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Corona in Power Engineering

When most people think of corona, they aren’t thinking about power engineering. What is known as corona discharge, which acts like a virus, is a process which adversely affects the quality of power transmission systems. The effect is caused by the ionization of air that surrounds high voltage (more than 132kV) transmission lines creating a power loss into the system. This discharge generates crackling or hissing sounds while producing a visible glowing light in the edges and corners of conductors and tower junction points.

The result of the corona discharge reduces the transmission lines proficiency, especially during rainy weather. Additionally, in heavily populated urban areas where dirt is present or the conductors are rough, it makes the lines more vulnerable to corona losses. While each individual loss is small, they can build-up over time creating much larger power losses in high voltage networks. In the same way that social distancing is the best precaution for the coronavirus, it is also effective for corona discharge by increasing the spacing between conductors reducing the loss of power.

Corona discharge can often be suppressed with improved insulation, the addition of smooth high voltage electrodes, and corona rings – a round conductive metal ring that is attached to a terminal or other irregular hardware piece of high equipment. Although corona discharge is intentionally used in specific industrial processes like ozone production and electrostatic printing, it is considered to be harmful since it is a hazard to nearby people and equipment due to toxic and corrosive ozone emissions.


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