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Partial discharges (PD) are influencing electrical insulating systems of high voltage electrical devices. Typically, in laboratory and diagnostics AC tests focused on measuring and analysis of PD, a pure sinusoidal voltage waveform is assumed. However, in practice the spectral content of the working voltage is rarely so ideal and additional spectral components have a significant impact on the discharge behaviour in electrical insulation systems. In this paper the influence of voltage harmonics on PD behaviour and phase-resolved PD patterns evolution is analysed. The presented experiments were conducted on a specimen representing a gaseous inclusion embedded in electrical insulation. The experimental results showed that various harmonic compositions superimposed on the fundamental sinusoidal waveform have a significant impact on PD intensity and maximum charge. In consequence, the derived patterns of PD phase, and magnitude distributions are distorted, and statistical parameters calculated on their basis are changed. In certain en- vironments, neglecting harmonic content in the testing voltage may lead to a misleading interpretation and assessment of PD severity.
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