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The Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory

Liquid Dielectrics

Liquid dielectrics

Liquid dielectrics are routinely used as electrical insulators in cables and transformers.  Under service conditions the insulating dielectrics see high temperatures and electrical fields and over time this causes degradation of their insulating properties.  The diagnosis of the condition of such dielectrics is important as it provides information on remaining useful lifetime and equipment status.  Factors influencing aging include water uptake, chemical environment, operating temperature and exposure to high electrical fields.  We can undertake:

Ongoing projects include thermal and electrical aging studies of cable oils and/or composite insulation systems, which contain oils, in collaboration with National Grid Plc.  Of growing interest is the use of cryogenic liquid dielectrics for use in superconducting power apparatus and we have developed a unique range of experiments in order to study the behaviuor of liquid nitrogen under both thermal and electrical stress.  Current work is concerned with boiling behaviour of LN2 and studying phenomena such as the development of density change streamers and associated partial discharge activity.


  • Computational modelling of the process of electrical breakdown in a dielectric fluid
  • Insulation for high voltage dc power transformer
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