Our wide range of research interests predominantly involve experimentation supported by theoretical modelling and simulation studies. The short summary below includes links to more details and specific projects.
The operating condition and health of transmission and distribution assets is of great importance to ensure both security and quality of supply. Our interests span a range of high and medium voltage plant with particular emphasis on the detection, location and quantification of partial discharge activity.
Research in environmental modelling is concerned with the development of models to ensure that under normal operating conditions, plant within transmission and distribution networks do not experience situations that cause degradation of performance or failure. Although standard methods for rating plant exist, our work is concerned with either improving the quality of parameter estimation for these models or using other modelling techniques to investigate situations where standard approaches do not hold.
HTS power apparatus offers advantages in terms of greatly increased power density and improved efficiency when compared to conventional high voltage plant. There are also significant research engineering challenges that require satisfactory solutions before HTS power plant can be widely used.
The use of liquids to act as both an electrical insulator and thermal conductor within high voltage plant is established technology but of considerable research interest. We have a range of analytical equipment that allow the electrical, thermal, mechanical, chemical and optical characteristics of liquid dielectrics to be determined.
The Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory and the National Oceanography Centre Southampton are further developing their links to tackle a number of interdisciplinary issues in the area of subsea power transmission.
Plasma, which is often referred to as the 4th state of matter, is ubiquitous in nature and plays an important role in electrical breakdown in gases and vacuum. Our interests are primarily in low temperature plasmas with a focus on their application to space propulsion, electrical breakdown and energy. Our activities cover both modelling and experimental research and collaboration with the European Space Agency(ESA) and QinetiQ on ESA flight projects.
The development of new solid insulation materials is of global interest because we now have the capability to 'design' a dielectric to have specific properties. It is also important that widely applied insulation materials have minimal environmental impact and are re-useable or recycleable. The Laboratory has an established international reputation for its work in this area.
The presence of charge in the bulk and/or on the surface of a dielectric material will effect its behaviour. Experiments for temporal and spatial measurement of dynamic charge provide fundamental tools not only for developing understanding of how dielectric materials behave but also providing insight into the effects of ageing and local environment on electrical insulation systems.