Performance of all dielectric self-supporting fibre optic cable in high voltage environments.
Power utilities around the world are now in the practice of installing fiber optic cables on their high voltage transmission networks. These high-speed communication channels can, not only transmit data needed for utility operation, but the unused fiber capacity may also be rented to others for communication. All dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) fiber optic cable appears to be the fiber optic cable most frequently installed by power utilities as it is more economical, has a larger fiber capacity and may be installed on a transmission line without de-energization. When installed however, ADSS fiber optic cable does undergo some degree of degradation caused either by armor rod corona at the towers or dry-band arcing. A comprehensive literature survey regarding both phenomena is presented in this study, as well as current mitigation techniques. Different models that describe the process of dry-band arcing are discussed, including those where an equivalent circuit is used to represent a polluted fiber optic cable in a high voltage environment. An implementation of this model on a MATLAB® based computer program is used to evaluate parameters such as leakage current magnitude, which may be used to predict the possibility of dry-band arcing. This leakage current is also compared to simulated results that were generated using a power system analysis program called Alternate Transients Program (ATP). A finite element package, FEMLAB®, was used to model the experimental system, prior to construction. A single-phase transmission line with an accompanying fiber optic cable was constructed. The leakage current magnitude obtained from this experiment was subsequently compared to those obtained from the simulations. These leakage current comparisons are discussed and explained in view of limitations with the theoretical models and refinements in the experimental techniques employed. The results clearly indicate that physical parameters like pollution severity, system voltage, length of span and the point of attachment of the ADSS fiber optic cable in the tower play a significant role in the determination of leakage currents induced on the outer sheath of the cable. These induced currents result in the formation of 'dry bands', due to joule heating, and this could result in arcing activity that erodes the fiber optic cable.