|A coworker called and said he was having trouble with pole-mounted insulators on 15 KV distribution system in the gulf coast area. He suspects salt flavored humidity is coating the insulators, causing the voltage to “track” to ground on the surface of the insulators. The question he posed to me was, “Can infrared be used to detect tracking on these insulators?” My response was “nope” because the tracking isn’t conducting current until the voltage flashover. Also the tracking doesn’t have the thermal capacity to radiate heat. I then went on to explain that IR would be able to tell whether the insulator itself was about to fail…because I need to feel useful.
This seems more like an application for corona probes/cameras? I’d appreciate any insight. Does anyone have experience with using IR for this application?