Internship – Kinematic study and mechanical deformation of vacuum interrupter contacts (F/M)

SuperGrid Institute

Posted 3 weeks ago

SuperGrid Institute brings together 180 employees, of 28 different nationalities who work together within a dynamic environment in the city of Lyon. As an independent research and innovation center, we are dedicated to developing technologies for the future power transmission system, the “supergrid”, including HVDC & MVDC technologies.

As a multi-disciplinary research center with advanced simulation capabilities & multiple test platforms, including numerous associated laboratories, SuperGrid Institute uses its comprehensive expertise to provide a wide range of services and solutions to support our customers in developing power systems, equipment and components. We specialise in system architecture and work on ensuring network security and stability while allowing for the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources. Find out more by visiting our website:

General Context

SuperGrid Institute develops and manufactures its own vacuum interrupter design. The contacts, cathode and anode, are the two masterpieces of a vacuum interrupter. Each contact contains a coil that creates the necessary magnetic field to interrupt the current at contacts separation, and a cylindrical conduct that holds the coil and ensures its connection with the external environment. This internship subject consists of studying the kinematics at the closing phase of the contacts and their collision, as well as their deformation that results from repeating this closing maneuver several thousands of times during the life cycle of a vacuum interrupter. A dedicated mock-up has been designed in order to have visual access on the contacts and the possibility to vary some key parameters.

Objectives / Missions

The intern mission is the study of the contacts collision and their deformation in respect to the dominant physical factors such as the kinetic energy, the elastic spring energy and the number of maneuvers.

The objectives of the internship are:

  • To realize experimental test campaigns with high speed camera.
  • To post-treat and analyze the measurement data and the videos using Matlab/Octave programming.
  • To improve the mock-up regarding the maneuvers automation.
  • To realize numerical simulations using COMSOL and to compare them to the experimental results if there is enough time.
  • To draw the conclusions on the contacts design and to propose an improvement if possible (from a pure mechanical point of view).

Candidate Profile

Mechanical engineering (école d’ingénieur ou Master Universitaire).


Attraction to experimental work

Knowledge in Matlab/Octave programming is required

Skills in numerical simulation is required, a previous experience using COMSOL is a plus

Other information

The application has to include the internship title, candidate name, CV and the most recent marks. Applications should be sent to the following address:

SuperGrid Institute is an equal opportunities employer. We respect and value the diversity of our employees, their backgrounds and their professional experience. We believe in equality and take affirmative action to ensure that discrimination has no place in our recruitment process nor our company.

Job Features

Job CategoryInternship
Contract TypeInternship
Duration6 months
Start DateSeptember 2020
Qualification requiredH0B0

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