Received 2 May 2002; Accepted 12 May 2002. Available online 19 October 2002.
The failure of the conductor of the 460 kV overhead transmission line located along the crossing of the Paraná River was investigated. As a result of this failure, a blackout took place in the southern states of Brazil in January of 2002, reaching approximately 67 million inhabitants. Investigation of the external aluminium layer of the ACSR conductor near the fracture showed typical static deformation marks and dynamic fretting wear tangential marks, both associated with the presence of Al2O3 debris. Additionally, encrusted silicon particles were observed on the external surface of the strands. The internal Al layer showed elliptical deformation marks also associated with Al2O3 debris. Both Al2O3 and Si particles are efficient abrasive material, which associated with slight relative motion of metallic surfaces (clamp/strand and strand/strand) can promote fretting wear. Two types of fracture surface of the Al strands were identified: 45° and quasi-normal surfaces, the former being the predominant type. Delamination and particle detachment were the mechanisms of superficial degradation observed on the Al strands, indicating that the rupture of the strands occurred under a gross slip fretting regime induced by sub-conductor oscillation. Inspection of the internal surface of as-cast Al–10%Si spacer clamps revealed different stages of intense circumferential wear caused by the preferential cracking and particle detachment of the eutectic constituent of the as-cast microstructure. This intense wear reduces the clamping contact pressure, which allows higher displacement amplitude and leads to the critical fretting regime. Finally, a few suggestions are discussed to minimise the occurrence of future failures.
Keywords: Failure analysis; Power lines; Fretting; Wear; Rupture