Substations, particularly electric substations are basically several electrical devices connected in one place. Many have magnetic properties or we could refer to them as ferrous metals which are particularly vulnerable to corrosion. When steel or iron-rich metals come into contact with the environment, they react in a way that degrades the metal.
The thing is, this can have a negative impact on electric equipment found in substations. The resulting degradation of substation components can lead to malfunctions and fires. It can also lead to other equipment failures. These failures can prevent conductors from transporting electricity from power plants.
Today, North American electric companies take steps to avoid corrosion and corrosion-related failures. There are also new standards in place to limit the amount of rust in transformer solutions.
How do they do it? Below are some preventive measures. Electrical power companies use them to prevent damage to substations.
A Maintenance Checklist That Works
Having a checklist of things to go through can help to increase the lifespan of any electrical asset. Consider going through this list to ensure you aren’t missing any important factors that could alter the functionality of your substation components.
Keep track of what assets are in the substation, their age, and condition, and create a custom maintenance schedule accordingly according to your setup and energy output.
Regular Visual Inspections
This can help identify issues early on before they become bigger problems.
Clean and Repair as Necessary
Address any corrosion or other damage as soon as possible. This will help to prevent it from spreading or causing more damage.
Use Appropriate Coatings/Paint
When painting or coating substrates, aim for protecting electrical assets against corrosion. We will provide you with substation coating options later in this article.
Monitor Environmental Conditions
Be aware of changes in temperature, humidity, and other conditions that could contribute to corrosion (e.g., salt air near the coast).
Substation Components: How to Protect Them
Electrical substations are critical infrastructure components, and the corrosion of their metal parts can cause long interruptions in service. Let’s take a look at how to protect these electrical assets.
This might be the cheapest method for corrosion prevention. A barrier coating is a thin layer of material that’s applied to the metal surface. This prevents oxygen and water from reaching the metal. The most common barrier coatings are paint, powder coating, and anodizing.
Anodizing is a type of barrier coating that is used on aluminum substrates. Anodizing is an electrolytic process in which the aluminum surface is oxidized to form a protective oxide film.
This method increases the corrosion resistance of aluminum. Think of it as a way to minimize corrosion caused by stray currents.
Passivation is the opposite being that it’s a non-electrolytic process. It works to remove the free iron from the surface of stainless steel, making it less susceptible to corrosion.
Passivation can be done chemically or electrochemically. For example, this method will often consist of the usage of citric or nitric acid. That’s often used instead of the actual electric current to do electropolishing.
Have a Plan for Component Protection
While there are various ways to protect substation components, what you use should depend on your environment, and what you have access to. You could use heat shrinking terminals, water-borne paint systems, or even powder coating. Using a checklist can make any method you decide to use more effective as well.
Consider what type of process would be most appropriate for your facility’s needs based on what each method entails. If you found this information interesting, check out more of our material to learn more.