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This silicone coating keeps electrical insulators safe

By Gerald Ondrey |

Wacker Chemie AG (Munich, Germany; www.wacker.com) has commercialized a solvent-free coating for electrical insulators. Powersil 570 Plus is said to be the world’s first insulator coating based on a patented silicone-in-water emulsion technology. Its viscosity displays a strong dependence on its shear rate, which makes it possible for spray applications. The one-component emulsion is applied by spraying and then it cures to form a water-repellent silicone coating. It adheres to ceramic and glass substrates, and passes the 1,000-h salt-fog test per IEC 62217. Porcelain and glass are commonly used to insulate overhead powerlines, but in coastal and industrial areas, salt deposits and dirt can impair the insulating properties, which can lead to electrical discharges or so-called pollution flashovers. To avoid such scenarios, insulators must be cleaned regularly. Silicone coatings maintain the electrical insulating properties, and their hydrophobicity prevents the formation of “wet pollution layers.” Thus, the typical flashover scenario — wet film layer with an increased leakage current, dry band arcing, bridging or individual insulator sheds and finally the electrical flashover — is impossible, says Wacker.
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