The Whitehead Memorial Lecture

The Whitehead Memorial Lecture is named in honor of Dr. John Boswell Whitehead, a pioneer in electrical insulation and dielectrics and a long-time contributor to the CEIDP.  The Conference opens each year with the Lecture and it is the keynote session of the Conference.  The 2019 Whitehead Memorial Lecture will be given by Prof. Erling Ildstad from Electric Power Department, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway.

The Whitehead Lecture 2019: Challenging Defects of High Voltage Insulation Systems

AbstractThe primary function of high voltage insulation is to prevent the flow of electrical current between oppositely charged conductors. In many cases a gas or a liquid is preferred as insulation, but some kind of solid insulation is always needed to keep the energized conductors mechanically separated. This means that a high voltage insulation system constitute several type of materials, designed to withstand the mechanical stress as well as the electrical and environmental stresses applied during the long expected service life of a power apparatus. In practice, such composite insulation systems therefore contain interfaces, impurities and imperfections that in many cases are very costly to get rid of. In some cases, additives are also necessary for the manufacturing process or to enhance particular material properties, for instance to provide sufficient oxidation stability and mechanical strength.

In this lecture it will be shown how important characteristic properties as electrical conduction, dielectric loss, ageing and electrical breakdown strength are limited by typical impurities of solid and liquid dielectrics.  In addition to presenting selected physical mechanisms regarding the impact of ions, particles and interfaces, main emphasis will be directed towards what have to be developed in order to advance the science of High Voltage engineering.

Erling Ildstad received a M.Sc. degree in Physics in 1978 and a Ph.D. degree in Electrical power engineering in 1982, both from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway. He has been a full-time Professor of High Voltage engineering at NTNU since 1993, and has until 2017 served as the head of the Electric Power Department for 13 years. His main research activity includes development of insulation systems for AC and DC power cables, diagnostic testing of power apparatus, electrical conduction-, ageing- and breakdown mechanisms of high Voltage insulation systems.