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Research interests

Currently Jonathan is concerned to build a team to develop reliability engineering science to enable the prediction of electrical component/system reliability under harsh operating conditions. The science that underlies analysis and modelling of component/system reliability is still in its infancy. Most ageing models are a collection of equations generally describing a system from a phenomenological perspective and are limited mainly to that specific system under examination. This has generated a vast array of ageing models based on many different physical principles with many different variables. From an engineering perspective this approach has been adequate within specified limits. However, Jonathan is concerned to develop the physics of component ageing from a fundamental thermodynamics approach and thus develop a generalised theory of ageing (or importantly system robustness) from the bottom upwards.

Three facilities are under development in this research at Heriot-Watt:-

  • The 3D X-Ray Computer Tomography Facility is to aid defect analysis to better understand the physics of failure of electrical and electromechanical devices.
  • The High Current Test Facility is to aid the understanding of degradation processes in high current connectors and wiring in electrical vehicles.
  • The GreenGlean Research Facility uses the micro-systems fabrication facilities within the School to build a suite of macro-systems manufacturing tools for fundamental research of novel materials for energy converter devices.

See also ReliabilityZoo.com for a collection of resources related to Reliability Engineering.


Jonathan Swingler is Senior Lecturer in Energy at Heriot-Watt University within the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (Electrical Engineering). Over the last twenty years he has developed an extensive expertise in the reliability of electrical systems following positions at Loughborough University and the University of Southampton. His work has particularly focused on electrical contacts and interconnecting in automotive and aerospace systems. He has more than 60 publications, is a reviewer for many leading journal publications, acts as an Expert Witness concerning failure of components and patent disputes, and is a proposal evaluator and project reviewer for the European Commission. He is a chartered physicist and is actively involved with the Institute of Physics. He is the Honorary Treasurer for the Dielectrics Group and was Chair of the Dielectric2011 International Conference and is Chair for the 28th International Conference on Electrical Contacts

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Research Output

Analysis of Flashover Mitigation Measures to Improve the Lightning Performance of Transmission Lines

Koehler, F. & Swingler, J., 13 Dec 2018, 2018 53rd International Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC). IEEE, 8541886

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  • Breakdown Process Experiments of Cap-and-Pin Insulators and their EMT Leader-Progression Model Implementation

    Koehler, F., Swingler, J. & Peesapati, V., 30 Jan 2018, In : IET Generation, Transmission and Distribution. 12, 2, p. 448–454 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 127 Downloads (Pure)

    Practical model for tower earthing systems in lightning simulations

    Koehler, F. & Swingler, J., May 2018, In : Electric Power Systems Research. 158, p. 306–314

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    210 Downloads (Pure)

    Unconventional flashover mitigation measures to improve the lightning performance of transmission lines

    Koehler, F. & Swingler, J., 21 May 2018, IET International Conference on Resilience of Transmission and Distribution Networks (RTDN 2017). Institution of Engineering and Technology

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  • A 3D contact analysis approach for the visualization of the electrical contact asperities

    Roussos, C. & Swingler, J., Jan 2017, In : AIP Advances. 7, 1

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    3 Citations (Scopus)
    29 Downloads (Pure)