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The University of Southampton

ELEC6225 High Voltage Insulation Systems

Module Overview

This module provides a systematic understanding of knowledge and critical awareness of issues related to the management and design of high voltage insulation systems. The course introduces a number of topics related to the design and testing of insulation systems and breakdown phenomena in insulation materials. The students will also be exposed to research activities undertaken within the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory. The lectures (seminars) are intended to support student self learning activities and it is expected that the students should make use of a wide range of information resources including current IEC standards and research papers. Two assessment activities are designed to provide scope for students to work as a team (bushing insulation design) and individually (partial discharge classification). A range of skills, including technical (electric field simulation and programming) and transferable skills (presentation) are required to complete the two assignments. Students are not required to have taken ELEC3211 before taking ELEC6225, but it is strongly recommended.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Exposure to a range of insulation materials and composites used in HV insulation systems and their electrical properties
  • Different requirements and compromised decision in practice when selecting insulation materials
  • How electronic structure leads to materials with different macroscopic properties
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Learn a comprehensive range of testing and measurement techniques to characterise insulation materials
  • Acquire knowledge of electric field modelling and electric field control
  • Acquire knowledge of partial discharges, condition monitoring, space charge measurement and insulation quality assessment
  • Expose to frontier research activities in high voltage insulation
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Organise your time to meet defined objectives.
  • Work efficiently and effectively as a team.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design insulation system according to IEC standards
  • Undertake practical work in order to obtain data pertinent to a defined task.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of risk and safe laboratory practice.
  • Record your work accurately


Insulation System Design, Electrical Breakdown and Materials (8 Lectures). -Review of electrical insulating materials, properties, composites, use in HV equipment, partial discharges, space charge, material ageing, charge transport in polymers, surface and bulk breakdown processes. Cable, transformer, capacitors and Bushing Insulation design and stress control. HV Testing and Measurement Techniques (6 Lectures) -International, BSI and IEEE Standards. Partial discharge, capacitance tan delta, withstand, lightning impulse etc. Material based of current IEC standards. Condition monitoring and assessment of HV insulation systems. Space charge measurements with pulsed-electro-acoustic method. Research Issues (6 lectures) - Solid Insulation: Electrical treeing and short-term breakdown processes, test geometries, environmental factors. Short term breakdown tests. Condition assessment, partial discharge detection and characterisation. New materials for HV insulation. - Liquid Insulation: Discharges in oil, DGA and degradation of transformer oil. - Gas Insulation: Production of corona, plasma, problems and applications Electrical Field Control and Insulation Design (4 lectures) - Bushing design, cable insulation design

Learning and Teaching

Preparation for scheduled sessions12
Follow-up work12
Completion of assessment task66
Wider reading or practice32
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Len A. Dissado, John C. Fothergill (1992). Electrical Degradation and Breakdown in Polymers. 

E. Kuffel, W. S. Zaengl and John Kuffel (2000). High Voltage Engineering - Fundamentals. 

W. Hauschild, E. Lemke (2014). High-Voltage Test and Measuring Techniques. 

F. Kremer, A. Schönhals (2003). Broadband Dielectric Spectroscopy. 

F.H. Kreuger (1991). Industrial High Voltage. 

T. Tanaka, A.S. Vaughan (editors) (2017). Tailoring of Nanocomposite Dielectrics. 

Dieter Kind and Hermann Kärner (1985). High-Voltage Insulation Technology. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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