching surge withstand levels, values of CFO-2ar
and CFO-3a are suggested-these corrresponding to withstand
probabilities of 0.977 and 0.999, respectively. Since relatively large
numbers of insulators and gaps will be stressed simultaneously by a
switching surge, the probability of flashover at a given withstand
level can become quite high. If one assumes that 200 insulator
strings and equivalent gaps may be simultaneously stressed by a
switching surge on a long line, the withstand probability for the
line at a level equal to CFO-3a becomes 0.8, i.e., one would expect a
flashover somewhere on the line for one in every five surges at the

withJstand level.

Is this figure likely to occur in practice or must we conclude that


additional factors of safety, such as margins between the levels of
generated surges and the withstand level, will offset this effect?

Maiiuseript received July 28,

1966.

(Central Research Institute of Electric Power


a very inIndustry, Tokyo, Japan): The authors have presented
to us.
teresting paper anid deserve our thanks for making it available
The influence of air density is an important subject in Japan,
too. In Tokyo and Chubu Electric Power Companies, the next 500kV transmission lines are going to be planned beyond the mountainiouis area of about 5000 feet above sea level. This paper, then, is
previous data
timely and valuable, indeed. As far as we are aware,
have been limited to about 0.9 or so of RAD. Data have been
shown
expanded into the region of lower RAD, and theisauthors have
that the air density correction for impulse wave (RAD)1'0 while the
correction factor for switching surge wave is (RAD)07, tending to
show a saturation effect. This suggests that the insulation level in
the high altitude area might be installed more economically. The
standard deviation for switching surge wave sometimes varied as
much as two or three to one. We also have experienced similar
results on the standard deviation in our Shiobara Laboratory. This
fact indicates that a number of tests should be necessary to determine the withstand voltage. We use the wave of 150 - 200 by 3000
gs in the test for determining the withstand voltage of line insulation,
because this waveshape gives the minimum flashover voltage. We
would like to ask why the authors use the longer wave front of
T. Udo and M. Kawai

240 ps.

Maniuscript received July 28, 1966.

A. R. Hileman (Westinghouse Electric Corporation, East Pittsburgh,


Pa.): The effect of altitude on the switching surge critical flashover
voltage of air porcelain insulation has been an uncertain parameter
in EHV insulation design. The results of this investigation are a
large contribution toward the solution of this problem.
Previously Aleksandrov et al. [',2 have suggested that for long
gaps, data should be corrected by RAD to the nth power with n
7 meters. In a
varying from 1 for gaps of 1 meter to 0.7 for gapson offull-scale
tower
recent paper which presented results of tests
insulation,[3] four test series using the same test object were made
for RAD ranging from 0.955 to 1.043. The data were compared when
uncorrected, corrected by the RAD to the first power, and corrected by the (RAD)0-5. Of these three methods of data correction,
the use of n 0.5 provides minimum data variation. Therefore this
correction factor was adopted. However, it was noted that RAD
variations occurred principally because of temperature and therefore it was suggested that full RAD corrections be employed for
=

pressure variations.

While the use of full RAD correction for low altitude designs[4]
does not incur a significant economic penalty, the use of full RAD in
comparison to (RAD)0-6 as suggested by the authors would require
about three additional insulators for 500-kV lines at 10 000 feet.
Thus the application of these data will be of economic benefit to
utilities with EHV lines in mountainous regions.
Using the authors' data in Table I, Fig. 30 has been prepared to
illustrate the variation of n of the expression (RAD)n as a function of
the equivalent number of suspensioin insulators. The dotted line shows
the authors' suggestions as given in the conclusioin and is a good
practical estimate of the factor n. Do the authors have a theoretical
for configuration 1?
explanation for the flatness of the curve simulated
full-scale tower
The standard deviation for recent
conditions of
switching surge tests[3] was 4.6 and 3.7 percent for test
Vpositive polarity, wet and dry, respectively, for insulators in the
string configuration. For insulators in vertical configuration
standard deviation was approximately 3.7 for wet and 3.3 percent
for dry conditions. From tests on the Southern California Edison's
500-kV tower[3] in which V-strings are employed, the standard
deviation was 4.8 and 3.2 percent for wet and dry conditions, respectively. The more recent tests performed on the Allegheny5.2Power
and
Systems 500-kV tower[5] showed a standard deviation of for
these
4.0 percent for wet and dry conditions, respectively. Thus,
extensive tests it would be concluded that, 1) the standard deviation
for wet condition on V-string insulators, positive polarity, is over

Maniuscript received August 12, 1966.

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER APPARATUS AND SYSTEMS

960

X;

30

~I D

0.8~~~~~~~~~~2
0.8
,I __, _
_
0.6
_
_J

oil
5

0.4

0.2 _

10

_I

D7
2

25

31

5
10
2515
20
NO. OF EOUIVALENT SUSPENSION INSULATOR S

3C,o

Fig. 30. Effect of number of equivalent suspension insulators on n


of expression (RAD)n. Configuration number W stands for
wet, D dry, noted on curves obtained from Table I.
one percent greater than for dry conditions, and 2) the standard
deviation for wet condition, V-string insulators, positive polarity, is
from 4.6 to 5.2 percent; values which agree with the authors' average
value of five percent for these tests.
The authors' results show a mean difference between low and high
altitude standard deviation of 1.4 percent, positive polarity, the
high altitude being lower. This factor tends to offset the altitude
correction factor of the critical flashover voltage since at high
altitude the withstand strength at three standard deviations below
critical flashover is about 5 percent of the CFO greater than that at
low altitudes. Do the authors suggest using this factor in application
at high altitude?
The humidity correction factor curve of Fig. 11 is very interesting.
However, it is presented without full discussion of its derivation.
It would be very helpful if the authors would present the analysis of
their test data from which the curve was derived.
The results of this investigation and the succinct and complete
manner of presenting data and results greatly adds to the solution of
the problem of altitude correction factors.
REFERENCES
1'] G. N. Aleksandrov, and V. L. Ivanov, "Electrical strength of

AUGUST 1967

are the best way to solve the problem of the economical design of
high altitude EHV transmission-lines insulation.
We agree that the data shown in the paper allow the statement
that air density strongly affects insulation strength, but we think
that further work is required to establish definite values for the
exponent n of the RAD correction factor. Our findings, as explained
in our paper,' show that when comparing results coming from
different test plants, a confidence limit must always be taken into
account, as when test conditions are carefully duplicated. This
means that, in this case, it is possible to attribute t) air density
the variations due to other factors. For instance, in the case of
negative impulse tests of configuration 3, the discrepancies found by
the authors can be justified by the low consistency of the results.
In fact, in our paper, the rod-to-plane configuration shows (Table
I) the poorest consistency (a = 6 percent), so that differences
higher than 34 percent between two results obtained in two different
laboratories can occur with 5 percent of probability. Furthermore,
large discrepancies in these results are reported by the authors (20
units, Pittsfield tests).
We could not completely agree with conclusion 5): "Negative
polarity switching surge produce higher flashover voltages than
positive polarity." According to our test experience, which is confirmed also by the literature, this statement is not generally valid,
as wet negative can be, in quite a number of cases, more restrictive
than positive. On this point, we will be glad to have more detailed
information on the spraying apparatus used both in Pittsfield and
Leadville, particularly concerning nozzles, angle, and uniformity of
precipitation.
Apropos of the general remark on the consistency of the results,
we think that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find a
temperature effect independent of the RAD effect. We would also
like to ask if any correlation was found between the results and
conditions of sun, fog, snow, dew, wind, frost, and rain, recorded
during all the tests.
We strongly support the opinion of the authors that "the standard
deviation for a single test, should not be given much weight," but an
average value obtained from many tests must be used for each test
condition as the proper standard deviation. These values for insulator strings, calculated on the basis of very large number of
tests, are given on Table VI of our paper. Table VII, given here,
shows substantial agreement between our figures and those proposed by the authors.

TABLE VII
AVERAGE STANDARD DEVIATIONS OF FLASHOVER
DISTRIBUTION FOR INSULATOR STRINGS

air gaps and insulator strings under the action of switching surges,"
Elec. Tech. (USSR), vol. 3, pp. 460-473, 1962.
[2] G. N. Aleksandrov, V. Y. Kizeretter, V. M. Rudakova, and A. N.
Tushnov, "The AC flashover voltage of long air gaps and strings of
insulators," Elec. Tech. (USSR), vol. 2, p. 255, 1962.
[3] A. W. Atwood, Jr., A. R. Hileman, J. W. Skooglund, and J. F.
Wittibschlager, "Switching surge tests on simulated and full-scale
EHV tower-insulator systems," IEEE Trans. Power Apparatus and
Systems, vol. PAS-84, pp. 293-303, April 1965.
[4] W. C. Guyker, A. R. Hileman, and J. F. Wittibschlager, "Fullscale tower-insulation tests for APS 500-kV system," IEEE Trans.
Power Apparatus and Systems, vol. PAS-85, pp. 614-623, June 1966.
[5] A. R. Hileman, W. C. Guyker, H. M. Smith, and G. E. Grosser,
Jr., "Line insulation design for APS 500-kV system," this issue,
pp. 987-994.

1 E. Bracna, M. Tellarini, and L. Zaffanella, "The confidence limit


of high-voltage dielectric test results," this issue, pp. 968-974.

E. Brasca and L. Zaffanella: (CESI-Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano, Milan, Italy): We are happy to compliment
the authors of this very interesting paper on the extensive experimental work performed, which, for the first time, makes a substantial contribution to the investigation of air density effects. We
completely agree that full-scale tests performed at different sea levels

T. A. Phillips, L. M. Robertson, A. F. Rohlfs, and R. L. Thompson:


The authors wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of the
discussers. We appreciate their thorough review of the data presented and welcome the opportunity to respond to the questions
raised.
To answer Mr. Kilgour, we would expect the ground resistivity to

Manuscript received August 15, 1966.

Paper

This paper
Brasca et al.1

Lightning
Impulse
Switching Impulse
negposnegative
ative positive
itive
dry dry wet dry wet
dry
2
1.1

2
1.4

Manuscript received September 8, 1966.

5
4.2 4.3

3
2.2 3.3

LINE
AIR DENSITY AND TRANSMISSION INSULATION

961

have a second order effect, if any, on the test results. However, to


eliminate this variable, the wire mesh ground planes were incorporated. One test was conducted at Leadville for configuration 3
(10 suspension insulators, switching surge, positive polarity, dry)
with and without the wire mesh ground plane, and the results agreed
within 5 percent.
Referring to the last column of Table IV which shows the 95
percent confidence interval estimate of the difference in standard
deviations, the factors that affect the standard deviation most
significantly are apparent by inspection of the lower limits of the
confidence intervals. For example, the effect of proximity on the
negative polarity gma is pronounced. With 95 percent confidence,
the sigma for configuration 3 was at least 3.2 percentage points
points
greater than the sigma for configuration 1 and 1.7 percentage
greater than the sigma for configuration 2. While it is difficult to
draw general conclusions from Table IV, the comparisons shown
design quesprovide useful information for application to specific can
be detertions and, as suggested in the text, appropriate values
mined for line design.
In determining the standard deviations, graphical methods were
Linear
applied which are in general use throughout the industry.
regression methods and probit analysis could have been used, but
it was felt that the graphical approach would be more convenient. A
modified linear regression method is included in the proposed standard for disconnect switches.
y gratifying in its
The discussion by Mr. Ramthun is
demonstration of the economies possible through practical application of the research data.
Mr. Moran's point concerning use of the word mass is very well
taken. Certainly tower weight does not influence the flashover
strength, though some measure which takes into account the depth
of an adjacent tower member as well as the projected area may be
required.
Although all flashovers were observed by test personnel, we do
not know if the flashover path went beyond the wetted area. We feel
that thorough investigation of this question would require photographic techniques.
We agree with the observation by Mr. Udo and Mr. Kawai that
substantial economies may be achieved in high altitude transmission
line insulation by incorporating realistic air density corrections, and
this is supported by Mr. Ramthun's discussion. It is interesting to
learn that results from the Shiobara Laboratory also show variations
of two or three to one in individual standard deviations. Our use of
the 240-.os wave front was based on previous tests showing little
wave-front
difference in flashover strength within the 100-300

METIFOR program, 12 generally demonstrates a significantly


lower flashover probability than that obtained by assuming
strenigth.
coincidence of a maximum surge with
We do not have a good theoretical explanation at present for the
apparent flatness of the curve for configuration 1 in Mr. Hileman's
Fig. 30, but it is apparent that this is in some way related to the lack
of tower proximity effect.
Mr. Hileman has made a valuable contribution in summarizing
the standard deviations obtained in various tower test programs.
These data provide welcome support for the selection of 5 percent as
a conservative value for the standard deviation.
We believe further analysis and correlation of standard deviation
data are required before differences on the order of one percent in the
value of sigma are incorporated in designs. We would suggest at
present that the indicated lower sigma at high altitude be considered
as further justification for applying the reduced air density corrections described in the paper.
The humidity correction curve was developed from analysis of
limited tests conducted over a range of humidities and while not
necessarily exact, it does provide the best available estimate of the
humidity effect. Derivation of the curve required a fair amount
of engineering judgment. It is expected that more complete supporting data will become available.
We agree with Mr. Brasca and Mr. Zaffanella that further refinement of the air density correction is desirable, and we hope that
test work will also be undertaken at intermediate altitudes. However, we do feel that the data presented in the paper provide a sound
basis for engineering application.
While purely statistical variations may produce discrepancies in
test results, it is our feeling that the large differences that have been
observed in results obtained by different laboratories are primarily
due to differences in test procedures, personnel, and philosophy.
The test program reported in this paper, while conducted at two

PHILLIPS ET AL.:

particularl

ps

region.

In response to Dr. Parnell, humidity corrections applied


at the two locations ranged from 1.0 to 1.08 at Pittsfield and 1.02 to
1.06 at Leadville for switching surge, and 1.09 to 1.15 at Pittsfield and
1.09 to 1.14 at Leadville for impulse. While some error may be
such errors would be in the same
introduced by these corrections,
direction for both locations and thus would, for the most part,
balance out in the calculation of RAD corrections.
It is possible that the humidity correction varies with test object
length. However, the ASA Standard C68.1 uses a full correction
factor for all gaps with a flashover exceeding 140 kV. We are not
aware of data suggesting other than a full correction for gaps of
the lengths involved in the present investigation. We did not study
similar
the effect of humidity and insofar as possible tested
humidity conditions so as to eliminate this variable.
Based on Dr. Parnell's stated assumptions, one flashover in every
five surges would, in fact, be expected to cause flashover. However,
Transient Network Analyzer studies and field test programs have
variable
demonstrated that
surge magnitude is a
on a given line will exceed
such that surges typically
90 percent of the maximum magnitude with a frequency of less
surge correthan 0.10. Therefore, assuming that the
0.20, and that
sponds to a flashover probability of one in five, or maximum
will
surges with magnitudes less than 90 percent of the
not cause flashover, the probability that a given surge will cause
flashover will be less than 0.02, or one in 50 (0.2 X 0.1). In addition,
atmospheric conditions will rarely combine to produce a minimum
insulation strength condition, and in fact the strength may be
increased as well as decreased by weather variables.

any

under

switching

experienced

statistical
maximum

Comprehensive examination of flashover probability consid-

ering the full range of statistical interaction of the variables


fluencing inisulation performance, such as accomplished by

inthe

mminimum

test sites, was carried out with identical procedures, philosophy,


and the same supervisory personnel at both locations. With the
careful controls employed and the large number of test points, we
believe variations in the data have been minimized. In addition,
where inconsistencies were observed, test points were repeated.
We do agree that the confidence limits for results obtained for
configuration 3 on negative polarity are of necessity broad, since the
inherent natural behavior of that configuration produces a wide
scatter of data points.
General Electric Company has conducted a very large number of
switching surge tests and only once or twice have situations been
observed where the negative polarity CFO was lower than the
positive polarity. These were under wet conditions where there was
a large amount of water cascading over the insulators. Even under
these conditions, however, the flashover voltage at negative polarity
was only slightly below the positive polarity flashover voltage.
The spray nozzles were of the type used on garden hoses. These
were used since they will throw a spray farther than the U.S.A.
standard spray nozzles. We estimate that the angle of the precipitation was between 300 to 450 to the vertical. It was attempted to
make the spray as uniform as possible, but the ubiquitous breezes
made impossible as good uniformity as can be obtained indoors.
We agree that a temperature effect independent of the RAD
effect is difficult to identify. Certain inferences in the literature led
us to include this variable in our investigation. We suspect that
there is no such effect, but we cannot rule it out.
We could find no correlation with sun, fog, dew, wind, and frost.
the tests were stopped during rain, and there was very
Generally
little snow. We did not include these parameters in the paper because
of the complexity of presentation.
Again we are pleased with the concurrence that "the standard
deviation for a single test should not be given much weight, but an
average value obtained from many tests must be used for each test
condition." The agreement between the discussers' and the authors'
values for standard deviation is gratifying. Apparently, the values
given in our paper are slightly conservative and should provide
reasonable measures for engineering application.
1 J. G. Anderson and L. 0. Barthold, "METIFOR, a statistical
method of insulation design of EHV lines," I'EEE Trans. Power
Apparatus and Systems, vol. 83, pp. 271-280, March 1964.
2 J. G. Anderson and R. L. Thompson, "The statistical computation of line performance using METIFOR," IEEE Trans. Power
Apparatus and Systems, vol. PAS-85, pp. 677-686, June 1966.