The University of Southampton

New High Voltage Laboratory for MSc Project work

Published: 20 August 2012

A new High Voltage (HV) Laboratory situated in Zepler Building was officially opened in July. The laboratory has been fully equipped with six sets of apparatus, including AC & DC breakdown experiment with supplies of 25 kV rms and 75 kV respectively, as well as a Pulsed Electro Acoustic (PEA) space charge experiment with an applied dc voltage of 10 kV.

The HV lab is already being used by MSc students studying Energy and Sustainability with Electrical Power Engineering. There are five on-going projects, involving 10 students: •Effect of ramp rate and permittivity on AC breakdown •Partial Discharge design, measurements and instrumentation (two projects) •Liquids ageing and breakdown •High Voltage insulation systems - DC performance and space charge accumulation.

Although primarily constructed to support the dissertation element of the MSc, the lab will also be available for undergraduate electrical engineering students during term time, to introduce them to some of the basic practical concepts of high voltage engineering.

The original concept was to supply a number of standalone portable high voltage experiments for use in undergraduate teaching laboratories but incorporating these experiments into existing laboratory space was not feasible. Consequentially it was decided that a dedicated "High Voltage Teaching Laboratory" was needed and this has been created over the last six months. Construction of the various experiments took place in the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory from January to May 2012 and they were installed in the new laboratory once work had been completed by contractors.

“The concept is for stand-alone high voltage experiments that will not affect other electrical/electronic equipment within the Zepler Building,” said Dr. Ian Hosier, who was responsible for the development of this new facility.

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