The Dielectrics and Electrostatics Group

Dielectrics and Electrostatics are multi-disciplinary in character, with considerable overlap in subject areas of interest.

Membership is truly multidisciplinary, with a membership drawn from industrial companies, universities and research associations, with members involved in the preparation of national and international standards.  We share interests with a number of other IOP groups with whom we organise joint meetings: Biological Physics; Environmental Physics; Ion and Plasma Surface Interactions; and Polymer Physics.

Electrostatics is one of the most important groups of physical phenomena, influencing the behaviour of nature on the extremely large and extremely small scales. Examples range in size from atmospheric electricity, through the balloon sticking to your ceiling, all the way down to MEMs, biological interactions and the interactions of molecules. Electrostatics also has wide technological importance, with electrostatic based processes such as electrostatic liquid and powder spraying, pollution control with electrostatic precipitators and electro-reprography. There is also a widening awareness of 'static' problems, owing mainly to the diversification of the use of insulating polymeric materials and to the extensive manufacture of electrically delicate electronic components such as field-effect transistors and integrated circuits.

The group is also focussed on the international development and dissemination of dielectrics research, application, measurement and interpretation in a wide range of non-metallic solids, liquids and gases.  Many of our members are interested in electrical breakdown phenomena and the effects of high field electrical stress on the dielectric properties of materials, for example.  The group is interested in a vast range of materials: gases, liquids and solids, and with both the storage and dissipation of electric and magnetic energy.  Polarisation and the dynamics of electric charges are at the heart of dielectrics.