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Working Group 11 Task Force 5 of Study Committee 22 avoided by a better knowledge of the spe-
cific service conditions. There are not many
problems for which a solution does not exist
TABLE OF CONTENTS nowadays. The real difficulty is to establish
the actual operating conditions of a specific
transmission line. Usually, only an overview
1. INTRODUCTION ANNEX A: FIGURES of the line is provided but this is not suffi-
cient to identify specific locations where
EXPERIENCE The present trend for cost reduction has led
ANNEX C: MINI-QUESTIONNAIRE to a significant loss of expertise in many
3. SURVEY OF FIELD EXPERIENCE utilities. This means that utilities are losing
the capacity to carry out their own studies
4. CONCLUSION and as a result, they have to rely on sup-
pliers to recommend the proper spacer
5. REFERENCES damper system to use. On the other hand,
the market has become more and more
competitive so that suppliers have to offer
cheaper solutions. With these two phenom-
Convenor: Louis Cloutier ena merging, we can expect that problems
Secretary: Rolf Kleveborn (until June 2001), Pierre Van Dyke (from June 2001)
will increase in the future.
Composition of the TF when the final draft of the document was written: Halina Argasinska,
Umberto Cosmai, Giorgio Diana, Peter Dulhunty, Jim Duxbury, Kjell Halsan, Claude Hardy, 2.2 Specification and evaluation
David G. Havard, David Hearnshaw, Clive R. Mackness, Alessandra Manenti, of spacer damper systems
Masataka Mito, Philippe Mouchard, Konstantin O. Papailiou, Tom J. Smart, Michel St-Louis,
David C. Sunkle, Wolfgang Troppauer, Michael J. Tunstall. Purchasers of spacer damper systems have
to write technical specifications that should
reflect the expected operating conditions.
These specifications should prescribe a given
marises the most common problems expe-
1. INTRODUCTION rienced with spacers damper systems as
performance level with regard to wind -
induced vibration and oscillation control. It
viewed by users. In addition, the results of
is quite easy to call for vibration levels
a questionnaire prepared by this group
under the given operating conditions to
The use of multiconductor bundles prompted reveal experiences with conductor damage.
remain below the endurance limit of the
the design of spacers, which are intended to conductor. However, it is not so easy to
maintain the geometry of the bundle. They prove that a given spacer damper system
rapidly evolved into spacer dampers to fulfils this requirement.
provide more adequate control of bundles
subjected to a range of environmental 2. CURRENT PRACTICE AND Computer methods exist to calculate the
aeolian vibration levels occurring in bundles,
conditions. A spacer damper system is FIELD EXPERIENCE but their validity is still questioned. TF1 of
generally defined as spacer dampers with WG11 is currently discussing and evaluating
specified in -span locations.. However, the available models and a higher level of
where rigid or articulated spacers are used, confidence should be gained in the future.
vibration dampers are also generally em- Despite these limitations, computer models
2.1 General considerations
ployed to complete the spacer damper may be helpful in evaluating spacer damper
system. Two previous papers [1, 2] pre- The difficulties encountered with spacer
systems on a comparative basis. On the
sented a general description of a conductor damper systems may take different forms
other hand, there is no proven method to
bundle system and some important technical and be attributable to different causes. This
predict subspan oscillations. Laboratory
aspects related to the design of spacers and section of the document describes some of
tests cannot reproduce the most important
spacer dampers. the most common problems.
parameter, which is action of the wind. Full
In this paper, the actual experience gained Firstly, it should be noted that many of the scale outdoor tests, although reflecting real
with current practice is reviewed. It sum- problems arising in service could have been life accurately, have practical limitations

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rising from high cost and long time delays. of conductor vibration and /or creep.
Vibration and oscillation measurements can Conductor fatigue at spacer clamps is less
be done on existing lines to evaluate common, since the bending stress levels are EXPERIENCE
spacer -conductor systems. Such informa- usually much lower at these points than at
tion can be used when purchasing spacer suspension points. However, a few major
systems for new lines, provided the line problems have been reported in the early
characteristics are sufficiently similar. eighties. On a long river crossing, a com- 3.1 Introduction
This problem, combined with the current bination of spacer dampers plus Stockbridge
A questionnaire entitled Survey on Damage
economic pressures makes it very difficult dampers set up near suspension points had
to Spacer and Spacer Dampers and /or
for the utility engineer to ensure that he been used. It appeared that vibration levels
Conductors in Bundled Conductor Lines,
installs the most appropriate system to at the suspension point were well controlled
(see annex B) prepared by SC22 -WG11 - TF5,
maintain the geometry and damping of his while there was severe in -span vibration
was circulated to the national members of
bundled line. activity that eventually led to strand fatigue
CIGR SC22 for distribution to utilities within
failures. A further analysis showed that use
their regions in 1999. To improve the
2.3 Problems with spacer of quite heavy spacer clamps had promoted
participation, some questionnaires were also
dampers in service the entrapment of vibrations within sub-
sent by other members selected for their
The problems observed with spacer damper spans.
technical implications in the subject under
systems can be related either to the design M e c h a n i c a l D am a g e study. A total of 66 replies were received
of the system or to the materials. t o S p a c e r D a mp e r from 19 countries: 12 from Europe, 2 from
Besides the damping mechanism, other North America, 2 from South America, and 1
2.3.1 Design Related Problems each from Asia, Africa and Australia. How-
components of spacer dampers may be
I n a d e q u a t e damaged in service. In some cases, severe ever, the Task Force regrets that the expe-
P e r f o r m a n c e wi t h arm -to -frame contact due to excessive rience of several countries operating long
r e g a r d t o oscillation has caused damage to either the EHV transmission lines (e.g. Russia, India,
V i b r a t i o n o r frame or the arms. China) could not be included in the results
O s c i l l a t i o n of the survey of field experience due to lack
Failure of spacer dampers due to mechani-
C o n t r o l of response.
cal overload has also been experienced.
Several conductor or spacer damper in Overloading may be induced by severe
service problems are caused by the spacer differential icing or ice shedding or by
3.2 General Information
damper systems inability to control vibra- dynamic stresses due to short -circuits. The information received has been used to
tions and oscillations adequately. Unfortu- analyse the behaviour of in -service spacers
nately, this aspect is the most difficult to 2.3.2 Material Related Problems and spacer dampers and to discuss the field
control and verify. experience reported to outline practical
C o r r o s i o n o f
F a t i g u e o f t h e c o n d u c t o r s u r fa c e experience that will be worth taking into
S p a c e r D a m p e r account for maintenance purposes or for the
Damage to conductors due to corrosion has
D a m p i n g construction of new lines. It is based on
been reported. It was associated with the
M e c h a n i s m the operating experience of 85 000 circuit
use of elastomer lined clamps operating
km of lines with voltages from 64 to 765 kV
Whenever vibration or oscillation levels are under adverse conditions. This effect ap-
and operated for 2 to 68 years. The aver-
not well controlled, damage to the damping peared to be promoted by the use of an
age service time of the lines is 23 years.
elements of the spacer damper may occur. inappropriate elastomer material having a
The study indicates that the average time to
Several instances have been reported in the low electrical resistivity.
the first failure is 10 years (see Figure A.2).
past. In the most severe cases, it has been
C o r r o s i o n o f The first failure however can actually occur
necessary to replace or refurbish spacer s p a c e r d a m p e r in the first year or as late as 30 years or
dampers on entire sections of lines. Usu- c o m p on e n t s more of operation, according to the operat-
ally, fatigue damage is a long - term process.
Spacer damper components are generally ing conditions.
However, experience has shown that un-
made of aluminium alloy. In contaminated The representativeness of the replies has
controlled oscillations may lead to spacer
damage within a few months. areas, some alloys may be subjected to been expressed in Figure A.3 (annex A),
corrosion. Such corrosion is usually super- where the circuit km of lines from the
D a m a g e t o
ficial and does not impair the spacer replies are compared on a logarithmic scale
C o n d u c t o r s
dampers function. There could be, however, with the total circuit km of lines above 220
The most critical damage related to spacer some cases where corrosion has a signifi- kV per continent for all utilities as found in
damper is certainly that affecting conduc- cant impact on spacer damper reliability. reference [3]. Except for Asia, where the
tors. Two types of damage have been number of replies was extremely low, the
reported: wear and fatigue. response for all the other continents repre-
Wear has certainly been the most common sents 2 to 24% of the total circuit km of
problem. This type of damage is usually lines.
related to clamp loosening. Frequently, wear Existing types of spacer appears to be well
has been so extensive that the conductor covered in the replies with 44% spacers
failed. Clamp loosening may be attributed dampers, 27% flexible spacers, 18% articu-
either to faulty installation or to the effect lated spacers and 11% rigid spacers.

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3.3 Reported Problems with twice as frequent on twin and quad bundles scope in representing a true reflection of
Spacer Systems than on triple. actual experience from around the world. In
V i b r a t i o n p r o bl e m s the case of this study, sufficient replies were
3.3.1 Most significant problems received to yield some useful information but
Vibration or oscillation is reported 12 times
Damage to conductors represents 30% of it is disappointing that some countries
as the cause of spacer problems. These
the problems reported. Problems with known to have significant experience did not
cases are almost equally divided between
spacer frames and spacer clamps each respond.
twin and quad bundles. No case was re-
account for 28%, whilst 14% of the problems ported on triple bundles. One obvious In general, the analysis of the data
are related to spacer articulation mecha- question is whether there is any relation supports much of what has been only
nisms. It should be noted that many of the anecdotal experience up until now so
between the vibration problems and the type
conductor problems occur as a consequence of spacer system used. Spacer dampers we may conclude that this has been a
of clamping system failures; therefore these and flexible spacers are involved in worthwhile exercise.
data should be viewed with this in mind.
5 vibration cases each although in this Perhaps surprisingly, the data did not
The distribution of various types of problems survey there are more reports about spacer show any correlation between either
in relation to the bundle type is shown in dampers (27) than flexible spacers (17). conductor spacing to diameter ratio
Figure A.15. (S/d) or maximum subspan length and
P r o b l e m s w i t h 3.3.2 Importance of spacer reported damage. Nevertheless,
c l a m p s : problems members of the Task Force are confi-
Considering that the questionnaire was dent that there is a relationship be-
The Bolted metal clamp is the most widely
asking specifically for information about tween these two parameters and dam-
used clamping system (49 respondents) and
problems with spacer systems, it is not age related to wake induced oscilla-
it is not surprising that most of the clamp
possible from these results to have a clear tion. The Task Force believes that
problems reported concerned this type of
picture of the real importance of those further investigation is indicated.
clamp. From the 39 problems reported,
conductor wear, conductor fatigue and problems. A mini -questionnaire (see annex Not unexpectedly, the responses indi-
clamp loosening are the most common. C) issued after the first one was intended to cated that twin bundle lines were the
However, 6 cases of complete conductor evaluate the relative importance of the lines most common (Figure A.21) but had
failure are reported. Bad installation, bad with problems with respect to the total the least incidence of problems
design and vibrations are identified as the transmission system. Unfortunately, only 11 whereas quad bundles were second in
main causes of those clamp problems. of the first respondents have returned the order of usage but had the highest
second questionnaire and it is not possible incidence of problems. Triple bundles
Elastomer lined clamps are used by
to make direct connection between the two were least used but were second in
5 respondents. Two cases of conductor
sets of replies. order of problems experienced, sug-
breakage and two cases of conductor wear
From the replies to the second question- gesting that there are properties
have been reported. Incorrect installation
naire, it appears that the percentages of unique to the triple configuration that
and corrosion have been identified as the
lines with problems are as follows: 4% for may render it more problem prone.
direct causes of the damage.
twin bundle lines, 11% for triple and 23% for Taken together, the use of flexible and
P r o b l e m s w i t h
quad. When asked for the importance of articulated spacers predominated with
s p a c e r
the problem on a qualitative scale, the spacer dampers being a close second
a r t i c u l a t i o n s
replies are as follows: and rigid spacers being by far the least
Many spacer dampers use elastomer as used. It is probable that this reflects
damping elements that is why most of the the predominance of twin bundles,
problems with articulations are associated IMPORTANCE No of replies
where it is somewhat less common to
with the elastomer elements. From the 27 No 1 use spacer dampers.
replies concerning spacer dampers, 19
Fair 1 Although the average time to
elastomer problems are reported. Insuffi-
Moderate 3 spacer/spacer damper failure is about
cient damping capacity, corrosion, bad
10 years, problems must have been
design, bad material and sub -conductor High 2
developing well before they became so
oscillations are some of the causes identi-
Very high 4 evident. The primary cause of failures
appears to be a combination of
P r o b l e m s w i t h unforeseeably high levels of conductor
f r a m e The number of spacers affected by problems
vibration and/or oscillation combined
varies widely. In some cases it is only a
The number or problems with spacer frames
few units that are defective. In other cases,
with design shortcomings in the spac-
is almost as significant as for clamps. ers and spacer dampers. Poor instal-
spacers had to be replaced on entire lines.
Deformation, wear, fatigue and cracks, in lation also has a part to play but it is
Replacement of conductors was also nec-
decreasing order of number of occurrence,
essary when wear or fatigue damage was
difficult to prove this so long after the
are the problems reported. Considering the event with any certainty. A further
too extensive.
number of replies received, frame problems factor must be the drive to achieve
seem to be more frequent on triple bundle 3.3.3 Discussion lowest first cost rather than view the
spacers. However, if the length of lines lifetime cost of a system. This may
The value of any questionnaire is dependent
represented for each bundle type is taken be due in part to the fact that construc-
on the number of replies received and their
into account, spacer frame problems are tion and maintenance budgets often

come under separate areas of respon- problem and can be designed for rela- [2] CIGR Study Committee 22, Working
sibility. tively easily. Group 11, Task Force 5, State of the
It is not surprising that the majority of The results of the survey indicate that art survey on spacers and spacer
problems occur at the clamp/conductor problems with spacers and spacer dampers: Part 2 Technical aspects,
interface where inadequate clamp dampers can be relatively minor but Electra No.xxx, 200x.
design or poor installation results in extreme cases are possible, resulting [3] ABS Energy and Power, The T&D Re-
clamp loosening and the inevitable in expensive and potentially disruptive port World markets for transmission
conductor damage, with complete damage to conductors and hardware and distribution equipment 2000 -
failure in extreme cases. Metal to alike. The spacer or spacer damper 2010, 2nd edition, Kilmichael House,
metal clamps are most commonly system can act in a sacrificial role, United Kingdom, June 1999, 189
involved but elastomer lined clamps needing replacement after a number of pages.
are not without their problems either. years but having protected the integrity
In the case of the latter, incorrect of the line in the meantime.
specification of the elastomer material,
which then causes corrosion, can play
a major role in the failure mechanism.
The scope for bad installation can be
reduced by the clamp design and the 4. CONCLUSION
incorporation of fail-safe features,
permitting post-installation ground
based inspection. Part 3 of this State of the Art Survey on
Conductor failures due to accumulated Spacers and Spacer Damper contains an
damage arising from vibration induced important contribution based both on the
bending stresses at in-span clamp experience of the experts composing the TF5
locations appear to be restricted to and the results of a survey of utilities
very specific conditions not normally experience.
found on the majority of lines. Never- That field experience, if used judiciously with
theless, valuable design lessons can the technical aspects and design charac-
be learnt in that heavy clamps accen- teristics presented in the two previous parts,
tuate vibration entrapment in subspans should enable the transmission line engineer
and should be avoided. to correctly evaluate different spacer damper
Spacer dampers are generally recom- systems for adequate protection of a line.
mended on a system basis, which It should also provide the utility manager
includes in-span locations according to with the appropriate background to under-
defined irregular subspan lengths. stand and evaluate the actual value of the
This is important in the control of sub- different systems presented and their re-
span oscillation but less so in the con- spective advantages for his application.
trol of aeolian vibration. The re- Manufacturers should also benefit from this
sponses highlighted a significant num- survey as they control the design of the
ber of spacer damper articulation fail- spacer damper systems and very often the
ures but what is not clear is whether utilities rely on their recommendations for
the cause was incorrect spacer their applications.
damper location, inadequate design or Future work could include an investigation of
a combination of both. The supple- the relationship between the important
mentary evidence of severe arm to design parameters of conductor spacing to
frame contact in some cases indicates diameter ratio and maximum subspan length
that excessive subspan oscillation has and damage related to wake induced oscil-
occurred and to this extent, the spacer lation.
damper system has failed in its pri-
mary purpose. In any event, prudence
would dictate that the articula-
tion/damping elements should be
specified and designed to have as high 5. REFERENCES
a level of mechanical and environ-
mental endurance as is practically and
economically possible since they are,
after all, the heart of the spacer [1] CIGR Study Committee 22, Working
damper. Group 11, Task Force 5, State of the
Whilst spacer failures due to mechani- art survey on spacers and spacer
cal overload have been experienced, dampers: Part 1 General description,
Electra No.xxx, August 2003.
this does not appear to be a major

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