Graeme Smiths

PhD Student
Project title: Spectroscopic methods for understanding chemical breakdown of liquid (oils) and solid insulation (PET) under stress conditions.

The aim of this project is to detect the chemical breakdown markers or changes to spectra occurring during extended thermal or electrical stressing of liquid (mineral oil/ester oil) and solid (Polyethylene terephthalate) by using spectroscopic methods.

In order to analyse the breakdown of the oil they will be stressed thermally in the presence of oxygen, copper metal and kraft paper in the proper ratio. The stressing of PET will be conducted thermally and electrically. The electrical stress will be via partial discharge and corona discharge. Monitoring of the chemical breakdown of the high voltage insulators will help inform the industry on the degradation process of these insulators (PET and mineral/ester oils). Changes in RAMAN spectra will hopefully provide a reliable measure of the chemical breakdown of the insulators and the possibility of introducing a portable RAMAN device.