Vast urbanization and increasing pressure to meet high demand in power delivery have resulted in a significant growth in underground cable network. In addition, underground cables being a critical asset group, any outages due to their failure will result in considerable service delivery and economic impact on the operation of distribution networks.


  1. Understand the basic dielectric theory, material properties and design details of underground cables and their accessories.
  2. Understand typical failure modes and their early detection of underground cables and their accessories.
  3. Discuss in detail various off-line and on-line diagnostic tests for condition monitoring of underground cables.


No. Of Weeks Topic Sub-Topics
2 Basic dielectric theory
  • Conductors, shielded conductors, ground potentials and their influence on terminations.
  • Dielectric properties, field enhancement, equipotential, electrical insulation
2 Cable Characteristics
  • Insulation resistance; volume and surface resistances, dc charging current, voltage ratings, system impedance.
  • Dielectric loss, cable capacitances, inductive reactances, mutual inductance.
  • Ampacity, electric field, eddy currents, conductor resistance.
2 Materials and Designs
  • Paper oil, neoprene, thermoplastic, polyethylene
  • Cross linking, elastomers, polymer, cross-linked polyethylene, saline
  • Shielding, sheaths, jackets and armors
2 Degradation and failures
  • Ampacity, thermal resistivity, heat dissipation
  • Defects, high fields, treeing; electrical trees, water tress, their growth
1 Cable Manufacturing
  • Standards and Specifications, splicing, terminations, HT superconductive cables
3 Diagnostics
  • Underground System Fault Locating,
  • dissipation factor, dielectric constant, permittivity
  • Partial discharge, on-line and off-line detection techniques
  • Installation and field testing

Recommended reference books

  1. Electrical Power Cable Engineering, Editor: William A. Thue, ISBN: 978-0-8247-4303-1 (hardback) 978-0-203-97061-4 (electronic), June 2005.
  2. Power Cables and Their Application, Power Cables and their Applications: 3rd Edition, Editor: Lothar Heinhold, ISBN: 978-3-8009-1535-4, 1996.
  3. Cable Systems for High and Extra-High Voltage: Development, Manufacture, Testing, Installation and Operation of Cables and their Accessories, Egon Peschke, Rainer von Olshusen, ISBN: 978-3-89578-118-6, March 2000.

Other references

Selected papers from the field of Underground power cables; and these papers will be posted on University of Waterloo ACE.


General background in power system components and distribution networks. Knowledge of the course material from ECE 6608PD is an asset.