Electrical insulators are used to support electrical conductors and/or electrical devices to prevent the loss of electric charge or current therefrom. In the electric power transmission industry it is important to electrically isolate highvoltage conductors from each other and from electrical or earth ground. This isolation is assured through the use of an insulator. Generally, insulators are used to simultaneously insulate and mechanically maintain or support power transmission lines or naked wires of electric equipment, and include a plurality of bellows to achieve sufficient dielectric strength in order to increase the distance thereof per surface area. These bellows prevent the deterioration of the dielectric strength of the insulator. A typical insulator is constructed from a material which has a very high resistance to electric current so that the electric current does not substantially flow therethrough. Electrical insulators may be connected to and carried by power lines and/or supports in a variety of ways. For example, high voltage suspension insulators are used to suspend power transmission lines from overhead supports on poles and towers. Insulators of organic or inorganic materials such as ceramic, glass, plastic and resin are used for separating conductors so as to prevent undesired flow of current from the conductors to other objects. High-voltage insulators for overhead lines have long been produced from ceramic, electrically insulating materials such as porcelain or glass. High voltage insulators of ceramic materials are mainly used in outdoor switching stations and outdoor lines. They comprise an elongated insulation body which is equipped with shields for the formation of a leakage path which is matched, to the atmospheric conditions. The length of the insulator, and the number and diameter of the sheds, are chosen in dependence on the operating voltage of the insulator and on its operating environment, those parameters increasing the higher the operating voltage and the more severe the operating environment, in terms of pollution due to water, acids, and salts for example. To provide the necessary mechanical and electrical characteristics, porcelain insulators are typically quite heavy. Moreover, such porcelain insulators are expensive and brittle. As an alternative to ceramics, composite materials were developed for use in insulators for transmission systemss. Such composite insulators are also referred to as "non-ceramic insulators" (NCI) or polymer insulators, and usually employ insulator housings made of materials such as ethylene propylene rubber (EPR), polytetrofluoro ethylene (PTFE), silicone rubber, or other similar materials.
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