Surface pollution deposition in a high voltage surface can reduce the surface flashover voltage, which is considered to be a serious accident in the transmission of electric power for the high conductivity of pollution in wet weather, such as rain or fog. Accordingly, a rapid and accurate online pollution detection method is of great importance for monitoring the safe status of transmission lines. Usually, to detect the equivalent salt deposit density (ESDD) and non-soluble deposit density (NSDD), the pollution should be collected when power cut off and bring back to lab, time-consuming, low accuracy and unable to meet the online detection. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) shows the highest potential for achieving online pollution detection, but its application in high voltage electrical engineering has only just begun to be examined. In this study, a LIBS method for quantitatively detecting the compositions of pollutions on the insulators was investigated, and the spectral characteristics of a natural pollution sample were examined. The energy spectra and LIBS analysis results were compared. LIBS was shown to detect pollution elements that were not detected by conventional energy spectroscopy and had an improved capacity to determine pollution composition. Furthermore, the effects of parameters, such as laser energy intensity and delay time, were investigated for artificial pollutions. Increasing the laser energy intensity and selecting a suitable delay time could enhance the precision and relative spectral intensities of the elements. Additionally, reducing the particle size and increasing the density achieved the same results.
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