High-level characterization of de-icing salts on polymer composite insulator
Award Summary: To evaluate the long-term effects of corrosive conditions (particularly the use of de-icing salts) on the hydrophobicity of silicone used on polymer composite electrical insulators. Used a variety of analytical methods to better understand the effects of simulated ageing on polymer samples. These methods include:
(1) visual microscopy and atomic force microscopy to determine changes to surface morphology; (2) contact angle measurements to quantify changes in hydrophobicity; and
(3) NMR and mass spectrometry measurements to characterize low-molecular weight silicone oils leaking from the polymer matrix. By applying modern, scientifically rigorous, and statistically sound characterization methods to the problem of polymer insulator ageing (which has previously been studied only by very low-tech methods), we made substantial and lasting contribution to the field of non-ceramic insulators.