Electrical Insulation Research Center

IMS and Electrical Insulation Research Center Welcomes Wesley Zhong

Wesley Zhong
EIRC Lab Manager, Wesley Zhong

Wesley Zhong has joined the Institute of Materials Science (UConn IMS) as the new lab manager for the Electrical Insulation Research Center (EIRC).  His specialties include high voltage safety, electrial insulation testing, partial discharge detection, experiment build and design, extreme environment testing, power electronics testing, technical writing, Lean Six Sigma and equipment maintenance and calibration.

Wesley earned his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology from Purdue University where he served as an undergraduate teaching assistant.  Additionally, he served as He worked as a dielectrics specialist at GE Global Research for the past five years designing, building, and running HV dielectric experiments involving aviation, power electronics, and motor/generators design.

Under the direction of Dr. Yang Cao, the Electrical Insulation Research Center has extensive facilities for characterizing the electrical properties of insulating materials used in electrical apparatus including distribution and transmission networks, rotating machinery component, electrostatic/electro-responsive devices, capacitive energy storage, and more.

Please join us in welcoming Wesley to UConn and IMS!

Yang Cao in Collaboration on Project Funded by ARPA-E OPEN 2021

Yang Cao
Dr. Yang Cao

On February 14, 2022, ARPA-E announced $175 million for 68 OPEN 2021 research and development projects aimed at developing disruptive technologies to strengthen the nation’s advanced energy enterprise. These high-impact, high-risk technologies support novel approaches to clean energy challenges.

Associate Professor and Electrical Insulation Resource Center (EIRC) Director Yang Cao and fellow researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) will combine the functionality benefits of power electronics with the power density benefits of high-voltage cables to create a cohesive, all-in-one structure to replace bulky, inflexible power substations in today’s electrical grid. This “substation within a cable” design uses a cascade of coaxial power conversion cells to gradually step-down voltage to levels required by the loads. Virginia Tech’s module can achieve high power density and a form factor that enables seamless integration with the cable by mimicking a coaxial geometry design. This could eliminate the need for large and expensive power substations and enable simple integration of renewable energy sources, an electric vehicle fast-charging infrastructure, energy storage, and efficient direct current distribution lines.

The research project, Substation in a Cable for Adaptable, Low-cost Electrical Distribution (SCALED) has received $2,953,389 in funding support through the ARPA-E OPEN 2021 initiative.