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v The overhead line conductors are bare without any

insulating covering over them. While the metal structure in
the form of towers is used to support such live conductors.

v To avoid the flow of current to the earth from live

conductors through supports, there must be a safe
clearance between live conductors and the supports. Thus
the live conductors must be perfectly insulated from the
supports. Hence the insulators are used between live
conductors and the supports.

v The main function of the insulators is to provide perfect

insulation between the live conductors and the supports and
to prevent any leakage current from the live conductors to
earth through the supports.

Properties of Insulators:

v To provide necessary insulation, the insulators must have

the following properties:
1. The insulators along with providing the insulation also
provide support to the conductors. Hence to withstand
the conductor load aiongwith wind pressure etc, the
insulators must be mechanically very strong.

2. The main function of the insulators is to resist any

leakage current. Thus the insulators must have very high
insulation resistance.

3. The insulators must be free from internal impurities

such as holes, cracks, laminations etc. This reduces the
permittivity of the insulators.
4. The dielectric strength of the insulators must be very

5. To have high dielectric strength, the relative

permittivity of the insulating material should be very

6. The insulating material should be nonporous.

7. The insulators should not be affected by the changes

in the temperature.


v The commonly used insulating materials, satisfying the

above mentioned properties are,
1. Porcelain
2. Glass
3. Synthetic resin

1. Porcelain:

v This is the most commonly used material for the

insulators. It is a ceramic material. It is manufactured from
the china clay.

v The plastic clay is mixed with silicon am

feldspar. The fine powdered mixture of clay, silicon and
feldspar is processed in the mills. It is heated at the
controlled temperature. It has been given a particular shape
and it is covered with glaze.

v The cast iron with galvanizing is

used for the metal part inside the insulators.

v The porcelain is free from cracks, holes, laminations etc. Its

insulation resistance very high. Porcelain is heated at the
temperatures such that the insulators become mechanically
strong and it also remains nonporous.

v The rough surface catches the moisture very quickly. Hence

it is important to provide glazed surface to the insulators so
that it remains clean from dust and moisture.
v The dielectric strength of the porcelain insulator is about 60

2. Glass

v The glass also can be used instead of porcelain. The glass is

made tough by h treatment which is called annealing.

v The glass insulators have following advantages:

1. As transparent, cracks, bubbles and defects in the insulator

can be easily detected by inspection.
2. The dielectric strength is very high.
3. Low coefficient of thermal expansion hence less affected by
the temperature changes.
4. Cheaper than the porcelain.
5. The resistivity is very high.
6. Simple design is possible.
7. Higher compressive strength than the porcelain.
8. Quite homogenous and withstand high compression stresses
as compared to porcelain.

v Still the glass insulators have the following disadvantages:

1. Chances of moisture condensation on the surface are higher

this can be higher leakage current.
2. Less stronger than the porcelain.
3. In high tension systems, the heavy mass of insulator can
cause internal strain.
3. Cannot be moulded in irregular shapes.

4. Synthetic Resin:

v The synthetic resin insulators are manufactured from the

compounds of silicon, rubber, resin etc.

v These insulators have the following advantages:

1. The tensile strength is high.

2. The weight is low.
3. Comparatively cheaper.
v But high leakage current and short lives are the main
limitations of these insulators.

v The indoor applications and bushings are the application

areas of the synthetic resin insulators.

Types of Insulators:

v The use of proper insulator is an important part of the

mechanical design of the overload lines.

v The various types of the insulators are:

1. Pin type insulators
2. Suspension type insulators
3. Strain insulators
4. Shackle insulators
5. Stay insulators

1. Pin Type Insulators:

v A typical pin type insulator is shown in the figure above.

v For lower voltages up to 11 kV generally one piece pin

type insulator is used.

v But for higher working voltages like 33 kV, 45 kV, 66 kV

and beyond it two piece, three piece, four piece pin type
insulators can be used.
v But its use is restricted up to 33 kV as for higher voltages,
the pin insulators are uneconomical.

v The pin insulators become very bulky for higher voltages.

v On the upper end, there is a groove for housing the

conductor. The pin Insulators are very firmly secured to the
cross arm on the transmission pole with the help of steel
v To avoid the direct contact of hard metal with porcelain,
the lead screws are used.

v The porcelain insulator has cement treads which ate lined

with a soft material like lead. The pin is screwed into such
cement screw.

2. Suspension Type Insulators:

v As the voltage level increases, pin type insulators become

very bulky and their cost also increases rapidly. Hence
the most popular insulators used for very high voltage
transmission lines are suspension type insulators.

v These insulators have number of porcelain disc units.

These units are connected to one another in series with the
help of metal links. This forms a string of porcelain discs.

v The top most insulator unit is connected to the cross arm

of the tower while the lowest insulator is made to hold the
conductor along the conductor shoe.

v Each unit is designed for the low voltage for say 11 kV but
a string of such units gives us the proper insulation
against very high voltage levels.

v The important types of suspension type insulators are:

1. Cemented cap type
2. Hewlett or inter-linking type
1. Cemented cap type insulator:

v The cemented cap type is the most commonly used

suspension type insulator.

(FIG) Cemented type Insulator

v It consists of single disc shaped piece of porcelain. At the

bottom, it is grooved so as to increase the flash over

v A galvanized cast iron cap is cemented at the top. The

space is provided in the cap, which can be used to hold the
pin of another unit.

v The cap is cemented to the insulator. And the pin is either

Cemented or connected by means of steel wire spring

v The main drawback of this type is that the cubical

expansions of three materials iron, porcelain and cement
are different from each other and due to this fine cracks in
the insulator and early failure is possible.

2. Hewlett or inter-linking type insulator:

v The Hewlett type insulator is simpler in design.

v It consists of a porcelain disc. The top portion of the disc
consists of two curved tunnels, the planes of which are at
right angles to each other.

v Lead covered steel U links are passed through the tunnels.

These links are bolted to the two similar units at the top
and bottom.

v No cementing is required in this type of insulator. The

mechanical strength of this type is also very high due to
the use of steel links.

v Another advantage of this type is that even if porcelain

breaks due to the links, the units are held together and
there is no interruption in the working.

v But the main disadvantage of this type is that the porcelain

in between is under high electrostatic stress and hence
there is possibility of puncture earlier than the cemented
cap type.

v Hence cemented cap type is more preferred than Hewlett


Advantages of Suspension Type Insulators:

v The various advantages of the suspension type insulators


1. For higher voltages, these are cheaper than the pin


2. Each unit is designed for low voltage level such as 11 kV

but by connecting such units in series to form a string,
insulator for any higher voltage level can be designed.

3. In case of failure of any of the units, the replacement

work can be done very easily and entire string need not
be replaced.
4. If the line voltage is required to be increased at some
later stage to satisfy increased load demand then just
by adding additional units to the string, same insulator
can be used. Adding such units is very easy.

5. This type of insulator provides greater flexibility to the

line. The string is suspended and is free to swing in any
direction. So it takes the position so that mechanical
stresses on the line are minimum.

Strain Insulators:

v These insulators are used when there is dead end of the

line or corner or line is at a sharp curve or the line is
crossing the river etc.

v These insulators reduce the excessive tension on the

line under such abnormal conditions.

v For low voltage lines below 11 kV shackle insulators are

used but for higher voltages strain insulators are used.

v Assembly of the suspension insulators is used as a

strain insulator. The discs of the strain insulators are in
a vertical plane instead of the horizontal plane as in the
suspension insulators.

v In case of conditions like crossing of the river, there is

excessive tension on the line. In such a case, two or
more strings of the insulators are used in parallel.
(FIG)Use of strain insulator

Shackle Insulator:

v These are also called spool insulators. These are primarily used
for low voltage distribution lines.

v These insulators can be used in horizontal position or in vertical


v These are used at the dead end of the aerial wire of service
connection to a house or a factory where there is excessive
mechanical stress on the line.
v The figure shows the shackle type insulator.

v The insulator is round. It has through hole in the centre for

the bolting purpose.

v On each side of the insulator, there is galvanised iron plate of

25 mm wide. The other end of plates are placed around the
cross arm of the channel or pole.

v The conductor is in the groove and it is secured with the help

of soft binding wires.

v Similar to the strain insulators, these insulators are effective

when there is dead distribution line changes its angle.

Stay Insulators:

v The stay insulators are also called egg insulators. In case of

low voltage lines, it is necessary that the stays are to be
insulated at a height of not less than 3 meters from ground.

v The stay insulators are used on stay wire to create insulation

between poles and stay clamp. It is usually made of

v It has two holes for the stay wires and the design is such that
in case the insulator breaks then the stay wire will not fall on
the ground.
String Efficiency:

v The string efficiency is defined as the ratio of total voltage

across the string to the product of number of units and the
voltage across the unit adjacent to the line conductor.

Methods of Increasing String Efficiency:

v The higher the value of the string, efficiency, and more

uniform is the potential distribution over a string of
suspension insulators.

v The line unit is always under the maximum electrical stress.

v To avoid possibility of puncture of line unit due to excessive

stress, efforts are made to have uniform potential

v Hence some methods are used in practice to get higher

string efficiency. These methods are:
1. Reducing ratio of shunt capacitance to self capacitance
2. By grading the insulators
3. Use of guard ring to provide static shielding
Reducing Ratio of Shunt Capacitance to Self Capacitance:

v The voltage across the line unit depends on the value of k which
is the ratio of shunt capacitance to self capacitance. The string
efficiency is dependent on the voltage across the line unit.

v Lesser the value of k, higher is the string efficiency and more

uniform is the potential distribution.

v The voltages across the various units of string are almost equal
for very low values of k.

v But this method has practical limitations such as:

1. Use of long cross-arm increases the cost.

2. Due to long cross-arm overall strength of the tower reduces.

v Hence in practice, the minimum value k which can be achieved

by this method is 0.1. And due to these limitations, this method
is rarely used in practice.

Grading the Insulators:

v By correct grading of the insulators, more uniform voltage

distribution across the string can he achieved.
v In the method of grading, the insulators are so selected that the
self capacitances i.e. mutual capacitance of the various units are
different and the values of mutual capacitances decrease from
line unit towards top unit.

v So top unit has minimum mutual capacitance while the line unit
has maximum mutual capacitance.

v The voltage for the given current across the capacitance is

inversely proportional to the capacitance. So more the
capacitance, lesser is the voltage across the capacitance.

v Thus keeping line unit capacitance to be maximum, current

through it is minimum.

Use of Guard Ring:

v In this method a large metal ring surrounding the line unit and
connected to the metal part of the bottom of the line unit is
used. Such a ring is called “ guard ring” .

v The guard ring is shown in the figure. This is also called static
shielding of the string.


v The transmission and distribution of an electrical power can be

with the help of overhead transmission lines or by underground

v In thickly populated areas like towns and cities, the use of

overhead lines is not practicable. In such cases electrical energy
is transmitted and distributed with the help of underground

v In its basic form, an underground cable IS a conductor provided

with proper insulation.

v As the voltage level increases, the cost of the insulation

increases rapidly and thus the use of underground cables is
restricted to low and medium voltage distribution.

Comparison of Underground Cables and Overhead Lines:

Compared to overhead lines, the underground cables have the
following advantages:

1. It ensures non-interrupted continuity of supply. The possible

supply interruptions due to lighting, storms and other weather
conditions are eliminated because of underground cables.
2. It requires less maintenance.

3. The accidents caused due to breakage of overhead line

conductors are eliminated due to use of underground cables.

4. The voltage drop in the underground cables is less.

5. The life of underground cables is long compared to overhead


6. The beauty of cities and towns get maintained due to

underground network of cables.

7. The overhead lines use hare conductors which is unsafe in thickly

populated areas. Hence from safety point of view, the underground
cables are more advantageous.

v The only drawbacks of the underground cables are the

extremely high initial cost and insulation problems at high

v In India, the big cities have adopted the system of

underground cables for the transmission and distribution.

v Thus the use of underground cables is mainly for the

distribution of an electrical power at low and medium voltages.
v Its use is almost compulsory at the locations where use of
overhead lines is not practicable due to the safety reasons such
as congested urban areas, crossing of wide roads, near gas
plants and refineries, near substations etc.

v Still the overhead lines also have some advantages compared

to the underground cables which are,
1. Long distance transmission is possible by the overhead lines.

2. The conductor in overhead lines is less expensive.

3. The size of the conductor in overhead lines is less than

underground cables due to good heat dissipation in overhead
4. The insulation cost is very less as the air itself acts as an
insulation between the conductors.

The gas or oil is not required for overhead lines. For high voltage
levels, spacing in air can be easily adjusted in case of overhead
lines to obtain proper insulation.

5. The erection cost is much less for the overhead lines. The
underground cable laying is difficult and complicated.

Requirements of the Cables:

v An underground cable can be defined as the group of

individually insulated one or more conductors which are put
together and finally provided with number of layers of
insulation to give proper mechanical support.

v The basic necessary requirements of the cables are:

1. The size of the conductor used must be such that it should

carry the specified load without overheating and keeping the
voltage drop well within the permissible limits.

2. At the voltage level for which cables are designed, the

insulation thickness must be proper so as to provide high
degree of safety and the reliability.
3. The cables must be surrounded by number of layers of an
additional insulation so as to give proper mechanical strength
and protection. Thus the cables can withstand the rough use at
the time of laying them.

4. The materials used in the manufacturing of cables must be such

that there is complete chemical and physical stability
General Construction of a Cable:

The figure shows the general construction of a cable. The cable

shown is single conductor underground cable.

Its various parts are,

1. Conductor or core:
v This section consists of single conductor or more than one
conductor. The conductors are also called cores.

v A cable with three conductors is called three core cables.

The conductors used are aluminium or annealed copper.

v The conductors are stranded conductors in order to provide

flexibility to the cable.

2. Insulation:
v Each conductor or core is covered by insulation of proper

v The commonly used insulating materials are varnished

cambric, vulcanized bitumen and impregnated paper.

3. Metallic sheath:
v The insulated conductors are covered by lead sheath or
aluminium sheath.
v This provides the mechanical protection but mainly restricts
moisture and other gases to reach to the insulation.

4. Bedding:
v The metallic sheath is covered by another layer called

v The bedding consists of paper tape compounded with a

fibrous material like jute strands or hessian tape.

v The purpose of bedding is to protect the metallic sheath

from corrosion and from mechanical injury resulting due to

5. Armouring:
v This layer consists of the layers of galvanized steel wires
which provide protection to the cable from the mechanical

Types of Cables:

v The type of a cable is basically decided based on the

voltage level for which it is manufactured and the material
used for the insulation such as paper, cotton, rubber etc.

The classification of cables according to the voltage levels is:

1. Low tension cables (L.T. cables):

v These are used for the voltage levels up to 6.6kV.

v The electrostatic stresses in L.T. cables are not severe

hence no special construction is used for L.T. cables.

v The paper is used as an insulation in these cables:

Sometimes resin is also used which increases the viscosity and
helps to prevent drainage.
v Many a times, L.T. cables are not provided with armouring, to
avoid excessive sheath losses.

v The simple construction and the availability of more copper

section are the advantages of L.T. single core cable.

2. Medium and high tension cables (H.T. cables):

v The three phase medium and H.T. cables are three core

v For voltages up to 66 kV, the three core cables i.e. multicore

cables are used. These cables are classified as:

a. H.T. cables up to 11 kV levels which are belted type.

b. Super tension (S.T.) cables for 22 kV and 33 kV levels which

are screened cables.

c. Extra high tension (E.H.T.) cables for voltage levels from 33 kV

to 66 kV which are pressure cables.
Belted Cables:

Screened Type Cables:

These cables are used for the voltage levels of 22 kV and 33 kV.
The two types of screened cables are
1. H type cables and
2. S.L. type cables.

H-type cable:
S.L. Cables:

The various advantages of S.L. type cable are:

1. Due to individual lead sheath, core to core fault possibility

gets minimised.

2. The electrical stresses are radial in nature.

3. Due to absence of overall lead sheath, bending of cable is


4. The dielectric which gets subjected to electric stresses is

paper which is homogeneous hence there is no possibility of
formation of voids.

5. Metal sheath increases the heat dissipation which increases the

current carrying capacity.

Super Tension (S.T.) Cables:

v In solid type cables separate arrangement for avoiding void

formation and creasing dielectric strength is not provided.

v Hence those cables are used maximum up to 66 kV level. The

S.T. cables are intended for 132 kV to 275 kV voltage levels.

v In such cables, the following methods are specially used to

eliminate the possibility of void formation

v 1. Instead of solid type insulation, low viscosity oils under

pressure is used for impregnation.
v The channels are used for oil circulation and oil is always kept
under pressure. The pressure eliminates completely, the
formation of voids.

v 2. Using inert gas at high pressure in between the lead sheath

and dielectric.

v Such cables using oil or gas under pressure are called pressure
cables and are of two types,
v a. Oil filled cables b. Gas pressure cables

Oil Filled Cables:

(FIG) Conductor channel single core oil filled cable

(FIG) Sheath channel single core oil filled cable

(FIG) Oil filled three core cable

The various advantages of oil filled cables are:

1. The thickness of insulation required is less hence smaller in size and


2. The thermal resistance is less hence current carrying capacity is


3. The possibility of voids is completely eliminated.

4. The allowable temperature range is more than solid type cables.

5. Reduced possibility of earth fault. This is because in case of any

defect in lead sheath, oil leakage starts, which can be noticed before
earth fault occurs.

6. Perfect impregnation is possible.


The disadvantages of oil filled cables are:

1. The initial cost is very high.

2. The long lengths are not possible.

3. The oil leakage is serious problem hence automatic signalling

equipment is necessary.
4. The laying of cable is difficult and must be done very carefully.

5. Maintenance of the cables is also complicated.

Capacitance of a Single Core Cable:

A single core cable is equivalent to two long co-axial cylinders. The

inner cylinder is the conductor itself while the outer cylinder is the lead
sheath. The lead sheath is always at earth potential.

Let d = conductor diameter

D = total diameter with sheath

According to Gauss’ s theorem, the lines of flux emanating due to

charge Q on the conductor are in radial direction and total flux lines
are equal to the total charge possessed i.e. Q lines. As lines ate in
radial direction, the cross-sectional area through which lines pass is
surface area. For a cylinder with radius x, the surface area (2 xx
axial length) m As axial length considered is 1m, the surface area is
2 m.
Heating of Cables:

v Under working conditions, the temperature of the cables

increases due to the following factors:
1. The heat produced within the cables.
2. The dissipation of heat up to the periphery of the cables.
3. The heat dissipation to the surrounding medium.
4. The current carried by the cables.
5. The various load conditions like continuous, distributed,
intermittent etc.

v These losses are practically very small and hence generally


v Thus core loss, dielectric loss and sheath loss together constitute
to the heating of the cables.

Thermal Characteristics of Cable:

Thermal Resistance of Single Core Cable:

Academic Year: 2005-2006 Subject code: EE335



1. Define string efficiency

2. Write the formula for the insulation resistance of the single core
3. What is grading of a cable?
4. Name the methods to improve string efficiency.
5. What are the different types of insulators?
6. Define thermal resistance of a cable.
7. Specify the purpose of insulators.
8. Mention the types of cables used for 3-phase service.
9. What are the different insulator materials used?
10. What is a shadable insulator?


11. Discuss about the capacitance of three core cable.

12. Draw the schematic diagram of a pin type insulator and explain its

13. Give the properties of a good insulator and explain about the strain
and stay insulators.

14. Explain the constructional feature of LT and HT cables.

15. Derive the expression for insulator resistance, capacitance and

electric stress in a single core cable. Where is the stress maximum
and minimum?