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Effect of Mechanical Strain on Water Treeing Mechanism of Dynamic Cable for Floating Offshore Wind Applications


   Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

  , Prof S Rowland  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Offshore wind energy is central to UK’s ambition of transitioning to a sustainable future electricity grid. The growth in power generation from floating wind turbines are increasingly further away from shore and utilising the floating wind turbine support structures. This increases the mechanical strain the cable is subjected to, which is enhanced further by in-service oscillatory movement caused by tidal and wave motion. It is unknown whether low frequency physical oscillations in cable structures pose an intrinsic reliability risk since conventional land cables are typically installed in relatively benign environments. Typically, cable assets contribute to 5-10% of the total investment costs for an offshore wind farm. However, cable failures cause the majority of the offshore power outages and account for approximately 80% of insurance claims in this industry.  

This project will investigate the effect of varying mechanical strain on the water treeing mechanism in dynamic cable and model the ageing of such design under representative test conditions. A bespoke water treeing test rig with varying mechanical strain will be developed and to be tested under different parameters. A series of small-scale experiments will be initially carried out to investigate the impact of steady state and low frequency mechanical oscillations on the characteristic change in water tree growth. This is to determine whether cycling of mechanical strain accelerates water tree initiation and growth processes. Thereby, potentially increasing the risk of failure for dynamic cables. 

Manchester is home to one of the largest electrical and electronic engineering departments in the country. Our High Voltage Laboratory makes us a place renowned for applied research, a place ranked in the top three UK universities for research impact. 

That’s why industry looks to us to tackle real challenges, and why we’re currently supporting partners such as EDF France. In this project, a sizable consumable budget has been provided by the partner to develop the experimental test facility at Manchester. The full-scale cable samples will be provided by a leading cable manufacturer. There will be opportunities of factory visits and short industry placements for the PhD candidate to develop professionally.  

Now, we’re looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate interested in working as part of a pioneering team of two PhDs and one Research Fellow to help develop this research further. The standard academic entry requirement for a Doctorate level programme is an Upper Second UK honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline or a first degree with an additional pass in a UK Masters degree (or international equivalent).

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact. We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status. 

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder). 


Funding Notes

Funder: EPSRC / EDF France
Eligibility: Funding is available for UK/EU students and will pay the tuition fee and provide a stipend for 4 years at the UKRI rate (currently £17,668 pa) with additional top-up by the industry partner outlined in the textbox below. EU applicants will need to have pre-settled status and 3 years living in EEA countries to qualify. International applicants will need to undergo an internal faculty application for a potential international fee waiver. An additional industry top-up of £3,250 pa by EDF France, which represents a total tax-free stipend of £20,938 pa.

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