SF6: The Perfect Gas for the Northern Illinois Utilities Industry


Weldstar Specialty Gases seen as a key producer of dielectric gases – also called insulating gases – for the Northern Illinois electrical utilities industry. These gases are employed routinely to either avert or rapidly put an end to electrical discharges, for which their dielectric characteristics render them perfect. The most notable of these gases and the one most sought from us is sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Utilities use SF6 to electrically insulate high-voltage transformers, sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers, switchgear, and other analogous types of equipment.

Where SF6 circuit breakers are involved, they’re pretty much replacing oil-filled circuit breakers (OCBs), which, due to the fear of their containing now-banned, environmentally toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are no longer preferred.

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

One major reward of SF6’s high electronegativity and density is that it lets the utilities industry reduce the size of electrical gear. This makes it possible to position such gear in more-governable indoor environments, rather than air-insulating it outdoors. Gas-insulated equipment located indoors is, of course, less likely to be affected by climate and pollution. Besides that, a controlled environment also promote greater system reliability and longevity.

If for any reason you haven’t yet been introduced to SF6 and would like to know more about its benefits in utilities industry application, speak with Weldstar Specialty Gases, your Northern Illinois PurityPlus® Partner, today.