Charge generation in gas-insulated high-voltage direct current (HVDC) equipment has been investigated since surface charge accumulation was detected as the main challenge to insulation coordination. Over the years, researchers have made enormous progress using continuous ion current measurements or surface charging experiments with model spacers downscaled from gas-insulated components. Whereas the low sensitivity of the former method limits its measurement range, the latter method is time-consuming and demands comprehensive modeling. In this paper, more than 3,000 hours of surface charge measurements are presented, covering the full range of charge generation processes from ion currents owing to natural ionization to the inception of micro-discharges. In accordance with gas-insulated equipment, Al2O3-filled epoxy resin was used for the solids, and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) was used for the gaseous insulation. It has been demonstrated that the ion pair generation from natural ionization in the gas is significantly influenced by the surrounding solid materials, and therefore, scales with the insulation volume. From the onset of micro-discharges, sharp and locally limited charge patterns are formed, as surface conductivity does not appear to influence the investigated charge distributions. Whereas the primary charge dissipation from surface areas centered at the distribution could be explained in terms of the gas volume size, the discharge currents could not be reproduced with common ion-current models. At low electric fields, the observed charge decay indicates the presence of low-field conduction processes that cannot be explained by charge generation from natural ionization in the gas.
Erschienen in: IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, Februar 2018