EI3230 Physics of Dielectric Insulating Materials 8.0 credits

Dielektriska isolermaterials fysik

The course covers fundamental properties of electrical insulating materials of importance when used as high voltage insulating materials or in any high electric field environment.

  • Education cycle

    Third cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    P, F

Information for research students about course offerings

The course is given when there is sufficient demand. Please contact the examiner if you are interested in taking the course.

Intended learning outcomes

After the course, the student should be able to:

  • describe polarisation processes with suitable relaxation functions in time domain and complex permittivity functions in frequency domain
  • compute the relaxation function from the complex permittivity and vice versa
  • identify the fundamental physical mechanism behind given relaxation/permittivity curves
  • explain the different mechanisms that may lead to dielectric breakdown
  • compute estimates of the electrical breakdown voltage from given models
  • describe the different aging mechanisms in electrical insulation systems
  • analyze the information contained in the temperature dependence of dielectric materials

Course main content

The dominating part of the course is about properties of dielectric materials when they are used as passive electric insulation in high voltage devices. Gases, liquids and solids are covered. The nature of the dielectric response from stimulus of an electric field is discussed: polarisation and depolarisation as a relaxation process and charge transport (conduction) processes. High field effects such as charge injection and dielectric breakdown mechanisms are discussed. Space charges of importance for DC insulation.  Aging phenomena and long time behaviour.  Representation in time and frequency domain. Relaxation in different frequency bands. Some part is devoted to ‘sensor properties’, i.e. optical/electro-optic, ferroelectric, piezoelectric, and pyroelectric and electret properties.


Lectures (12*2h = 24h), 6 homework problems, presentations by participants on solutions to homework problems (2*6h = 12h), 72 h take home exam


MSc in electrical engineering, physical engineering or similar


Kwan Chi Kao, Dielectric Phenomena In Solids;  Compendia: H.Edin, Physics of dielectric insulating materials, containing lecture notes, articles and selected chapters from other books.


  • EXA1 - Examination, 8.0, grading scale: P, F

Requirements for final grade

Participated (short presentation every time) in 5 out of 6 homework problems. 5 accepted solutions (about 80% correctness) to homework problems, 60% correct on home exam.

Offered by

EECS/Electromagnetic Engineering


Hans Edin <edin@kth.se>


Course syllabus valid from: Autumn 2011.
Examination information valid from: Spring 2019.