SF6: The Perfect Gas for the Utilities Industry

Arc3 Gases is today acknowledged as a key supplier of dielectric gases – also identified as insulating gases – for the electrical utilities industry. Gases of this kind are employed primarily to either avert or rapidly tamp down electrical discharges, for which their dielectric attributes render them ideal. The most notable of these gases and the one most in demand from us is sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Utilities employ SF6 to electrically insulate high-voltage transformers, sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers, switchgear, and other similar sorts of equipment.

Where SF6 circuit breakers are involved, they’re pretty much singularly taking the place of oil-filled circuit breakers (OCBs), which, due to the fear of their being polluted with now-banned, environmentally unsafe polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), have fallen out of favor.

The predominant use of SF6 under pressure in gas-insulated switchgear is due to its manifesting a dielectric strength notably higher than air or dry nitrogen (the latter another gas used extensively by our utilities industry customers).

One very real “side benefit” of SF6’s high electronegativity and density is that it enables the utilities industry to reduce the size of electrical gear. This, in turn, permits locating such gear in more-governable indoor environments, rather than air-insulating it outdoors. Gas-insulated gear situated indoors is, of course, less subject to the damages done by climate and pollution. In addition, a controlled environment also promote greater system reliability and longevity.

If for any reason you’re unfamiliar with SF6 and would like to know more about its advantages in utilities industry application, contact Arc3 Gases, your PurityPlus® Partner, today.