Research on Applied Physics in Electrotechnology
Welcome to the homepage of our research group! Here you will find a short introduction video to our research as well as general information about our projects. Check for detailed description of the research projects within our group in the corresponding hyperlinks below.
Currently, the research performed in our group focuses focuses in two areas.
Applied Plasma Physics in Electrotechnical Components
The fast advance in material science and computer simulation in the last decades is opening great opportunities to develop and/or improve electrotechnical components (e.g. transformers, insulators, breakers, cables, plasma actuators, etc) in which plasma discharges are (intentionally or non-intentionally) present. Such atmospheric plasmas include a broad range of electrical discharges, which can be non-thermal (e.g. glows and streamers in gases), warm (e.g. leader discharges and gliding arcs in gases, streamers in liquids) or fully thermalized (e.g. arc plasmas, lightning).
Even though atmospheric plasmas have been studied for decades, there is still a wide knowledge gap in several aspects of their use or mitigation, which hinder the effective design of real products with optimal performance. Particularly, this research area is intended to study specific physical phenomena at the interface between material Science, engineering and plasma physics, whose understanding is critical for further improvements of electrotechnical components by using new materials and/or novel designs. The project involves cross-disciplinary collaborations among scientists in material science, chemistry, engineering and physics in both academy and industry.
There are currently three main projects related to this research area:
- High-current arc plasmas for switching power devices: this project intends to investigate the fundamental physical and chemical aspects of arc plasmas controlled by ablation (generation of vapour and solid fragments) of polymers under high currents (in the kA range) in air. This project includes also plasma diagnostics using high speed photography and optical emission spectroscopy. Furthermore, studies of the effect of ultra-fast mechanical operation of electrical contacts in switching arcs are within this area.
- Prebreakdown in traditional dielectric liquids, in nanofluids and in the presence of solid interfaces: this project is aimed to study the mechanisms of dielectric failure in hydrocarbons such as cyclohexane and mineral (transformer) oil used as based liquids. It includes the analysis through experimental research and computer modeling of the high-field electrical conduction and the initiation and propagation of streamers in liquids. Project on nanofluids and Project on Streamers in Mineral Oil Along Fibre Interfaces
- Plasma chemical storage and conversion using warm discharges : this is a newly started research area in our group whose main purpose is improve the overall efficiency of plasma-based conversion of greenhouse gases (CO2 by now) into high-value chemicals and fuels using warm-discharges.
Multiphysics Modelling for Electrotechnical Components
Computer simulation is nowadays acknowledged by the industry as a powerful and cost-effective tool to complement physical testing. It reduces design time and costs as it avoids significant time delays in experimental-based product development. It also provides a detailed quantitative understanding of any system or product, and gives a broad scope for engineers to be innovative by allowing the consideration of a far broader range of variants and to test “out-off-the-box” approaches. Computer simulation also allows virtual testing of a product or system, which in some cases is the only way to verify a design or to assess its condition when physical testing in not feasible or practical to execute. Furthermore, computer simulation also creates a virtual image of a product or system, a digital twin, which can be used by artificial intelligence AI platforms to follow up in real time and to take autonomous decisions through the lifecycle of a product.
Some specific projects within this area are:
- Electrical efficiency of plasma actuators reducing aerodynamic losses in trucks: this project is performed in cooperation with KTH Deparment of Mechanics and our contribution is the development of computer models to improve the electrical performance (efficiency) of laboratory glow-based plasma actuators.
- Computer simulation of glow, streamer and leader discharges in air for insulation applications: this project deals with the evaluation of non-thermal and warm electrical discharges using microscopic and macroscopic modeling approaches. It includes the analysis of the transitions between these discharges .
- Magneto-hydro-dynamic (MHD) modeling of electric plasma arcs in power components: this project is intended to simulate the physical properties of plasma arcs under high electric currents. It includes the interaction of thermal, electromagnetics, radiation and gas flow (CFD) physics.
- Modeling of electromechanical actuators for switching applications: this project makes part of the research at ABB Corporate Research, which intends to use computer simulation to scout the possibilities of alternative actuators for switching devices .
- Modelling of upward connecting leaders under thunderstorms: this project is part of our contribution to the CIGRE WG C4.26 “Evaluation of Lightning Shielding Analysis Methods for EHV and UHV DC and AC Transmission-lines”. It is focused on the further development of the Self-consistent Leader Inception and Propagation Model –SLIM–.