Performance evaluation of 230 kV polymer insulators in the coastal area of Saudi

Luqman S. Maraaba*, Khaled Y. Al Soufi, Luai M. Alhems, Mohamed A. Hassan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This article investigates the technical performance of 230 kV field-aged composite insulators in the coastal region of Saudi Arabia. Two insulator samples removed from the 230 kV line after 20 years of service are assessed at KFUPM High Voltage Lab (KHVL). Different assessment techniques, such as visual inspection, contact angle, surface pollution severity, electrical withstand, and material characterization are utilized to evaluate the insulator performance. Equivalent salt deposit density (ESDD) and non-soluble deposit density (NSDD) techniques are used for the surface pollution severity measurements. Clear views of surface changes and surface hydrophobicity conditions are displayed. Scanning electron microscope (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry (EDX), and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-IR) techniques are utilized for the material characterization. The visual inspection reveals small and big cracks in the insulator sheds. Hard breakable portion areas, many shed cuts, changed color areas, and whitish parts are visually noticed in the insulator surface. Such changes confirm the aging condition effect of the insulator units. Furthermore, the samples are subjected to laboratory clean fog tests to check the electrical performance of the samples. Informative results are given for the current condition and performance for the 20-years, field- aged insulators. Additionally, the experimental results are presented for the rest of the insulator life period. Utilization of the existing line insulators has been evaluated. Finally, discussions and recommendations for the future handling of the insulators at the 230 kV line are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164292-164303
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. All rights reserved.


  • High voltage insulator
  • Materials evaluation
  • Silicon rubber insulator
  • flashover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Computer Science


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