Construction of an electric field sensor

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Dr. Kiss István
Department of Electric Power Engineering

Electric and magnetic fields are generated by phenomena such as the Earth’s magnetic field, thunderstorms and the use of electricity. In the atmosphere, static electric fields (also referred to as electrostatic fields) occur naturally, in fair weather, and especially under thunderclouds.Electric and magnetic fields are also generated by all power sources, including conductors, wiring, tools and appliances. The fields increase with the magnitude of the power source, but dramatically decrease with distance from the source conductor or wiring. Electric fields come from unbalanced electric charges on conductors. The electric field acts on charged particles – like electrons or protons. It can cause these particles to move leading to the flow of electric current.

Nowadays Electric field sensors measure the local, atmospheric electric field at the earths’ surface and the fluctuations in field strength. By monitoring the field strength, the potential for cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning discharges can be detected, and advance warning can be made when conditions are becoming favorable for lightning. Electric field sensors are also used to measure of surface charge on materials near electronic equipment to prevent arcing which can destroy sensitive electronic components and to measurement of the electric fields under power lines to investigate potential health risks from exposure to electromagnetic fields..

This project aims to introduce the types of electric field sensors, evaluate advantage and disadvantage of each type of electric field sensors and the limits of their ability, investigate the operation of electrical part of an electric field sensor, more specific create a calculation of transfer characteristic and determine the necessary electronic components. On this project, the design of the electric circuit is made in a program called TINA and design a simple circuit without moving elements. The initial idea is to convert an AC current signal to voltage and amplify it. In order to check the operation and calculation, the design model is tested in the laboratory, modify and replace elements if necessary. Measuring and evaluating results of this project can give suggestions about the installation of field mills.


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