Professor Éric David

From conduction to insulation

January 16, 2015
Éric David is a professor in the
Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Electrical system performance is contingent not only on conduction properties but on insulation characteristics as well. Insulation design is of crucial importance and will become even more critical as a result of current and future changes to power grid architecture.

There are two main reasons for this boom. First, demand for energy is growing. The higher the voltage in the lines, the better the insulation needs to be. Second, in the years ahead, there will be an increase in the number of lines carrying direct current, bringing about new constraints and requiring the development of new properties for electrical insulation systems.

In response to these developments, researchers like Éric David are devising better-performing dielectric materials.


One of the more promising avenues of research is the use of nanocomposite systems that enhance wire insulation capacity without adding to the thickness of the insulating layer. This new class of materials is now the focus of intense research, and preliminary results have been positive.

The challenges

There is, however, a big gap between theory and practice – with a great many technical challenges to overcome. First, there’s dispersion. Nanometric strengthening of the host medium must be applied as evenly as possible. Powder additives have to be reduced to nanometric size, and the host medium must be modified to make it receptive to these particles. If the operation isn’t successful, the base material loses some of its properties.

The stakes are high, and research in this area receives strong support from organizations such as Hydro-Québec, which takes a keen interest in Professor David’s work.

About Éric David

Éric David is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS). His research activities involve both mechanical and electrical engineering. Electrical system insulation is a rapidly evolving field.

For information
Chantal Crevier
Service des communications - ÉTS
514 396-8800, poste 7893

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