POLYMAT

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Sch of of Electronics and Computer Sci

Abstract

Two of the most critical global challenges currently being faced are energy security and climate change. In the UK, more than £100 bn of investment in new UK power stations and grid infrastructure is projected within the next decade, both to replace ageing plant and to allow for the incorporation of renewable sources. Such changes will involve a paradigm shift in the ways in which we generate and transmit electricity. Since a central element of all items of power plant is electrical insulation, meeting our future challenges through the deployment of new innovative plant, this will require the development and exploitation of new high performance insulation material systems.

Polymer nanocomposites have demonstrated clear potential, but the lack of detailed understanding of the underlying physics and chemistry is a major impediment to the technological realisation of this potential. In certain laboratory studies, nanodielectrics materials have out-performed unfilled and traditional micro-composite insulating materials. However, entirely contrary results have also been elsewhere. Undoubtedly, this variability in macroscopic behaviour comes about as a consequence of our inability to define and control the key factors that dictate the dielectric behaviour of nanocomposites. The overarching aim of this project is to resolve this issue such that the potential of dielectric nanocomposites - nanodielectrics - can be fully exploited. As such, the project is totally aligned with the EPSRC Materials for Energy theme in which it is accepted that "in the field of advanced materials it will be necessary to strengthen approaches to the rational design and characterisation of advanced materials and their integration into structures and systems". It also aligns with the Advanced Materials theme of the "Eight Great Technologies", it which it is accepted that "these materials are essential to 21st century manufacturing in a UK market worth £170 billion per annum and representing 15er cent of GDP".

Our research hypothesis is that the macroscopic properties of nanodielectrics cannot be reliably controlled without understanding the processes that occur at the interfaces between the matrix material and the nanoparticles, because these regions directly affect two critical issues. First, interfacial interactions will affect the nanoparticle dispersion, which has a major bearing on many physical properties and, second, the nature of the interface determines the local density of states in the system, and thereby the material's overall electrical characteristics. To understand such local processes is challenging and we propose to do this through a combination of computation simulation and experiment, where both aspects are closely aligned, thereby allowing the simulation to direct experiment and the experimental result to refine the simulation. The work programme has been divided in 3 distinct themes, which will progressively move the work from fundamentals to exploitation. Theme 1 will therefore concentrate on model systems, where simulation and experiment can be most closely aligned. Theme 2 will then seek to deploy the key messages to the development of technologically relevant systems and processes. Throughout, Theme 3 will engage with a range of stakeholders that will range from key industry players (equipment manufacturer s, energy utilities, standards bodies) to the general public t maximise the reach and significance of its ultimate impact (economic, environmental, societal). We see the involvement of our Industrial Users Group as being particularly important, both in helping to guide the project and in terms of ensuring acceptance of the technologies that will ultimately arise.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The mechanisms by which charge carriers move through complex, disordered polymeric materials are poorly understood. By experimentally contrasting a number of simple model alkane systems (necessary to try to bridge the gap between experiment and simulation), our results strongly suggest that charge transport through polymer crystals occurs, at most, very slightly.
Exploitation Route The above has massive scientific implications and could, technologically, lead to the deliberate design of new low conductivity insulation systems (for use in high voltage DC applications) based on fundamentals not empiricism.
Sectors Energy

 
Description Industrial Users Group 
Organisation Accelrys
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Engagement with potential industrial beneficiaries
Collaborator Contribution Contribution to research direction and subsequent impact generation.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Industrial Users Group 
Organisation Alstom
Department Alstom Grid
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Engagement with potential industrial beneficiaries
Collaborator Contribution Contribution to research direction and subsequent impact generation.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Industrial Users Group 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Engagement with potential industrial beneficiaries
Collaborator Contribution Contribution to research direction and subsequent impact generation.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Are We Really Ready for Electric Vehicles Talk: IET Conference: "EV and the Grid", Coventry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://ready4ecars.southampton.ac.uk/
 
Description Are We Really Ready for Electric Vehicles Talk: IET Friday Lunch Lecture Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ready4ecars.southampton.ac.uk/
 
Description Are We Really Ready for Electric Vehicles Talk: Ross on Wye U3A Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://ready4ecars.southampton.ac.uk/
 
Description Are We Really Ready for Electric Vehicles Talk: St Benedictus School, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://ready4ecars.southampton.ac.uk/
 
Description Are We Really Ready for Electric Vehicles Talk: invited talk at UKDF 2018 conference in Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description From Tesla to Hydrogen: IEEE student chapter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture followed by debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description From Tesla to Hydrogen: Imperial College Students Energy Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture followed by debate
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Public Engagement Talk: Hardenhuish School A level students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 18/1/16: lecture followed by a debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Public Engagement Talk: University of Southampton IEEE Student Chapter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 7/12/15: lecture followed by interactive debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Aberdeen RSC Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Alfresford 'Hampshire Science Group' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 25/1/16: lecture followed by debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Alresford Probus Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Atlantic College 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Chichester Probus Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Chichester U3A 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lecture followed by debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Hardenhuish School Wiltshire 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Lecture followed by debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Havant Science Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lecture followed by debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Monmouth U3A Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Portsmouth CafĂ© Scientifique 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Reading University Pre-sessional Masters Course 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture followed by debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Reading University Pre-sessional Masters Course 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Sherfield School 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Solent Retired Members Section of IET 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Southampton University Teachers CPD Course 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dialogue with teachers used for surveying their needs for the website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Tadley U3A 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 18/2/16: Lecture followed by debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Teachers Away Day, Weatherby School, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Testwood School Gifted and Talented Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 1/2/16: lecture followed by debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Warwickshire WI 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Wiltshire WI 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Wokingham U3A 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lecture followed by debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Wokingham U3A 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Please Don't Buy an Electric Car Talk: Worthing U3A 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation followed by discussion session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017