The January/February Issue of the Electrical Insulation Magazine has been released. Use the accordion headings below to explore this issue’s content, and visit the IEEE Xplore for full magazine access.

For a list of upcoming conferences, please visit the conference page or check out the events calendar.

To learn about Technical Committee activities, please visit the Technical Committees page. This issue highlights activities of the HVDC Cable Systems committee.

Featured Articles

Featured Articles

Computational Analysis of the Electrostatic Environment and Flashover Performance of a Suspension Linkstick for Live-Line Work on High Voltage Power Lines

Y. V. Serdyuk, S. M. Gubanski, J. Beattie, S. Schmidt, and K. Kreway – Xplore Link

Insulator Flashover Caused by Salt-Contaminated Snowstorms—Lessons from the Snow Damage in Japan

Kohei Yaji and Hiroya Homma – Xplore Link

Evaluating Failures of Polymer Insulators in Brazilian Distribution Networks

J. M. B. Bezerra, S. H. M. S. Rodrigues, B. R. F. Lopes, D. S. Lopes, and V. A. L. Ferreira – Xplore Link

Manhole Explosion and Its Root Causes

Glen Bertini – Xplore Link


by Brian Stewart

DEIS Vice-President (Technical) , University of Strathclyde

“Engineering is not merely knowing and being knowledgeable, like a walking encyclopedia; engineering is not merely analysis; engineering is not merely the possession of the capacity to get elegant solutions to non-existent engineering problems; engineering is practicing the art of the organising forces of technological change… Engineers operate at the interface between science and society.” Gordon Stanley Brown, (1907-1996), Institute Professor and Professor of Electrical Engineering, MIT.

I recently came across the above quote from Professor Brown who was a pioneer in the area of feedback control systems. After some reflection, its significance was not lost on me. Yes we can be knowledgeable, analytical, solve problems, even be creative and innovative on top of that, but the part which sticks out for me is “… engineering is practicing the art of the organising forces of technological change …”. In my role as Vice-President Technical of the DEI Society I ask the question … How best can DEIS exercise the art of harnessing technological change? Surely, it is through our Technical Committees that embrace engineering technologies and look to understand better and apply these technologies for the benefit and future of our Society and the engineering community at large. We exist not to be self-serving, but to align ourselves and go with the forces of new technological changes and pioneering initiatives relevant to DEIS discipline and topic areas.

The DEI Society presently has 10 active Technical Committees: Aging Factors; Diagnostics; Discharges in Air at UHV; HVDC Cable Systems; Liquid Dielectrics; Nanodielectrics; Numerical Methods Applied to Dielectrics; Outdoor Insulation; Smart Grids; Standards Liaison. In order to communicate better the nature, the relevance and the great work of these Technical Committees, the Society has agreed to take some initiatives to broadcast the activities of Technical Committees to DEIS Members and the wider engineering community through a variety of means. The first is by producing individual DEIS webpages for each Technical Committee which outline their scope, purpose, activities, future vision, current membership and contact details. Links should start to appear on the new DEIS website in the months ahead as each Technical Committee webpage becomes populated. To complement this activity, the second initiative is the presentation of articles in the Electrical Insulation Magazine focussing on each Technical Committee. These articles will be running over the next year or so. The first Technical Committee article appears in this issue of the Electrical Insulation Magazine and is presented by the HVDC Cable Systems Technical Committee, Chaired by Giovanni Mazzanti. As you will see, this Committee has been very active over the past few years providing positive contributions to DEIS related areas. We hope you enjoy these articles in the months ahead not just for information, but also to assist in stimulating initiatives and ideas that encompass new developments and future technology changes relevant to DEIS interests.

One of the key drivers for the future sustainability of the Society, and the Technical Committees, is that DEIS not only attracts new Members but also attracts early career engineers and researchers who wish to be involved actively in DEIS Committees. The Society wants to harness their input, their positive contributions as well as their energy and creativity. These are enablers that can facilitate and empower Technical Committee developments in related areas, not just for the present, but more importantly for the future. We are therefore including contact details for Technical Committees so that Members can engage, if desired, with the Committees.

We want to grow and diversify our Society and Membership and take advantage of new and advancing technology developments. For example, we are in the process of establishing a new Technical Committee on Smart/Functional dielectric materials, which will focus on how advances in this area can play a significant part in our Society’s future. If you sense that technology changes are influencing important new areas of dielectrics relevant to DEIS interests and these are not presently addressed by any of the current Technical Committees, and/or you would like to discuss a potential new Technical Committee that could enhance technology activities and genuine interests of the Society, then please get in touch with me. We are happy to discuss new initiatives that will expand DEIS cross-disciplinary relevance with other IEEE Societies as well as attract new Members to join us on our future journey.

From the Editors

Stanislaw Gubanski, Editor-in-Chief

Resi Zarb, Co-Editor

The Publications Committee and the Editors of the Magazine are pleased to announce that a six-member Editorial Board has been appointed to assist the Editor-in-Chief in selecting articles that are relevant, informative and interesting to our readership.  The Board, who are leaders in their fields of expertise, will be responsible for reviewing and recommending acceptance of the abstracts received from authors.  The Board will also recommend suitable reviewers for accepted manuscripts.

DEIS sponsors international conferences to provide a platform for members and non-members to share their work and experiences.  In September and October, three such conferences were held in the U.S., Greece and Australia.  Their reports are presented in this issue.

In this issue we also bring four interesting articles. The first one entitled “Computational analysis of the electrostatic environment and flashover performance of a suspension linkstick for live-line work on high voltage power lines” is jointly authored by Yuriy Serdyuk and Stan Gubanski of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden together with Jay Beattie, Shawn Schmidt and Kyle Kreway of SaskPower, the electrical utility of Saskatchewan, Canada. This joint team of academic and utility investigators presents a part of the work aiming to explain the root causes of flashovers on live-line tools that took place on energized structures of transmission lines at electric field gradients of less than 100 kV/m, when the tools are supposed to withstand three times that stress. The article refers to an accident that took place in 2012 when a SaskPower live-line transmission crew was changing out a wooden spar member on a twin-pole “Gulfport” bonded wooden structure of a 230 kV line. To address the problem, SaskPower conducted a series of tests in its high voltage laboratory as well as in the laboratory at Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) and managed to produce a flashover from partially-iced lightly-contaminated linkstick surface, which had no precursor leakage current and was classified as a “fast flashover” phenomenon. To complement this experimental work, a theoretical investigation was carried out at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden that simulated, by means of finite element analyses, the conditions during the critical field operations. This article reports on that aspect of the study and shows that when a relatively conductive layer (above ~10-5 S/m) is present on the linkstick (in the form of a label, melting ice, frost or other wet contaminant), the surface electric field level in the vicinity of the lineside collar can be enhanced and exceed the corona inception threshold. These fields are strong enough to initiate a cascade type of discharge with surprisingly fast initiation that could explain the anomalous flashover. It also demonstrates that a protective shed placed in close proximity to the energized collar may significantly enhance the withstand performance of the linkstick.

The second article in this issue is on “Insulator Flashover Caused by Salt-contaminated Snowstorms – Lessons from the Snow Damage in Japan”, authored by Kohei Yaji and Hiroya Homma of Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI), Japan. It reports on an extensive program of investigations aiming to analyze the reasons for flashovers of 154 kV insulators under heavily salt-contaminated snow storms, like the one that took place in the Kaetsu area of Niigata Prefecture in 2005. The article describes background information for the event and reviews results of previous and recent studies on various types of insulators (long rod, cap and pin, and composite insulators) under heavy accretion of wet snow contaminated with sea-salt. The authors developed a flashover test procedure for snow-accreted insulators, in which snow conductivity (as high as 800 µS/cm), liquid water content and density were controlled. The results showed that the mechanism of flashovers taking place under salt-contaminated snowstorms is typically different from the one confirmed under snow-capped conditions. During the snowstorm, leakage current increases with snow accretion and the duration of wind rest periods plays a major role in the flashover development. The flashover voltage of porcelain long rod insulators can, in such conditions, be close to the operating voltage. The results of these studies also revealed that sheds of typical long rod insulators can more easily be bridged by compact wet snow as compared to cap and pin insulators because of having smaller shed spacing. Composite insulators, with a large shed pitch, can also better resist the formation of shed bridging under snowstorms.

The third article entitled “Evaluating a Possible Collapse in Polymer Insulators in Distribution Networks” is authored by José M. B. Bezerra, Suelen Rodrigues, Bruno Lopes, Diego Lopes and Victor Lima Ferreira from the University of Permambuco, Brazil. It presents results of a five-year long project that aimed at finding the reasons for an abnormal failure rate of polymeric insulators used in Brazilian distribution networks. X-ray investigations revealed that a large portion of such insulators contain manufacturing faults in the form of internal voids.  The project consisting of computer simulations and tests in the laboratory and in field conditions attempted to find the failure causes. Outcomes of the project provide practically important conclusions which indicate that the voids located in the insulators are of such sizes that exclude a possibility for the appearance of internal partial discharges and thus cannot lead to the development of premature degradation. It was found, on the other hand, that the cause of insulator degradation should be associated with the excessively applied torque during their installation, as this operation may yield the formation of fissures in the vicinity of insulator pins. The electric field levels in such fissures can, under normal stress conditions, reach levels allowing for development of the degrading discharge activity.

The fourth article entitled “Manhole explosion and its root causes” is authored by Glen J. Bertini of Novinium, Inc., a cable rejuvenation company based in Kent, Washington, USA. This article presents a thorough review on causes of manhole explosions – an emerging public safety hazard in urban communities with extensive underground electrical infrastructure. Narrowing on manhole vaults which house primary and secondary power cables, the study introduces readers to the different chemical properties of gases and compounds that are likely to be encountered inside the manhole vault. The article classifies these gases according to their density and flammability and divides the underground space into strata where these gases tend to concentrate. After explaining the chemistry of fire and explosion, the origins of these explosive gases are explored and the risk for their contributions to explosions analyzed. The author postulates the contribution of secondary power cable degradation to manhole explosions. Secondary power cables that run on conduits degrade over time with the introduction of corroding compounds, such as salt water, and the presence of interfacial tracking, a type of cable fault that induces pyrolysis, ignition or plasmatization, produce in turn potentially explosive elements, such as carbon monoxide and carbon aggregates. These chemical by-products of power cable degradation, considered by the author the main fuels for manhole explosion, can travel through the conduit, accumulate on the manhole vault, and when ignited, yield the catastrophic event.

IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine Editorial Board

Electrical Insulation Magazine Appoints Editorial Board

Ivanka Atanasova-Höhlein is the principal key material expert and manager of the physical-chemical laboratory of Siemens Transformers in Nuremberg, Germany.  Her major fields of responsibilities include materials for transformer applications (solid and liquid insulating materials, conductive and magnetic materials, gaskets, glues, auxiliaries) as well as laboratory diagnostics of oil filled electrical equipment (gas-in-oil analyses, ester liquids and fault investigations). She is also responsible for R&D development of laboratory diagnostic techniques and evaluation of ageing markers.  Dr. Atanasova-Höhlein has authored and co-authored more than 50 contributions to national and international journals and conferences. She has actively contributed to the works of IEC and CIGRE as a member of German mirror committees of IEC Technical Committee 10 on insulating liquids and IEC Technical Committee 68 on magnetic alloys and steel, as well as a member of various CIGRE and IEC working groups. She currently convenes IEC Maintenance Team 38, having the task of revising IEC 60296 so that it will become a standard covering mineral insulating oils irrespective of their source. She also convenes Tutorial Advisory Group of CIGRE Study Committee D1 and CIGRE Working Group D1.70 “Functional properties of modern insulating liquids for transformers and similar electrical equipment”.  Dr. Atanasova-Höhlein is a recipient of IEC and CIGRE awards for her significant contributions within the area of transformer insulation.

Brian G. Stewart (M’08) is a Professor within the Institute of Energy and Environment at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) and PhD from the University of Glasgow in 1981 and 1985 respectively. His research interests are focused on high voltage engineering, electrical condition monitoring, partial discharge, insulation diagnostics and communication systems. As well as being a Member of the IEEE, he is also a Chartered Electrical Engineer (CEng) and a Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (MIET). He is currently serving as Vice President (Technical) of the IEEE DEIS and has served as a DEIS AdCom Member since 2010, also holding the position of DEIS Secretary from 2013-2017.

Greg Stone was one of the developers of on-line partial discharge test methods to evaluate the condition of the high voltage insulation in stator windingsFrom 1975 to 1990 he was a Dielectrics Engineer with Ontario Hydro, a large Canadian power generation company.  Since 1990, Dr. Stone has been employed at Iris Power L.P. in Toronto, Canada, a motor and generator condition monitoring company which he helped to form.  He has published two books and >200 papers concerned with rotating machine windings.  He has awards from the IEEE, CIGRE and IEC for his technical contributions to rotating machine assessment.  Greg Stone has a BASc, MASc and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo (Canada) and is a Fellow of the IEEE.  He is a registered professional engineer in the Province of Ontario, Canada.

Antonios Tzimas received his B.Eng. (2001) and M.Sc. (2003) degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Leicester where, after completing his national service duties in Greece, he returned to do research on the ageing properties of cross-linked polyethylene. In 2008 he received his PhD with his thesis on the topic of cross-linked polyethylene. He joined the National Grid High Voltage laboratory at the University of Manchester investigating the ageing properties and condition monitoring techniques of outdoor composite insulators (2008-2011) as well as cable insulation (2012-2013). In May 2013 he joined Alstom Grid Research and Technology centre to work as technical lead on the HVDC Cable Ageing Project. In April 2014 he became Senior Engineer and with the Alstom GE merge in November 2016 a Lead Engineer in Emerging Technologies. In March 2018 he joined Advanced Energy Industries as a Dielectric Material Specialist. His research interests lie in understanding dielectric ageing mechanisms and the characteristics of electrical failure of high voltage insulators, underground cables, outdoor insulators and HV encapsulated components. Antonios is active in the DEIS Technical Committees and CIGRE working groups. He has contributed towards an IEEE standard development, 2 filled patents and over 30 conference and journal publications with focus on the understanding of electrical insulation ageing.

Alun Vaughan is Professor of Dielectric Materials at the University of Southampton in the UK.  He has a B.Sc. in Chemical Physics and a PhD in Polymer Physics and, after spending some time as a research fellow at the University of Reading, moved to the Central Electricity Research Laboratories of the UK’s Central Electricity Generating Board. Here, he acquired an interest in the dielectric behavior of polymers and composites, which remains to this day.  After spending a period as an academic at The University of Reading, he moved to Southampton in 2000, where his major research themes have included ageing processes in dielectrics, nanocomposites and the design of high performance dielectrics for use in energy-related applications, such as novel cable designs.  This research has led to many international interactions with utilities, materials suppliers and equipment manufacturers and has generated a number of patents.  Prof Vaughan is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the IET, a Senior Member of the IEEE and, in the past, chaired the Dielectrics Group of the Institute of Physics.  In 2016 Prof Vaughan was nominated as the IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society’s Eric O. Forster Memorial Lecturer.  He has published widely on a range of aspects of polymer science and dielectrics and, at present, much of his work is concerned with understanding the fundamental relationships between the composition and structure of polymer-based materials and their electrical characteristics.

Feipeng Wang received his PhD degree from Tongji University, Shanghai, China, in 2007. He has respectively worked in the soft transducer materials and systems group at the University of Potsdam and in the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research, Germany from 2007 until the end of 2013 with a focus on functional dielectric materials and their application as sensors and actuators. He started research with emphasis on insulation dielectrics as well as their applications in power grid as a professor in Chongqing University, China in 2014.

News From Japan

Yoshimichi Ohki

First Magnetic Resonance Imaging under Three Tesla Magnetic Field

Superconducting (SC) technologies have long histories of research, and some of them are already in a stage for practical applications. For example, a SC current lead, a SC transformer, a SC cable in grid operation, and a SC flywheel for magnetic energy storage have been introduced in this “News from Japan” column as recent Japanese typical examples of SC applications [1-4].

Figure 1. Schematic diagram to explain the mechanism of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). SC = superconducting; NMR = nuclear magnetic resonance.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is now widely used in medical diagnosis, since it can provide detailed images without using radioactive beam such as X-rays. Especially for diagnosing diseases occurring in brains, SC-MRI capable of providing precise images by realizing high magnetic field is contributing to early diagnosis and early cure. As of March 2016, a total of about 6,000 SC-MRIs are working in Japan [5].

The mechanism of MRI is schematically shown in Figure 1. By obtaining computer-aided spatial distributions of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) signals from protons (1H) in a human body induced by applying a powerful magnetic field and radio waves, we can have detailed pictures of the inside of the body. At present, since most SC-MRIs use NbTi SC coils, we need expensive liquefied helium.

Helium is not produced in Japan, which means that Japan needs to import all the volume of helium from foreign countries. Therefore, several research funding agencies affiliated with Japanese government, such as Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), have been encouraging Japanese universities, research organizations, and industries to throw the development of MRIs capable of using high-temperature SC coils into high gear. Furthermore, the quality of SC coils using REBCO (Rare-earth barium copper oxide) has become stable and a long coil has become available in these days [6]

With this background, Mitsubishi Electric, Tokyo, has been developing a SC-MRI using REBCO coils, together with Kyoto University and Tohoku University, under the supervision by NEDO. The project was started in 2013 and it aims at the completion of design of SC magnets for imaging the whole body and putting the developed MRI on the market in 2026.

Table 1. Specifications of REBCO wire used for coils

First, Mitsubishi developed a one-third model coil for a three tesla (3T) MRI. One important development task is to realize a coil structure that would not cause deterioration of the SC characteristics. The REBCO SC wire for the coil consists of a 1.0-mm REBCO thin film fabricated on a Hastelloy (a highly corrosion-resistant metal alloy) substrate via a buffer layer and a copper film plated on the surface of the REBCO film or its periphery with Sn solder. If a mechanical stress is applied in the direction perpendicular to the thin copper-plated SC tapes, the plated copper would be delaminated and the SC properties would be easily degraded. As a countermeasure against this, fluorine coating was given to one side of a double-layer polyimide film to release the mechanical stress at the interface between the insulated film and the SC tape. Furthermore, the SC coil was vacuum impregnated with anti-cryogenic-cracking epoxy resin in order to increase the mechanical toughness. Table 1 shows the specifications of the REBCO wire used for the coil [7].

Figure 2. Superconducting coil for magnetic resonance imaging. (a) Method for adjusting winding positions in the coil. (b) External view of the pancake coil.

Figure 3. External view of the 3-T model coil for magnetic resonance imaging. SC = superconducting.

The second development task is the production of a high-precision coil. Usually SC wire is wound to form a coil in the shape of a pancake as shown in Figure 2 and then several pancakes were stacked [5, 6]. Although it is believed that each wire has to be wound with an error less than 0.1 mm, Mitsubishi wound the entire coil in one pancake within the error of 0.05 mm. In addition, each pancake was stacked up within a position error of 0.5 mm, although the designed allowable error was 1.0 mm.

An external view and the specification of the assembled SC model coil are shown in Figure 3 and Table 2, respectively [7]. The magnetic field at the center of the bore or area where a patient is scanned is 2.9 T, the same as general 3-T MRI systems. The maximum experienced magnetic field was 4.5 T when central magnetic field was 3.0 T and the coil passed the current with a density of 113 A/mm2. Note that the physical parameter with the unit of T (Tesla) is magnetic flux density and not magnetic field. However, in MRI-related industries or among researchers in this field, the term “magnetic field” is far more often used. The maximum current density to pass through the coil is 120 A/mm2. The inductance of the coil is 32 H and the total length of high temperature SC wire is 16 km.

Table 2. Design specifications of HTS 3-T model coil

Figure 4. Photograph showing one scene in the experiment at the time of generating a central magnetic field of 3 T. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) frequency of 127.8 MHz and the magnetic field of 3.0 T are clearly displayed.

Figure 5. Stability of the output magnetic field for the nuclear magnetic resonance probe supplied from a highly stable excitation power source, achieving the variation of 1 ppm/hour or less.

Figure 6. Time-dependent change in magnetic field of the developed HTSC 3-T test magnet right after the excitation and the effect of passing an “overshoot current.”

For cooling the model coil, a Gifford-McMahon refrigerator was used, by which the coil was cooled to a temperature below 10 K in one week and then its temperature was stabilized at around 7 K. Then, the coil was excited by passing the electric current and the central magnetic field of 3 T was successfully attained. Figure 4 is a photograph that shows one scene during the experiment to measure the magnetic field. In the photograph, the NMR frequency of 127.8 MHz and the magnetic field of 3.0 T are clearly displayed on the measuring instruments. Note that the equipment at the back of the measuring instruments is a cryostat, in which the high temperature SC coil was installed. The cylindrical bore of the cryostat, where MR imaging would be done, is 230 mm in diameter and was kept at room temperature [7].

Figure 7. Effect of shimming on the angle-resolved distribution of magnetic field in the developed HTSC 3-T model coil.

Figure 8. First magnetic resonance image of a mouse fetus taken under a magnetic field of 3.0 T using the developed HTSC 3-T model coil.

If the magnetic field varies with time, an electric current is induced by electromagnetic induction so that the current would suppress the variation in the magnetic field. This induced current would never decay in a SC substance. Therefore, the magnetic field for MRI must be very stable. This is a specific issue of SC-MRI. Regarding this, the project used a highly stable excitation power source, with a temporal fluctuation of less than 1.0 ppm/hour as shown in Figure 5. Furthermore, by passing an “overshoot current” [8, 9], the magnetic field becomes even more stable as shown in Figure 6. In addition, the uniformity in spatial distribution of the magnetic field is also very important. As for this spatial uniformity, the 3 T model coil has attained a high uniformity, as shown in Figure 7, by adopting a proper “iron magnetic shim” method [7].

To demonstrate the MRI ability of the developed coil, an image was obtained for a mouse fetus 25 mm long. Figure 8 shows this example. It is clearly demonstrated that an image with a high spatial resolution less than 0.2 mm, which is sufficient for practical use, can be obtained. As of February 2016, the image shown in Figure 8 is the first MRI image of a mouse fetus taken under a magnetic field of 3 T using a high temperature SC coil [7].

This article was completed with the help of Dr. S. Yokoyama of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.


[1] Y. Ohki, “News from Japan –Development of a RE-Ba-Cu-O Superconducting Current Lead–”, IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol.30, No.5, p.43-45, 2014.

[2] Y. Ohki, “News from Japan –Development of a Three-Phase Superconducting Power Transformer–”, IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol. 31, No. 3, p.46-48, 2015.

[3] Y. Ohki, “News from Japan –Japan’s First In-Grid Operation of a 200-MVA Superconducting Cable System–”, IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol.31, No.4, p.61-63, 2015.

[4] Y. Ohki, “News from Japan –World’s Largest-Class Flywheel Energy Storage System Using Superconducting Magnetic Bearings–”, IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol. 33, No.2, p.62-64, 2017.

[5] S. Yokoyama, “Edge Cutting Applications of Superconducting Technologies, 9. SC Magnet for MRI”, Ohm, March 2018 Issue, pp. 45-49 (in Japanese).

[6] For example, Y. Ohki, “News from Japan –Development of a RE-Ba-Cu-O Superconducting Strong Magnet–”, IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag., Vol.28, No.2, p.60-61, 2012.

[7] S. Yokoyama et al., “Research and Development of the High Stable Magnetic Field ReBCO Coil System Fundamental Technology for MRI”, IEEE Trans. Applied Superconductivity, Vol.27, No.4, 4400604, 2017.

[8] H. Miura et al., “Estimation Method of Optimal Amount of Overshooting Current for Temporal Uniform Magnetic Field in Conduction-Cooled HTS Coils” IEEE Trans. Applied Superconductivity, Vol. 28, No. 3, 4401705, 2018.

[9] T. Yachida et al., “Magnetic Field Stability Control of HTS-MRI Magnet by Use of Highly Stabilized Power Supply” IEEE Trans. Applied Superconductivity, Vol. 27, No.4, 4702905, 2017.

Book Reviews

Nanomaterials for Energy Conversion and Storage

Wang and G. Cao, editors
World Scientific Publishing Co.
5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore 596224
US Office:
27 Warren Street, Suite 401-402
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Phone (201) 487-9655, Fax (201) 487-9656
ISBN 978-1-78634-362-8
834p. $239 (Hardcover), 2018

This book is a collection of topics on energy storage and energy conversion technologies with two focus areas.  The first focus area deals with photo-conversion processes into energy.  Storing energy in chemical bonds provides high energy density as demonstrated in today’s fossil fuels. However, the desire is to use renewable chemical energy storage methods, rather than fossil fuels, that use photo-synthesis (the use of sunlight or other light sources) to store chemical energy for later use.  The second part of this book deals with energy storage methods for lithium-ion battery technology.  Both technology areas focus on the use of nanomaterials as an enabling technology for these advancements.

The topics covering photoactive methods are as follows: principles of photo-electrochemical water splitting, semiconducting photo-catalysis for solar hydrogen conversion, visible-light driven photo-catalysis, emerging catalysts for artificial photosynthesis, photoanodic and photocathodic materials, electro-catalytic process in energy technologies, soft X-ray spectroscopy on photo-catalysis, and photo-electrochemical tools for the assessment of energy conversion devices.

Battery topics cover the fundamentals of rechargeable batteries and electrochemical potentials of electrode materials, vanadium pentoxide as cathode material for alkali-ion batteries, tin-based compounds as anode materials, electrode materials for sodium and magnesium-ion batteries, and nanomaterials and nanostructures for regulating ions and electron transport.

Each topic is thoroughly discussed in detail.  Material characterizations, preparation, and implementation are all described.  There are graphs and data showing application performance for each topic.  The primary intent of this book is to present the latest technology in these areas which catalyze new and innovative ideas and approaches to energy storage and conversion.

Researchers working in the energy storage technology, especially in the areas of photo-catalysis and li-ion battery technology using nanomaterials will find this book provides the latest developments in these areas of research.

UHV Transmission Technology

A. Zhang and J. Fan, Editors
Academic Press
An imprint of Elsevier
525 B Street, Suite 1800
San Diego, CA 92101-4495
Tel: +1 619 231 6616
Fax: +1 619 699 6422
ISBN 978-0-12-805193-1
774p. $180 (Hardcover), 2018

This book was created by the China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI) which is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary research institute affiliated with the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC). CEPRI is devoted to R&D, testing and inspection, and technical standards, for power grids in China.

This book was written based on the research, design, and construction experience performed on various UHV (Ultra-High Voltage) pilot projects in China.  It is divided into two parts – the first part on UHV AC transmission and the second part on UHV DC transmission.

UHVAC transmission is considered to be at voltage levels at 1000kV and above. At these levels, components get scaled up to withstand high voltages and other factors such as corona production and much longer and heavier insulation needs to be considered.  This book describes these challenges and shows the methods used to achieve successful UHV transmission systems.

The first part of the book begins with an overview of UHV AC transmission development in China with some history of UHVAC from other countries.  Topics continue with system stability considerations, insulation coordination, system design including layouts of power networks showing transformers, reactors, switchgear, and surge arrestors configurations, EMI and RFI measurements and mitigation methods, transmission tower design and layout, line selection, vibration of overhead lines, and various testing methods and the measurement equipment used for testing.

The second part of the book covers UHVDC.  Like the first part, the second part begins with an overview of UHVDC development in China. It continues with topics on UHVDC converters, steady-state characteristics of DC transmission systems and critical operating measures (i.e. overload capacity, reduced voltage, power reversal, loss of converter stations), control and protection methods, reactive compensation and harmonic suppression, overvoltage and insulation coordination, EMI and RFI consideration, transmission lines and transmission line towers, line vibration, and field tests.

This book would be a wonderful reference for power system engineers and designers working with UHV power transmission systems.  It provides an excellent record of the lessons learned in China, gained from the many projects constructed over the last 13 years.  It has very good technical details and contains a wealth of information.  Any power engineer interested in UHV power transmission will be interested in this book.

Computational Fluid Dynamics – A Practical Approach, 3rd Edition

J. Tu, G-H. Yeoh, and C. Liu
An imprint of Elsevier
525 B Street, Suite 1800
San Diego, CA 92101-4495
Tel: +1 619 231 6616
Fax: +1 619 699 6422
ISBN 978-0-08-101127-0
496p. $99.95 (Softcover), 2018

Interest in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has been increasing due to the high quality and ease of use of the software now available for modeling fluid flows.  Improved models and greater computational power available on a desktop have greatly increased the use of CFD tools for modeling scientific and engineering problems.  Some examples where CFD has been used to create models and improve designs include automotive (combustion engine gas flow), aeronautical (aircraft wing development), biomedical (artery blood flow, air flow in lungs), nuclear industry (mixing tanks for chemicals, nuclear cooling tower design, and water reactors), renewable energy (wind turbine blade design), civil engineering (building structure design), sports (swimming, biking, and improving racing car dynamics) and electrical power components (circuit breaker arc modeling).

CFD modeling can be used to simulate and visualize velocity flow vectors which are used to evaluate the effectiveness of design changes made to improve some predetermined aspect of performance.

This book focuses on presenting an understanding of some of the fluid dynamic equations used in commercial software packages and provides practical suggestions for selecting turbulence models and mesh geometry. The book is software agnostic.  However, there are suggestions and links for commonly used commercial codes.

The book begins by presenting various applications of CFD and introduces the reader to setting up a CFD problem – geometry, mesh generation, property selections, and boundary conditions.  Examples follow on how software programs solve and present data and the types of plots typically used to present data.  Presentation of the fundamentals of CDF are continued with explanations of the underlying conservation equations and turbulence equations. Practical guidelines for mesh generation including moving mesh generation are covered as are basic CFD techniques and guidelines for CFD simulation and analysis.  These include recommendations for setting boundary conditions, solution strategies, and turbulence modeling.  Some application examples cover indoor airflow distribution, gas-particle flow, free-standing fire, flow over a vehicle, and high-speed flows. Some advanced topics include techniques and numerical methods in incompressible flow, compressible flows, moving grids, multigrid, multiphase flows, combustion, particle methods, and parallel computing.

In addition to providing a good foundation for understanding the CFD equations used in commercial software solvers, much of this book focuses on solving turbulence problems and providing guidelines for effective mesh generation that leads to stable converging solutions.  It is very useful for those who use CFD software and want to get a better understanding of the inner workings of the equations used by software developers and want to create more accurate simulations.  Many of the details are explained regarding especially turbulence equations since these are non-linear and generally the most difficult and computationally expensive parts of a model to simulate.  Oftentimes, the user does not know what turbulence model to use or what values to use for the many parameters associated with turbulence equations.

A very good book indeed, especially for those who use CFD modeling software to develop models for improving engineering designs or for basic scientific studies that need to model turbulence in their simulation.

Shape Memory Materials

D.I. Arun, P. Chakravarthy, R. Kumar Arockia, and B. Santhosh
CRC Press
Taylor & Francis Group
6000 Broken Sound Parkway – NW, Suite 300
Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742
Phone (800) 272-7737
Fax (800) 374-3401
ISBN 978-0-8153-5969-2
177p. $139.95 (Hardcover), 2018

Many readers may already be familiar with shape memory alloys (SMA). A material that “remembers” its original shape and that, when deformed, returns to its pre-deformed shape when heated. These materials can be a lightweight, solid-state alternative to conventional actuators such as hydraulic, pneumatic, and motor-based systems.  Two of the most prevalent SMAs are copper-aluminum-nickel, and nickel-titanium (NiTi) alloys.  While metal alloys are one type of shaped memory material (SMM), there are other types of materials used as SMM such as ceramics, gels, polymers, and composites.

This book focuses on the physical properties, mechanisms, typical materials, material development, and differences between polymeric shaped memory materials.  There are short chapters explaining the mechanisms, material properties, and applications of metal alloy, ceramic, and gel shaped memory materials.  The majority of the book then covers shaped memory polymeric (SMP) materials including mechanisms for thermoset and thermoplastic materials with various methods of crosslinking polymeric chains.  Characterization and testing include transition temperature measurements, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermo-mechanical analysis (TMA) and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), and cyclic bending tests on various polymeric SMP materials.  Physical characterization of composite polymeric, mainly mixtures of a polymer matrix with carbon nanotubes and fibers, are also presented.  High temperature shaped memory materials made from metal alloys and polymers are also discussed along with electroactive shaped memory materials covering intrinsically electrically conductive polymers, and non-electrically conductive polymers with various fillers (carbon nano-fibers, carbon black, carbon nanotubes, carbon nano-paper) added to make the polymer matrix electrically conductive. The final chapter describes future applications of shaped memory materials.

This book could be used by either those new to the technology who want to learn about shaped memory materials or by those already working in the field of shaped memory materials who want to review the latest materials and advances in shaped memory materials and get some new perspective and insight into the various types of shaped memory materials available today.

Shipboard Power Systems Design and Verification Fundamentals

M.M. Islam, Editors
IEEE Press
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Phone: (877) 762-2974
Fax: (800) 597-3299
ISBN 978-1-118-49000-6
350p. $125 (Hardcover), 2018

Shipboard electrical power systems are fundamentally different from land-based power generation and distribution systems.  They have different grounding and safety requirements and different topologies from utility-based systems.  Also, power electronics are now playing a major role in shipboard power systems.  From adjustable speed drives for propulsion systems and variable speed drives for auxiliary applications, today’s marine based requirements have moved from low-voltage (LV) power systems into the medium-voltage (MV) range due to ever increasing power requirements – up to multi-megawatts.

System design has become very challenging as power systems have migrated from LV ungrounded generation and distribution with a simple ground detection system to a high-resistance grounding system with complex power generation and distribution requirements.  This book provides step-by-step details of widely accepted design applications for new shipboard power system design fundamentals.  These design rules are somewhat different for different classes of ships such as commercial ships, military, and offshore floating rigs.  Each has their own unique application and safety requirements that must be met.  This book fully explains these requirements with an emphasis on following established IEC and ANSI standards.

The book begins with an overview of system generation and distribution design topics and requirements.  A few of the examples covered include LV and MV system layouts including generation sources, design verification, busbar dimensions, emergency power system design, and protection and coordination with fault current calculations.  Very in-depth details are provided along with the corresponding standards for each power system design are provided to insure compliance with current standards and design practice.  Grounding and insulation monitoring methods are presented, which are crucial for the safety and protection of these systems. Shore power LV and MV power systems are described.  Smart ship system design (S3D) techniques, which use physics-based modeling and simulation to model a power system and verify operation, are also described.  Electrical safety and details of IEEE 1584 arc flash analysis are discussed in relation to shipboard applications.

Any reader involved with marine or shipboard power system generation and/or distribution will find this book extremely helpful as a guide for designing these systems and insuring compliance with existing standards.

Finite Element Simulations Using ANSYS, 2nd Edition

E.M. Alawadhi
CRC Press
Taylor & Francis Group
6000 Broken Sound Parkway – NW, Suite 300
Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742
Phone (800) 272-7737
Fax (800) 374-3401
ISBN 978-1-4822-6197-4
434p. $150 (Hardcover), 2016

ANSYS is a popular finite element modeling software (ANSYS, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania).  It can be used for modeling a variety of mechanical, electrical, magnetic, thermal, fluid dynamic problems.  This book focuses on the use of ANSYS for mechanical engineering problems.

Each chapter in the book is dedicated to one area of mechanical engineering.  These areas cover structures, solid mechanics, vibration, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and two Multiphysics problems.  Each chapter begins by briefly describing the required basic knowledge of the finite element method relevant to each physical problem being solved. For each of these areas, the essential physics and theory are first explained, relevant equations are derived, modeling techniques are presented, and lastly practical problems are solved using ANSYS with step-by-step techniques shown.

Since the finite element method is greatly affected by the quality of the mesh, a full chapter is devoted to meshing and meshing techniques, providing excellent insight into commonly encountered reasons why so many models fail to converge or produce erroneous results.  Meshing is an essential part of the modeling process and needs to be correct.

This book provides mechanical engineering students and working engineers with the basic fundamental knowledge of numerical simulation using ANSYS.  The examples and background provided will allow those new to modeling to quickly gain confidence and begin to accurately model complex mechanical problems.  While this is a very good book for mechanical analysis, there are other additional resources available online from ANSYS or other books that cover electrical machines and other applications involving electromagnetics.

Awards & Recognitions

The Bill McDermid Test Hall at Manitoba Hydro

On October 18, 2018, DEIS Treasurer Bill McDermid was honored for contributing 55 years of unparalleled service to Manitoba Hydro. To celebrate McDermid’s accomplishments, an event was held at Manitoba Hydro Place in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. At the event, McDermid was presented with a plaque that dedicates the main Test Hall at Manitoba Hydro’s High Voltage Test Facility to him and effectively renames it “The Bill McDermid Test Hall.”

McDermid graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1961. After spending a year with Ontario Hydro, he began working at Manitoba Hydro in the Protection and Controls area. He became involved with insulation testing of rotating machines in the mid-1960s, but eventually, his scope increased to insulation tests of all types of electrical apparatus in a time when Manitoba Hydro was building new generating stations and HVDC transmission lines/converter stations. In the late 1970s, McDermid was a monitor for an Ontario Hydro research project sponsored by CEA that aimed to develop methods for monitoring on-line partial discharge activity on rotating machines. These methods are used by many utilities to this day. Since then, McDermid continued to lead Manitoba Hydro’s insulation testing program and was manager of the Insulation Engineering and Testing group for about six years. McDermid helped successfully implement the use of low voltage capacitance bridges at Manitoba Hydro, and he played a crucial role in envisioning, planning, justifying, building, and commissioning Manitoba Hydro’s state-of-the-art High Voltage Test Facility.

Since the mid-1960s, McDermid has attended dozens of conferences and working group meetings, contributing many papers and developing guides and standards along the way. McDermid is chair of the IEEE 1434 working group, which developed a guide for partial discharge measurement of rotating machinery, and CSA C50, which produced documents related to mineral oil for transformers, switches, etc. He has been involved with many other working groups and technical committees. He received the IEEE Fellow designation in 2005 for his work on rotating machine insulation testing, and he also received the IEEE DEIS Eric O. Forster Distinguished Service Award in 2013.

Although “retired” from Manitoba Hydro, McDermid is still working and is actively involved in the DEIS, attending conferences and working group meetings throughout the year.