Research on applied physics for power components
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 PhD projects within our group in the corresponding hyperlinks below.
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Currently, the research performed in our group focuses focuses in two areas.
Applied physics at the interface between power engineering and material science
The fast advance on Material Science in the last decades is opening great opportunities to develop and/or improve Electrical Power System Components (e.g. transformers, insulators, breakers, cables, etc) with optimum performance. Thus, it is today possible to design novel materials with radically improved properties, which could be used to develop power devices with superior characteristics (e.g. smaller, reliable, efficient, environmentally friendly, cheaper). Unfortunately, there is a gap in knowledge in several areas, which hinder the effective design and implementation of new “tailor-made” materials in real products. This research area is intended to study specific physical phenomena at the interface between Material Science and Engineering, whose understanding is critical for further improvements of Electric Power Components by using new materials. The project involves cross-disciplinary collaborations among scientists in material science, chemistry, engineering and physics in both academy and industry.
There are currently three projects related to this area:
- Physics and Chemistry of Outgassing Polymers for Switching Power Devices: this project intends to investigate the fundamental physical and chemical aspects of the ablation (generation of vapour and solid fragments) of polymers under high energy plasma arcs in air and to study their mutual interaction. Publications: ; ;
- Characterization of streamer propagation in liquid/solid (fibre) interfaces: this project is aimed to study experimentally the mechanism of dielectric failure between liquid/solid interfaces.
- On the Mechanisms of Prebreakdown in Mineral oil-based Nanofluids: the main purpose of this research project is to investigate the fundamental electronic processes in mineral oil-based nanofluids, to understand the effects of nanoparticles dispersed in mineral oil on the prebreakdown phenomena and to adapt existing numerical models to simulate these effects.
Multiphysics Modelling applied to Electrical Components
Computer simulation is nowadays acknowledged by the industry as a powerful tool to improve the design of any component since it reduces design time and costs (among other benefits). However, proper representation of physical phenomena in real components, including the modelling of the mutual interaction of complex processes, has only been possible until recently thanks to the powerful computing systems available today. Some projects within this area are:
- Generation, Growth and Collapse of Microbubbles During the Initial Stages of Breakdown in Dielectric Liquids: this project intends to simulate the early stage prior to the initiation of a streamer in a dielectric liquid. Charged particle drift, electrostatics, thermal and two-phase flow physics are involved in the multiphysics model. ;
- Streamer charge calculation following an inverse-problem approach: this project deals with the estimation of the charge and extension of streamer discharges (that lead to electrical breakdown) by using optimization coupled with an electrostatic solver.
- 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.
- Modeling of Electrical Discharge Transitions During the Attachment of Lightning Flashes to Structures: this project intends to fill in the existing gaps in the fundamental knowledge of the transitions between different types of discharges taking place in lightning.
- 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–.