Research May Curb Economic Losses To Power Plants After Earthquakes


Texas A&M researchers have shown that electrical transformer bushing systems reinforced with steel are more resistant to damage.

Sitting atop power transformers are bushing systems that play a critical role in supplying communities with electricity. However, these objects are also susceptible to breaking during earthquakes. Once damaged, bushings can cause widespread outages and burden a state with expensive repairs.

In a recent study, Texas A&M University researchers have shown that during high seismic activity, the structural integrity of bushing systems can be better maintained by reinforcing their bases with steel stiffeners. Also, by using probability-based loss assessment studies, they found that the economic burden due to damage to bushing systems from earthquakes is up to 10 times lower for steel-reinforced transformer bushing systems compared to other bushing configurations.

“Transformer bushing systems are vital to electrical substation networks, and these components are especially vulnerable in high-seismic regions, like in California or parts of the northeast,” said Maria Koliou, assistant professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “We have conducted a full risk and loss assessment of the impact of damaged bushings in terms of cost and time to recovery for electrical power networks.”

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