A power transmission tower is a structure that plays an important role in bulk energy transfer systems. The basic role of this structure is to safely and effectively accommodate transmission lines. Such a structure, which is generally made of a metal such as galvanized steel, may also be referred to as a pylon.
Power can be transported overhead or underground. Overhead transport is generally considered the better option because maintenance and repair is easier and the costs are lower. Overhead transport can usually be identified when electrical wires are seen running between tall metal structures.
These wires are known as transmission lines, or conductors. The metal structures which keep the transmission lines off the ground are power transmission towers. These structures help facilitate the transportation of energy from the generating source to the substations where power is distributed.
Every power transmission tower is not built the same. They can vary in design and height. The variances are often affected by factors such as weather conditions and conductor type. A power transmission tower must be able to withstand the loads of the environment it is placed in. It must also be able to effectively keep the transmission lines separated.
If a person observes closely, he may notice that power transmission towers often have different lattice work. This refers to the design of the spaces which the transmission wires run through. If conductors are allowed to touch, or even get too close to one another, faults can occur. For this reason different lattice work is often necessary.
A closer observation should also reveal that transmission wires never come into direct contact with the power transmission tower. If the conductors are allowed to come into contact with this metal structure, electricity could use the structure as a vehicle to travel to the ground, causing a dangerous situation. For this reason, power transmission towers must be equipped with insulators that prevent this type of contact.
The type of conductor is one of the factors that affects the load because some conductors are heavy. Copper wire, for example, is a good conductor, but it is much heavier than aluminum wire, which can also be very efficient. If aluminum conductors are used instead of copper, it is likely that fewer power transmission towers will need to be erected, thereby resulting in savings.
Power transmission towers are not suitable under all circumstances. These structures require land upon which they can be placed. In densely populated areas, this may not be available, thereby making the use of such structures unfeasible. Power transmission towers can also decrease property value. In instances where there are plans to develop land in the future or when land is historically preserved, erection of such structures may be prohibited.