Program Director' Recommendation Planning Grant: I/UCRC for Novel High Voltage Transmission Materials

1238139 University of Denver; Maciej Kumosa 1238275 Michigan Technological University; Gregory Odegard 1238331 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Iwona Jasiuk

The proposed Center, comprised of the University of Denver (UD as the lead institution), Michigan Technological University (MTU) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), will focus on improving the design of the next generation High Voltage transmission (HV/T) conductors.

The current designs of high voltage conductors based on steel (for strength) and aluminum (for conduction) strands used in regional grids exhibit several limitations. Primarily, they are limited by their propensity to sag at elevated temperatures. Through extensive collaborations amongst the sites of the proposed Center and with several leading US industries and national laboratories, entirely new classes of HV/T materials systems and structures will be designed for a variety of high energy applications. The interdisciplinary fundamental and applied research performed in the Center will make a major impact on the understanding of the combined effects of mechanical, electrical and environmental high energy fields on traditional metallic materials, novel polymer, metallic and ceramic matrix composites, highly advanced next generation nanocomposites, coatings, and others. The PIs intend to explore new manufacturing technologies in order to improve the aging resistance of traditional low cost materials for HV/T long term applications. Finally,new monitoring, self-repair and self-healing techniques for HV/T structures will be designed as a result of the proposed research activities of the Center.

The proposed research will increase the fundamental knowledge of the effects of HV/T fields on the materials leading to major advances in (1) HV transmission engineering, (2) high energy generation and distribution systems, and (3) many other fields of engineering requiring the application of HV/T material systems. It will also create a diverse and interdisciplinary educational, research and business environment for (1) numerous undergraduate and graduate students, including those from underrepresented groups, funded by the research projects of the Center, (2) faculty members from a variety of disciplines, including junior faculty starting their academic careers, (3) utility, aerospace and national lab engineers and designers developing various types of HV/T materials and structures, (4) utility managers supervising HV transmission lines across the country, and many others. The Center will enhance the reputation of the American HV/T manufacturing around the world and, in particular, will improve the level of confidence among the potential users of novel HV/T structures in this country and around the world.

Project Report

This planning grant is associated with a large-scale proposal for a NSF-sponsored Industry/University Cooperative Research (I/UCRC) grant. The focus of the potential I/UCRC is on high-voltage (HV) and high-temperature (HT) materials and structures. The objective of the planning grant was to successfully organize a meeting with potential industry members and secure commitments to becoming center members, if the I/UCRC is selected for funding by NSF. The organizational meeting was held in Denver on the campus of the University of Denver on December 3-4, 2012. Representatives from numerous electrical transmission and aerospace organizations attended, along with university researchers and potential graduate students. During the meeting, several critical research topics were identified that need to be conducted to help secure the continued development and usage of advanced materials for high-voltage and high-temperature applications. These critical areas are: Testing and optimization of novel HT low-sag (HTLS) transmission line conductors Application of nanotechnology in HV insulation technology In-service monitoring techniques for HV/HT structures Characterization of novel metal-carbon covetics Development of new metallic HTLS conductors, aircraft wiring and other HV/HT structures for HV power transmission, aerospace, and other applications Electro/thermo/mechanical multiscale modeling of HV/HT structures Life prediction of polymer-based HV/HT structures Fabrication, characterization, testing, and modeling of novel nanocomposites for electrical conductivity and shielding effectiveness applications The interest in these research topics was great enough to secure enough committed members for the I/UCRC proposal, which was submitted to NSF in September 2013.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Lawrence A. Hornak
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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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