Partial discharge

White oxide deposits on a generator due to Partial Discharges
White oxide deposits on a generator due to Partial Discharges

Gradual failure of HV insulation shows itself as an increase in Partial Discharges (PD), which can be detected as high-frequency, low-amplitude current pulses flowing in the 50Hz supply conductors. 

To aid in predicting incipient insulation failure, Partial Discharge detection equipment is used to determine machine insulation condition. This is typically done on-line, and requires a great deal of skill from the equipment operator since other power plant can generate PD pulses and these confuse the measurements. 

Key challenges exist in the following areas:

  • Measurement of PD in the presence of electrical interference due to power electronic equipment
  • Remote measurement of machine PD

Research focus

  • Development of new Rogowski coil type current sensor with high bandwidth
  • Development of new PD measurement system able to detect PD in the presence of a Variable Speed Drive.

Key applications

  • PD detection and measurement in electrically noisy environments, such as HVDC stations, rail systems.
  • PD detection and measurement in isolated areas such as petrochemical plant and subsea plant

Collaboration with industry

The design of these new instruments is undertaken in collaboration with HVPD Ltd., of MediaCityUK, Salford.

Research centres and institutes

Latest publications

  • “On-line Partial Discharge Testing of some of the worst Performing Circuits on a Utility Distribution System”, D. Clark, R. MacKinlay, M. Seltzer-Grant, S. Goodfellow, L. Renforth, J. McWilliam, R. Shuttleworth, 12th INSUCON Conference, Birmingham, UK, May 2013, pp. 225-230.
  • “A New Technique for ‘Holistic’ Monitoring of High Voltage Rotating Machines, combining Thermal, Electrical, Ambient and Mechanical (TEAM) Stress Monitoring”, L. Renforth, R. MacKinlay, D. Clark, R. Shuttleworth, W. Waugh, 12th INSUCON Conference, Birmingham, UK, May 2013, pp.7-12.
  • “On-line Partial Discharge Testing of In-Service Rotating Machines in Ex Hazardous Environments by Employment of Central Monitoring Solutions”, L. Renforth, S. Goodfellow, M. Foxall, D. Clark, R. Shuttleworth, ISEI, June 2012, Puerto Rico. 


Academic Staff: Dr. R. Shuttleworth

Please contact one of the academic staff for further details of current research activity.


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