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“High Voltage Insulation Diagnostics for New Environmentally-Friendly Gas Mixtures”

Project Description

The project will focus on the early detection of faults in systems insulated with new gas mixtures by measurement and characterization of small electrical discharges knows as “partial discharges”.

Gas-insulated substations are major components of the UK’s electrical distribution network: pressurised gases allow the substation’s footprint to be shrunk into a confined area. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) has been the gas of choice for many decades given its excellent insulating properties, however, gas leaks have raised increasing concern since SF6 is reported to have 22,800 times the global warming potential of Carbon Dioxide [1]. For this reason, legislation increasingly restricts SF6 usage. Testing new environmentally-friendly gas mixtures to replace SF6 is therefore an area of strategic national importance.

The student will have access to a range of laboratory facilities as well as collaborative opportunities with academic and industrial partners.

The main goals of the research are as follows:
1. Develop a test system for applying and analysing arbitrary high voltage waveforms (including HVDC) using a high voltage amplifier.
2. Design, calibrate and install radio-frequency sensors on the existing GIL demonstrator.
3. Quantify the effects of varying mixing ratios and pressures of alternative gases on partial discharge characteristics.
4. Quantify the correlation between RF energy and conventional ‘apparent charge’ measurement for alternative gas mixtures.
5. Compare phase-correlated discharge data for conventional and non-conventional gases.
6. Contribute to appropriate working groups and standards by making recommendations as to the effectiveness of the developed techniques.
Completion within 3.5 years is expected. The student will have access to laboratory test facilities and to research expertise in alternative gases within the AHIVE group.

[1] “F gas: guidance for users, producers and traders”, UK department for environment, food & rural affairs and environment agency, 31 Dec 2014.


You should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK.

Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have a master’s degree. Applicants with a minimum Upper Second Class degree and significant relevant non-academic experience are encouraged to apply.

Funding Notes

Full awards, including the Tuition fee and maintenance stipend (Approx. £14,777 in 2018/19), are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education.


Applications should be made online at:

Please note the following when completing your online application:

The Programme name is Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering with an October 2019 start date.

In the "Research proposal and Funding" section of your application, please specify the project title, supervisors of the project and copy the project description in the text box provided.

Please select “No, I am not self-funding my research” when asked whether you are self-funding your research.

Please quote “project ID” when asked "Please provide the name of the funding you are applying for".

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