PI: Maarten De Boer

Co-PI(s): Michael E. McHenry

University: Carnegie Mellon University

Maarten de Boer (PI) and Michael McHenry (Co-PI) propose a project that leverages funding from Eaton Corp. to investigate improved sensing of the current in electrical power lines. Metering of the electrical current in the grid serves critical functions, including triggering circuit breakers, monitoring, and balancing power distribution. This project, to be conducted jointly with Eaton, Inc. in Moon Township, PA, seeks to improve the function of widely used Rogowski coils. These coils meter high current levels accurately, but do not meet the desired accuracy of 0.5% at low current levels. Metering accuracy is important because many systems require 0.5% accuracy for “revenue applications” (systems that perform the breaker functions for buildings and factories). Today, revenue applications use a meter separate from the circuit breaker. Providing 0.5% accuracy in the circuit breaker can eliminate the need for the separate meter. To improve their metering capability over a wide range, metal amorphous nanocomposites (MANCs), strain annealed to achieve low magnetic permeability levels, while retaining magnetically linearity up to high field levels, will be explored. The three major tasks are design, construction, and test of improved coils. Design and optimization will be performed by analytical methods and with finite element software. Construction will involve strain annealing ribbons, examining mechanics issues related to obtaining flat ribbons, tape winding cores, and finally winding coils with copper wiring. Testing will be performed at the Eaton Moon Township facility, and results will be compared with models. Ted Miller, an engineering manager from the Eaton Moon Township facility, will help guide the project and will deliver a lecture on how they function in a course on Power Magnetics that McHenry is co-teaching in Spring 2021. McHenry and de Boer will interact on a bimonthly basis with the Eaton engineering manager.