Pre-breakdown Phenomena in Mineral Oil Based Nanofluids
Abstract: Mineral oil is a dielectric liquid commonly used in high voltage equipment such as power transformers. Interestingly, it has been experimentally observed that the dielectric strength of the mineral oil is improved when nanoparticles are added. However, the mechanisms behind these improvements are not well understood, hindering the further innovation process of these so-called nanofluids. This thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms explaining the dielectric strength improvement of the base oil when nanoparticles are added.For this, several experiments and numerical simulations are performed in this thesis. The initiation voltage of electric discharges infive different kind of nanofluids was measured. The large data set obtained allowed to cast experimental evidence on the existing hypotheses that are used to explain the effect of nanoparticles. It is found that hydrophilic nanoparticles hinder the electric discharge initiation from anode electrodes. On the other hand, electric discharge initiation from cathode electrodes was hindered by nanoparticles with low charge relaxation time.The electric currents in mineral oil and nanofluids were also measured under intense electric fields (up to 2GV/m). It is found that the addition of certain nanoparticles increases the measured currents. The possible physical mechanisms explaining the measured currents inmineral oil with and without nanoparticles were thoroughly discussed based on results of numerical simulations. Preliminary parameters used in this thesis to model these mechanisms led to a good agreement between the measured and simulated electric currents.
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