Electrical Insulators and Their Types

Posted on July 8, 2020 Jerold Perkins Electronics

While electricity has provided for much of our systems and appliances that we rely on daily, electricity can be harmful to both components and individuals if unregulated and uncontrolled. To ensure that there is protection in place, electrical insulator materials may be implemented to avoid or prevent such dangers that electricity poses. There are many types of electrical insulators that are commonly used, and they enable the safeguarding of electronics and components of all types that rely on electricity.

In general, an electrical insulator is a material that impedes the free flow of electrons, or are those that have tightly bound electrons which have internal electric charges that cannot flow freely. As compared to a conductive or semiconductive material, insulators mitigate the amount of electric current that may flow through them when exposed to an electric field. Insulating materials are often constructed from a variety of electrical resistive materials, including those such as glass, PVC, ceramic, polymer, steatite, and more. There are many types of insulators, each classified based on their ratings. Across insulators, a few of the common types include strain, pin, post, and disc insulator types.

1. Strain Insulator
The strain insulator is a type that is engineered to function while under the pressure of mechanical tension. With its ability to cater towards the pull of a suspended electrical wire or cable, they are often used for overhead electrical wiring such as power lines and radio antennas. Strain insulators are typically constructed from glass, fiberglass, or porcelain that has been specifically shaped to be placed between two cables or a cable shoe. If the amount of voltage present in an application requires a great amount of insulation, a series of strain insulators may be placed in sets and connected to one another with special hardware.

2. Pin Insulator
The pin insulator is an apparatus that is used to isolate a wire from its physical support. Such insulators are often found on telegraph and utility poles, and they may be formed from a single layer shape constructed from porcelain or glass. Pin insulators are considered the earliest overhead insulator type, and they may still be found in many power networks in applications that are 33 kV or less. Unlike other overhead insulators, such as the strain insulator, the pin insulator is directly connected to the physical support rather than being suspended from a wire.

3. Post Insulator
The post insulator is commonly used for applications such as bus-bar supports within transformer substation yards, supports for breakers, and capacitor banks. Post insulators are smaller than pin insulators, and have replaced them on lines up to 69 kV. Insulators may withstand many forces that they are subjected to, including torsion, compression, and bending. Depending on their intended use, post insulators may be manufactured from ceramic or composite materials.

4. Disc Insulator
Disc insulators serve as a cost-efficient insulator type for medium to low polluted applications, engineered with high-grade raw materials such as rubber, plastic, mica, wood, and glass. The disc insulator features high resistivity properties, and has efficient mechanical strength for a conductor load. Disc insulators may be either suspension or strain type, and they are most often used for transmission and distribution lines.

When it comes time to begin sourcing the electrical insulators and other electronic components that you need for your operations, Aerospace Exchange has you covered with everything you are searching for. Aerospace Exchange is owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, and we can help you find the aviation, NSN, and electronic parts that you are searching for, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we're always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. ASAP Semiconductor is an FAA 0056B accredited and AS9120B ISO 9001:2015 certified enterprise. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@aerospaceexchange.com or call us at +1-714-705-4780.

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