Comparison of partial discharge characteristics and degradation in several polymeric insulators

D. Adhikari, D.M. Hepburn, B.G. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Polymeric insulating materials with excellent electrical properties are widely used in electrical power equipment. These materials are degraded, however, when they are subjected to partial discharge (PD) with different polymeric materials possessing different levels of PD resistance. In this study the PD characteristics and degradation caused by PD are analysed and compared for four different polymers - poly(ether sulphone) (PES), poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), poly(propylene) (PP) and low-density poly(ethylene) (LDPE). An artificial void is created in each of the polymer samples and electrically stressed above PD inception voltage (PDIV) for 4 h. The simulated electric field distribution inside the void for each of the polymer materials at the respective PDIVs is modelled using COMSOL to validate the experimental results. Little work has correlated void PD characteristics with material degradation induced by PD across a range of different polymers and subsequently categorised them according to their PD resistances. This study therefore presents a comparative study of the N-Q patterns of PD pulses (a plot of the number of discharges against the measure of apparent charge), PD repetition rate and the chemical and morphological changes occurring on the void surfaces for each type of polymer. The results show that the PD resistance of these four polymers can be categorised in a decreasing order according to the following sequence: LDPE, PP, PET and PES with LDPE being most resistant to PD and PES the least resistant. © 2012 The Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-484
Number of pages11
JournalIET Science, Measurement and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2012


  • electric field distributions
  • polymeric materials
  • partial discharge characteristics
  • polymeric insulators
  • material degradation

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