Why do capacitor bushings have strange shapes?

In summary, the leads on giant capacitors have always looked mysterious and complicated to me. They almost look like RF cavities to me. The wavy shape (without sharp corners) is to maximize surface path length and minimize surface leakage, corona, and eventual arcing from exposure to year-round weather conditions, dust, air pollution etc. This looks more like a giant HV insulator. The wavy shape (without sharp corners) is to maximize surface path length and minimize surface leakage, corona, and eventual arcing from exposure to year-round weather conditions, dust, air pollution etc.
  • #1
DragonPetter
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The leads on giant capacitors have always looked mysterious and complicated to me. They almost look like RF cavities to me.

Why are the bushings the shape they are?

DIN_52NF1000.jpg
 
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  • #2
This looks more like a giant HV insulator. The wavy shape (without sharp corners) is to maximize surface path length and minimize surface leakage, corona, and eventual arcing from exposure to year-round weather conditions, dust, air pollution etc.
 
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  • #3
Bob S said:
This looks more like a giant HV insulator. The wavy shape (without sharp corners) is to maximize surface path length and minimize surface leakage, corona, and eventual arcing from exposure to year-round weather conditions, dust, air pollution etc.

Thanks, that makes sense. Is your remark "without sharp corners" there to minimize electric field from concentrating in one area?

Is the surface path maximization there to increase surface resistance?

Are these brushing the same things I see on power lines and at power stations some times?
 
  • #4
Are these brushing the same things I see on power lines and at power stations some times?
Basically it's a hollow insulator with the capacitive coupling device inside.

Observe it'll shed rain like a leaf. There will remain dry places on underside of the "rings" to maintain insulation.

Near the ocean they get salt buildup. On foggy mornings you can hear them "sizzle". Electric company has periodically to shut down such lines and wash the insulators, unless Mother Nature provides a cleansing rain..
 
  • #5
I use to be able to tell what a transmission line voltage is by the length of their insulators.

Pylon.detail.arp.750pix.jpg
 
  • #6
dlgoff said:
I use to be able to tell what a transmission line voltage is by the length of their insulators.

Pylon.detail.arp.750pix.jpg

I'm confused of what the purpose of that one in the picture is even for. Is it just to hang the conductors from the tower?
 
  • #7
DragonPetter said:
I'm confused of what the purpose of that one in the picture is even for. Is it just to hang the conductors from the tower?
Yes, hanging the conductors. I probably shouldn't have posted causing confusion.
 
  • #8
dlgoff said:
Yes, hanging the conductors. I probably shouldn't have posted causing confusion.

No, it helped :)
 
  • #9
The little 'dumbell' things hanging from wire adjacent insulator are interesting.

I once asked our relay folks about them. They're mechanical dampers to prevent the cables "singing" in the wind like guitar strings which fatigues them. They are tuned to line's expected mechanical frequency and i think 1/4 wavelength from insulator. They're a bundle of wires clamped loosely together so as to have friction .

Exactly analogous to a tuning stub on electrical transmission line. no pun intended.
 
  • #10
jim hardy said:
The little 'dumbell' things hanging from wire adjacent insulator are interesting.

I once asked our relay folks about them. They're mechanical dampers to prevent the cables "singing" in the wind like guitar strings which fatigues them. They are tuned to line's expected mechanical frequency and i think 1/4 wavelength from insulator. They're a bundle of wires clamped loosely together so as to have friction .

Exactly analogous to a tuning stub on electrical transmission line. no pun intended.

That's pretty cool. I always like finding out if something is just there for decoration or if it is some crazy function that I am ignorant to, which I'm always worried it is.
 
  • #11
jim hardy said:
The little 'dumbell' things hanging from wire adjacent insulator are interesting.

I once asked our relay folks about them. They're mechanical dampers to prevent the cables "singing" in the wind like guitar strings which fatigues them. They are tuned to line's expected mechanical frequency and i think 1/4 wavelength from insulator. They're a bundle of wires clamped loosely together so as to have friction .

Exactly analogous to a tuning stub on electrical transmission line. no pun intended.
Getting a little off topic, albeit we're talking HV, they are called Stockbridge dampers.

320px-Stockbridge_damper_POV.jpg
 
  • #12
They have those dampers on the vertical wires on some (old design) suspension bridges, too.
 
  • #13
That umbrella shape is used in HV lines, well for an umbrella!

If you put a continuous shape, when the rain falls on it, you get these little streams which create a path for current to "crawl" to(because you animate the ions in water, slowly, and all that good stuff), and you can get a short circuit like that!

So these cascades are used to break those streams, simple :)

I asked the same question my professor when I visited 110/10 transformer station. That was the answer :D

I call them HV mushrooms :)
 

Related to Why do capacitor bushings have strange shapes?

1. Why do capacitor bushings have strange shapes?

Capacitor bushings have strange shapes because they are designed to maximize the surface area of the capacitor plates, which increases the capacitance. This allows for more energy storage and better performance of the capacitor.

2. Do the strange shapes of capacitor bushings serve any specific purpose?

Yes, the strange shapes of capacitor bushings serve a specific purpose. They are designed to distribute the electric field evenly across the capacitor plates, reducing the risk of electrical breakdown and improving the overall efficiency of the capacitor.

3. Are there different types of strange shapes for capacitor bushings?

Yes, there are different types of strange shapes for capacitor bushings. Some common shapes include cylindrical, conical, and spherical. Each shape has its own advantages and is chosen based on the specific application and requirements of the capacitor.

4. Can the strange shapes of capacitor bushings affect the performance of a circuit?

Yes, the strange shapes of capacitor bushings can have a significant impact on the performance of a circuit. As mentioned earlier, these shapes are carefully designed to increase capacitance and distribute the electric field evenly, which can improve the efficiency and stability of a circuit.

5. Are there any disadvantages to using strange-shaped capacitor bushings?

While the strange shapes of capacitor bushings have several advantages, they can also have some disadvantages. These shapes may make the capacitor more expensive to manufacture and can also increase the overall size of the capacitor, which may not be desirable in certain applications.

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