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PhD Studentship: Combined effects of electromechanical and thermal stresses on power cables for offshore renewable energy

University of Southampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 tax-free stipend per year.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 19th March 2019
Expires: 19th May 2019

Supervisor: Thomas Andritsch             

Co-supervisor: James Pilgrim

Project description

In 2018 the UK power industry has managed to generate more than 30% of electrical power from renewables, the majority of this coming from wind turbines. The offshore wind industry is sitting at a turning point: projects with traditional fixed foundations will soon be completed, and the first floating turbines have been deployed. In order to create a carbon-neutral, all-electric future in the UK, these floating turbines must be successful. 

Until now, the vast majority of subsea high voltage power cables used in the renewable energy industry have been designed as mechanically static systems, meaning they are not supposed to undergo significant movement after installation. The renewable power industry is making rapid gains towards the development of floating offshore wind platforms as well as wave and tidal stream generators. In order for these technologies to succeed, they need to produce reliable power with little maintenance for at least 25 years, with the power cable being the potential weak link in terms of reliability. 

Current life calculations for cable systems are based on only the metallic elements (conductor, screen, armour), completely neglecting the effect of fatigue on the insulating material. This project aims to analyse and understand the failure modes in power cables. In order to achieve this both experimental and simulation work needs to be performed. Experimental data needs to be obtained in the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory and then implemented in a comprehensive model to predict the ageing mechanisms of the insulation. 

Existing cable models for offshore renewables consider electrical, thermal and mechanical loadings of cables independently and in a simplified manner. Such an approach completely neglecting potential compounding effects due to these three types of stresses acting simultaneously on power cables connecting floating wind turbines to land. 

Please contact: for further details. 

Key facts

Entry requirements: first or upper second-class degree or equivalent; electrical engineering, mechatronic engineering, physics or mathematics degree desirable; experience in a laboratory environment and/or with finite element software desirable. 

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2019 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place. 

Duration: four years (full-time) 

Funding: full tuition fees, for UK/EU students, and a tax-free stipend of £14,777 per year 

Assessment: Nine month and 18 month reports, viva voce and thesis examination 

Start date: typically September 


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