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The Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory

Space And Surface Charge

500fps surface discharge

Techniques available for the measurement of space charge within the laboratory include Pulsed Electroacoustic (PEA) measurements and Laser Induced Pressure Pulse (LIPP) measurements.  The majority of our research is concerned with polymeric insulating materials used for power transmission cables, in both planar and cable geometries, under either DC or AC electric stress.Typical applications of space charge measurements include:

Apart from insulating materials, trapped charge within piezoelectric materials and glass can now be measured with our improved PEA system that has a spatial resolution of 5 μm.

Dynamic surface charge is measured using a Pockels cell. This approach ensures that surface charge is not influenced by the measurement itself, it allows not only different materials to be studied but also the effect of local environment on surface charge behaviour.  The technique uses a fast CCD camera with microscope lens and this ensures both good spatial and temporal resolution (typically one pixel represents a surface area of 10x10μm monitored at 1000fps) Current research on surface charge is funded by National Grid and is concerned with investigating the phenomena of surface charging of GIS spacers.


  • Computational modelling of the process of electrical breakdown in a dielectric fluid
  • Electric Field Determination in DC Polymeric Power Cable in the Presence of Space Charge and Temperature Gradient
  • Insulation for high voltage dc power transformer
  • Potential decay of corona charged LDPE film
  • Space charge measurement and analysis in polyethylene film
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