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## Partial discharges and their measurement

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The study of partial discharges is not an academic pursuit. It is driven by a very practical desire, a desire to understand a phenomenon which can be utilised to infer the level of integrity within the insulation systems of high voltage plant and which, in itself, constitutes a serious stress degradation mechanism. The role of partial discharge studies remains twofold: to enable the development of new insulating systems which are resistant to partial discharge stressing and to predict remnant life for existing plant systems. To this end, studies in partial discharges involve a balance a balance between understanding the phenomenon and being able to measure it. On one side lies the understanding of how partial discharges cause degradation, and which are the key parameters of activity to be measured. On the other side lies the ability to make the measurement, often under very adverse conditions.Partial discharges are localised gaseous breakdowns which can occur within any plant system provided the electric stress conditions are appropriate. Because the breakdown is only local, failing to result in a following current flow, it is described as partial.

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