High Voltage


The High Voltage Research Programme is a long standing research programme within the Electric Power Research Group . This is an ongoing and well-established programme in the School of Electrical and & Information Engineering whose mission is to contribution expert knowledge and skills in the fields of high voltage, lightning/EMC, computational electromagnetics and power system engineering. It aims to establish a sound base in research and teaching in the various associated disciplines and is committed to being a world key player in contributing expert knowledge. It views research and teaching in these disciplines as a critical ingredient economic growth as well social well-being of the region.

It focuses on the study of insulation systems - with emphasis on liquid, gaseous and solid dielectrics. The group has one the best equipped teaching laboratories.

The Programme is headed up by Prof Ian Jandrell and enjoys strong support from industry.


Research Projects - Principle Achievements

External Insulation

  1. A study to show which components of corona activity cause ageing of Silicone Rubber insulation
  2. A study to investigate the roles of partial arcs and UV light on ageing of epoxy resin insulation
  3. A study to identify the low-probability mechanisms present in flashovers on long insulator strings in clean and highly humid conditions.

Power Transformers

  1. The modelling of short-circuit forces in power transformers and comparing the predictions with actual measurements
  2. Partial discharge diagnostics in on-line monitoring

Compressed Gas Insulation

  1. A detailed study of all aspects of pre-breakdown discharge activity to characteristics defect types
  2. A comparison of measured partial discharge magnitudes using the IEC 270 method and the UHF method, with a view to calibrating the UHF method
  3. The measurement of partial discharge activity under switching surge conditions with a view to developing a non-intrusive on-site test

System Studies

  1. The quantisation and control of disconnector generated interference at EHV.

National Contacts

Close collaboration exists with teaching and research in High Voltage Engineering at both the Universities of Natal and Stellenbosch. We have also assisted with laboratory resources for PG students from UCT and Durban Westville.

Close collaboration exists with the Vaal Triangle Technikon in the development of an HV cable research programme. Prof Reynders is acting as advisor on the project, and Prof Jandrell is acting as Study Leader at the Technikon. Prof Jandrell also acts as external examiner for their High Voltage course at the Vaal Triangle Technikon and Technikon South Africa.


International Contacts

Prof Reynders is a member of the Steering Committee of the International Symposium on High Voltage Engineering (ISH).

Prof Reynders and Dr Van Coller are very active in Cigré working groups. These are international groups and form a very comprehensive network.

Collaborative work on insulator materials is being undertaken with EPRI in the USA through Dr Andy Phillips.

We have had a collaborative project with the University of Harare.

Industrial Liaison

The High Voltage Research programme is represented on the Steering Committee/Technical Committees/Working Groups etc of:

  • Eskom
  • NRS
  • SABS
  • IEC
  • Cigré
  • ISH

Financial Support

The programme benefits considerably from generous financial support from Eskom's Tertiary Education Support Programme. Research is further supported through contracts with Mace Technology and Eskom.


Title Publication Name Authors Year published
The Development of Questions to Determine the Effectiveness of the Incident Investigation Process for Electrical Incidents Industry Applications, IEEE Transactions
Zarheer Jooma
Jessica Hutchings
Hugh Hoagland
Investigation into the Role of Singlet Oxygen in Positive Corona in Air SAIEE Africa Research Journal
A.G. Swanson
I.R. Jandrell
Lightning and Fiction: An Engineer Reads Phaswane Mpe's Brooding Clouds Current Writing: Text and Reception Estelle Trengove 2015
Lightning myths in southern Africa Natural Hazards
E. Trengove
I.R. Jandrell
Predicting the remaining life of medium voltage vacuum switchgear used in distribution networks Proceedings of the 23rd South African Universities Power Engineering Conference (SAUPEC 2015)
J. O’Reilly
J.M. van Coller
N. Smit
Apparent soil structures relevant to buried earth electrodes in South Africa – a research proposal Proceedings of the 23rd South African Universities Power Engineering Conference (SAUPEC 2015) P. H. Pretorius 2015
Investigating the concept of Fraunhofer lines as a potential method to detect corona in the wavelength region 338.67nm – 405nm during the day Proceedings of the 23rd South African Universities Power Engineering Conference (SAUPEC 2015)
N. Maistry
J.M. van Coller
R.A. Schutz
Implementation of a rotor angle measurement method using synchrophasor techniques Proceedings of the 23rd South African Universities Power Engineering Conference (SAUPEC 2015)
B.W.D. Berry
M.A. Edwards
K.J. Nixon
Lightning return stroke behavior with reference to lightning electromagnetic fields Proceedings of the 23rd South African Universities Power Engineering Conference (SAUPEC 2015)
C.W.I. McAfee
K.J. Nixon
A comparative study of surface partial discharge parameters at very low frequency (VLF) and power frequency test voltages Proceedings of the 23rd South African Universities Power Engineering Conference (SAUPEC 2015)
S. Chimunda
C. Chidzikwe
C. Nyamupangedengu