The University of Southampton

Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory (TDHVL)

The Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory (TDHVL) is a world class centre for research into dielectric materials and insulation systems, as well as high voltage and related phenomena. The lab houses state-of-the-art facilities and is supported by a specialist engineering team who are all actively involved in internationally leading research.  We are also a commercial testing house and offer a consultancy service. 


Although predominantly a research centre, the TDHVL can offer some undergraduate and MSc students a unique opportunity to work alongside our world leading research staff and PhD students conducting experiments in the HV lab.  Those working with a TDHVL academic may also conduct some of their third year, fourth year, or MSc project work in the lab which, in some circumstances, can permit undergraduate students to collaborate with TDHVL researchers to get their work published.  

Facilities and equipment

The lab comprises the following areas:

  • High Voltage Test Lab
  • Medium Voltage Test Lab
  • Materials Characterisation Lab
  • Materials Preparation Room

The laboratory facilities include:

  • 2 main high voltage halls
  • 15 discrete high-voltage test areas
  • Temperature and humidity controlled room 5-50oC, 10-80%RH
  • Faraday room
  • Environmental / Salt-fog chamber
  • Materials Laboratory for electrical, thermal, mechanical and optical characterisation
  • Partial Discharge, Capacitance and Tan Delta measurements
  • Sample Preparation Room
  • Forensic Rooms (X-ray analysis, Raman microprobe and IR spectroscopy)
  • Specialist HV engineering workshop

HV Supplies within the laboratory:

  • 1MV / 50kJ lightning and switching impulse generator
  • 300kV AC, pd free
  • 600kV DC

MV Supplies:

  • 280kV lightning and switching impulse generator
  • 200kV AC, pd free
  • 140kV DC
  • Range of current transformers (to 3kA)

Vacuum Systems:

  • Bi-Turbo Vacuum Chamber (Ultra-High throughput vacuum system)
  • Vertical Vaccum Chamber (Thermal testing capabilties)
  • Spherical Vacuum Chamber

Read more about the facilities and testing capabilities of the High Voltage lab


Wide ranging and cutting edge research carried out in the lab includes:

  • Condition monitoring
  • Environmental monitoring
  • High temperature superconducting power apparatus
  • Liquid dielectrics
  • Marine energy
  • Plasma and space science
  • Solid dielectrics
  • Space and surface change

Read more about the impact of Southampton's research into reliable cable systems for energy security.

Business and Testing Capabilities

TDHVL offers commercial testing, technical consultancy and a modelling/simulation service to support industrial customers through a range of activities including:

  • Development testing
  • Type approval
  • Material characterisation
  • Forensic Analysis
  • FEA modelling (mechanical, thermal, electrical)