AMPACIMON - Research Project

This project is now converted into a spin-off company (from July 2010)

TITLE : Microsystem Array for Live High Voltage Lines Monitoring: Vibrations, Ampacity and Wear

The title "Ampacimon"(registered trademark) , short form for "Ampacity Monitoring", has been choosen in relation with very recent development in microsystem inside the Belgium research team of ARAMIS ( named the "Mécapuce" project. Exchange between collegues inside Montefiore department has pointed out a very attractive possible use of such methodology on a huge market based on worldwide electrical transmission system real time diagnosis.
The goal of the project is to develop a system for reliable real time computation of the "Ampacity", the instantaneous current carrying capability of an overhead power transmission line, taking into account environmental circumstances and material health.

Partners :

Pr. J. Destiné (coordinator), microelectronics,
Pr Jeab-Louis Lilien, Transmission and Distribution of Electrical Energy ,
Pr C. Jamar, Space Research,

What we are looking for ?

AEOLIAN VIBRATION: a high frequency (5 to 80 Hz) , low amplitude (conductor diameter) conductor vibration due to Von Karman vortex shedding.
AMPACITY: the real time ampere capacity of a specific line. This is in relation with ground clearances (safety aspects) which are dependent of conductor sag, thus on conductor temperature. This last is depending on ambiant temperature, actual current in the phase wire, wind speed, solar radiation, etc...
GALLOPING VIBRATION: a low frequency (0.1 to 1 Hz), large amplitude (up to 10 meters) of conductor vibration due to aeroelastic instability.
WAKE INDUCED VIBRATION: a medium frequency (2-5 Hz), medium amplitude (some tens of centimeters) of conductor vibration in bundle conductors, due to aerodynamic instability related to the modification of lift and drag of the leewards conductor in the wake of a windwards conductor.

Project Summary

The "Mécapuce" project, in which two main partners, including the promoter of this project, were active, has demonstrated the feasibility of a microsystem able to evaluate 3-axis vibrations in civil engineering structures. The system is radio connected to a base station.

Such microsystems have a broad domain of applications, but require new developments for each one, depending on environment (Electromagnetic Compatibility-EMC, pollution, environmental constraints, etc...). These new developments concern both the hardware and the software.
Ampacimon project is concerned with a very specific world market in which Montefiore Institute has a sound knowledge worldwide recognized: electrical power transmission lines.
Our intention is to extend, develop and test the ideas developed in the "Mécapuce" project and add new ones to give real time access to data about many power lines malfunctions which could not be observed until now and for which many utilities in the world are looking for.

To adapt the generic remote sensor concept to that field, specific algorithms will have to be developed, to extract the state of the monitored line from the stream of raw data.
The radio connection to the ground station has to be adapted to the application, for instance by designing an antenna shape that withstands "corona effect" and indirect lightning, and the data transfer to ground has to be made compatible with the latest techniques of remote access including Internet via cable or wireless protocol.

There is also a need for a dedicated autonomous power supply allowing to store, process and transmit information. Such a local supply is also application dependent and should be maintenance free. We intend to generate the power needed for the system in original ways.
Finally, the survival of microelectronic components in high electric and magnetic fields is a challenging problem that has to be solved.
As the basic costs of the differents parts of the system are obviously very small, we may imagine to propose a cost reduction of a factor 10 compared to actual mechanical devices which are unable to propose the same spectrum of results that we could do. The same factor may also be obtained for the weight of the system which is of paramount importance in our targeted application.

This project started September 2003


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