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4 Factors that Affect Substation Paint

The US energy grid is aging, but in the past two decades, annual spending has increased by more than 60%. Much of this spending is replacing or expanding on aging technology, but a stable $10-$12 billion annually is also spent on maintenance. Part of that maintenance is substation painting.

There are several issues that affect the lifespan of that insulator coating that this special paint gives. There are four in particular that cause the most trouble for this essential part of substation safety.

Keep reading to see what these four factors are and what you should know about minimizing them.

  1. Thermal Cycling and Seasons

One of the most impactful factors to fading insulator coating after substation painting is thermal cycling. It isn’t only the change in climate due to seasons, such as freeze-thaw cycles. It’s also electrical loads that build up heat and resistance inside the substation equipment.

Temperature regulation is important for operation but equally for the protection of the substation flow coating. High voltage substations must have this insulator coating. Yet sadly all too often the signs of flaking from expanding and contracting metals undergoing thermal cycling get the better of it.

Unfortunately, when it comes to weather and load cycling, the most you can do is keep your eye peeled for areas that need repainting.

  1. Dust, Sand, and Hail

Sandy and dusty areas are areas of high abrasion as soon as the wind kicks up. Coating tests developed by NREL show how abrasion can affect components of power generation. While PV cells can’t be painted, many of the components they attach to can.

Substations need protection from corrosion, too, as well as galvanic effects. As dust and sand abrade your components, they become subject to rust and unwanted electrical energizing.

Hail can work in unison with chipping from corrosion or thermal cycling to dent and damage your coating.

  1. Pollution Corrosion

Flow coating radiators and other substation equipment is the only way to protect against pollution corrosion such as acid rain and salt air.

When precipitation becomes acidic, whether snow or rain, it will break down your transformer, as well as your paint. Over time you’ll need more frequent substation repainting services.

Heavy pollution in an area will break down the integrity of the paint, even if acid rain doesn’t. If the substation is in an industrial zone, you’re guaranteed to have wear and corrosion coming soon to a transformer.

  1. Light Damage

UV damage is one of the strongest factors that degrade paints and polymers. In constant sunlight, you get hit by thermal increases on the infrared spectrum, and the high-energy destruction of UV.

If you’re noticing a chalkiness it could be due to pollution or UV. That chalkiness means that the paint is no longer protective since the coating then has a higher porosity.

High-Voltage Electrical Substation Flow Coating With Insulator Coating

These four factors tend to be the most damage dealing of all the factors involved. Whatever it is that caused the damage, it’s good to know what to look out for next time and let your substation painter inspect it. Getting on a good maintenance schedule of repainting will help extend the lifetime of your transformers and substation equipment.

Need to know more about how the US energy grid works, or how to keep it maintained? Keep browsing our articles to find out all you need to know!

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