SF6: The “Perfect” Gas for the Sioux Falls Utilities Industry


A-OX Welding Supply has emerged as a prime supplier of dielectric gases – also called insulating gases – for the Sioux Falls electrical utilities industry. Such gases are used routinely to either prevent or quickly tamp down electrical discharges, for which their dielectric characteristics make them ideal. The most notable of these gases and the one most sought from us is sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Utilities apply SF6 to electrically insulate high-voltage transformers, sulfur hexafluoride circuit breakers, switchgear, and other such devices.

Where SF6 circuit breakers are concerned, 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 dangerous polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are no longer favored.

The common use of SF6 under pressure in gas-insulated switchgear is due to its having a dielectric strength considerably higher than air or dry nitrogen (the latter another gas in wide use by our utilities industry customers).

One very real advantage of SF6’s high electronegativity and density is that it permits the utilities industry to shrink the size of electrical gear. This makes it possible to install such gear in more-tractable indoor environments, instead of air-insulating it outdoors. Gas-insulated hardware situated indoors is, of course, less subject to the damages done by climate and pollution. Besides that, a controlled environment also helps assure greater system trustworthiness and longevity.

If for some reason you haven’t yet been introduced to SF6 and would like to understand more about its benefits in utilities industry application, consult with A-OX Welding Supply, your Sioux Falls PurityPlus® Partner, today.