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ASTM Selected Technical Papers
Electrical Insulating Materials: International Issues
MM Hirschler
MM Hirschler
GBH International
Symposium Chairman and Editor
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ASTM International
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Historical Aspects: A long history of continued, active use is in itself a measure of success. Methods D 149 (1922), D 150 (1922), D 257 (1925) on electrical tests have been used extensively and even today are being periodically revised and updated. Much the same is true for D 115 (1941) varnish, D 202 (1924) paper and D 229 (1925) rigid sheet and plate plastics. D 495 (1938) dry tracking is generally now recognized as a technical failure, but a commercial success. This standard is still widely used and referenced! Standards D 69 (1920) friction tape, D 295 (1928) varnished cotton fabric and D 748 (1961) shellac, were once very important, are still needed, but today are seldom used.

Technical Concepts and Materials: In 1948 two technical papers, one by Ken Mathes on functional tests and another by Tom Dakin on thermal aging provided a basis for the adequate acceptance and use of the many new insulating materials that were becoming available. First, the Electrical Institute of Electrical Engineers, AIEE (now the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, IEEE), and then ASTM committee D09 followed with the much needed new approaches and standards—then and still outstanding successes. Tremendous growth in the use of plastics led to the formation of Technical Committee ASTM D20 from subcommittee status in D09. Committee D27 on Insulating Liquids and Gases also split away from D09. New elastomeric materials for cable led to their incorporation as Subcommittee 18 of D09 from their origins in ASTM D11 on rubber.

The subjects of treeing and surface failure (tracking) are extremely important, but today are still, to some extent, goals rather than completed accomplishments.

Instrumentation: The Electronic revolution has been successfully incorporated by D09 in many electrical, mechanical, and physical tests for insulating materials. Methods for very high resistance are an example. Organizational and Government Support: Public Utilities, the Electrical Industry, NIST (originally NBS), the US Navy, NEMA, NASA, and UL have periodically been responsible for outstanding accomplishments in D09. UL continues in the forefront especially in thermal aging. D09 participation in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is of particular importance. Publications: Symposia, Publications like STPs and Research Reports have often highlighted D09 activity and success.

Individuals: Success is possible only with the technical and organizational skills of dedicated individuals. Many ASTM awards have recognized such accomplishment.

Summary: This abstract can only touch on the foregoing aspects, which are described with more detail in the following paper.

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