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Analysing the impact of Moisture on the AC

Breakdown Voltage of Fe3O4 Based Nanodielectric

Víctor A. Primo*, Daniel Pérez, Belén García, Juan Carlos Burgos
Department of Electrical Engineering,
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid,
Madrid, Spain

Abstract— The interest in the development of new nanodielectric are usually associated with a surfactant that reduces the surface
fluids suitable for electrotechnical applications has increased stress that appear in the nanoparticles [3].
significantly in the last decade. Several authors have reported
experiences on fluids manufactured using different base fluids Some authors have pointed out that these fluids will be the
and nanoparticles. Most of these studies are focused on the insulators of the future and claim that their applications will
comparison of the thermal and dielectric properties of the lead to more compact transformer designs, and higher
nanofluids and the base liquids and most authors have found that reliability [4] and [5]. However, these nanofluids are not a real
the addition of nanoparticles can lead to an improvement of the technical solution since they have several associated problems.
properties of insulating liquids. The main objective of this paper Some of these problems are the stability of the nanoparticles,
is to study the enhancement of the AC Breakdown Voltage (AC the effect of these in the solid insulation of the transformer, the
BV) at 50 Hz achieved when dispersing nanoparticles (NP) in production costs of these oils or the interaction of the
transformer oil. In particular, transformer mineral oil was used nanoparticles with the electric and magnetic fields present
while the nanoparticles used were Fe3O4 in hexane base. In inside the transformer. All these aspects must be studied before
order to obtain a good dispersion of the nanoparticles an they can be applied to real transformers.
ultrasonic agitator was used. The impact of moisture in the
dielectric strength of fluids prepared with different Within this topic, the study of this paper is framed whose
concentrations of NP was evaluated and compared with that of main objective is the determination of the dielectric breakdown
the base liquid. The experimental results show a certain voltage at industrial frequency for mineral oils (MO) with
improvement of the dielectric strength of the nanodielectric fluids nanoparticles at different concentrations.
compared to that of the Mineral Oil.
This research will be carried out with different moisture
Keywords—component; Insulating liquids; Nanoparticles; contents in order to study how the presence of water affects the
Nanodielectric fluids Nanofluid; Ferrofluid; Breakdown Voltage; nanofluids and, therefore, their dielectric breakdown.
Ferrite; Magnetite
A. Materials
Mineral and vegetable oils are used in power transformer
systems. These oils fulfill the functions of electrical insulation Transformer mineral oil NYTRO 4000X was supplied by
and thermal cooling in the devices. NYNAS AB, Sweden. The NYNAS NYTRO 4000X is a
insulating oil wich presents a high dielectric strength, very
Nanofluids are composite materials composed of
good low temperature properties and a higth oxidation
nanoparticles dispersed in a matrix fluid. The addition of
nanoparticles improves the thermal, electrical and mechanical
properties of the liquids in which they are dispersed. These TABLE I. MAGRON FERROFLUID.
fluids has great potential for different applications in different
fields and engineering topics. Physical properties Nanofluid properties
One of the first authors to suggest the application of Solid contentc 10 %
nanofluids to transformers was Segal, who analysed the
thermal and dielectric properties of a colloidal fluid containing Viscosity (27 º) 80 cP
mineral oil and nanoparticles [1], [2]. Important studies are Density (20 ºC) 1.04 g/cm3
being made in the applications of these nanofluids. These
liquids are composed of nanoparticles dissolved in transformer Working temperature -20 130 ºC
oils. To achieve a correct dispersion of the nanoparticles, these
This work has been supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness within the project DPI2015-71219-C2-2-R.

978-1- 5386-6389-9/18/$31.00 ©2018 European Union

Ferrite nanofluid MFR-DP1 was provided by
MAGRONcon.,LTD, South Korea. The nanofluid is a
dispersion of ferrite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles with 10 nm of
diametre, wich are dispersed in a mixture of hydrocarbons,
sillicon compounds and non-flamble oils. In Table I some
propeties of the manufactured nanofluid are shown.
The MFR-DP1 ferrite nanofluid is used to prepare
naoparticle dispersions in transformer MO, aiming at avoiding
the use of powdered nanoparticles, wich, as has been observed
may entail risks for the researchers’ health if they are not
handled with adequate equipment [6].

B. Manufacturing Procedure
Fig. 1. Oil samples with different concentrations of nanoparticles. From left
The ferrite nanofluids are preared by mixing the ferrite to right: 0 g / L, 0.05 g / L, 0.1 g / L and 0.2 g / L.
nanoparticle dispersion MFR-DP1 and the MO Nytro 4000X
at the concentrations shown in Table II. The mixture was coulorimetric tritation using a KF Coulometer Methrom 831
performed using a sonicator Sonics&Materials, Inc model VC combined with a Karl-Fischer Thermoprep oven. The moisture
750 Watt. The sonicator is a ultrasonic liquid procesor, wich content of each dispersion was analyzed before, during and
generates ultrasounds that are capable to disperse after the breakdown test.
nanoparticles within the base fluid to obtain an uniform The breakdown measurement was realized acording to
solution. Otherwise if the nanoparticles are directly added to IEC60156 standard [8]. Then the oils are cooled to room
the base fluids without surfactant a precipitate is obtained temperature, the samples were stired with a magnetic stirer for
enworsening the properties of the base fluid [7]. The mixture 5 minutes before the mesure, with a sfere-sfere configuration
was stirred for two hours in intervals of 30 seconds of and a distance of 2.5 mm. The AC breakdown voltage was
agitation and a 30 seconds of pause, to avoid overheating of measured with a Baur oil tester DTA 100C at a frecuency of
the mixture. The obtained solutions are shown in Fig. 1. 50Hz. In order to obtain a greater representation in the results,
the measurements were repeated a total of four times.
C. Sample Conditioning
The oils were conditioned to three different relative III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
humidity (RH) conditions 10%, 25%, 50% for each ferrite
concentration. A. Moisture Test
As stated in section II D three measurements of water
• To obtain a RH 10 %, the oils were treated at 30 ºC in
content were performed for each dielectric breakdown test. In
a vacuum oven for 48 h prior to the breakdown
total, twelve moisture measurements were obtained for each
• To obtain room conditions, the oils were kept at With these measurements an arithmetic mean was
laboratory temperature under moisture stable estimated to obtain a single value indicative of the water
conditions (25%) for 48 h prior to the breakdown content of each solution. The values of these measurements are
messurements. presented in Table III.
• To obtain moisture conditions 50 % RH the oils were As can be seen in Table III , an increase in the ppm of
treated at 30 ºC and 50% RH for 48 h in an water is clearly observed when higher concentration of
envormental chamber. nanoparticles are added, although all the samples have been
subjected to the same conditions of temperature and pressure.
D. Karl-Fischer titration & AC breakdown test
This could indicate that the solubility of the mixtures
The water content of the samples was measured by

Moisture Mean
Amount ferrofluid added for Disolution
Ferrite concentration (g/L) 10% 25% 50%
0.5 L solution (g)
Nynas 8.10 ppm 17.62 ppm 39.30 ppm
0 0
Nynas + 0,05 11.61 ppm 27.40 ppm 55.06 ppm
0.05 0.041
Nynas + 0,1 14.52 ppm 28.72 ppm 57.25 ppm
0.1 0.083
Nynas + 0,2 16.66 ppm 32.47 ppm 60.58 ppm
0.2 0.166
rises as the NP concentration increases. This may be due to the
fact that the nanoparticles bound water molecules and bind
strongly to them, as mentioned by Jin in [9]. As will be seen a)
later, this fact does not have a negative impact on the dielectric
properties of the nanofluids.

B. AC Breakdown Voltage vs Relative Humidity.

AC breakdown tests were carried out in accordance with
IEC60156 standard [8]: six dielectric ruptures were made on
the same sample. Between each break two minutes were waited
and with this the average values of the six breakdowns were
obtained. This process was repeated four times for each RH
and each oil with different concentration of nanoparticles. The
results are shown in Fig. 2.
The obtained results depend on the particle concentration
and the RH applied in the conditioning process.
In the case of 10% RH (Fig. 2 a) it can be seen that by
adding 0.05 g/L and 0.1 g/L of Fe3O4 nanoparticles, the
average dielectric strength barely changes compared to the oil
without nanoparticles, or even decreases slightly. On the other b)
hand, by adding 0.2 g/L a considerable improvement is
observed. This could be due to the fact that the few water
molecules that are dissolved in oil at low RH, need a high
concentration of nanoparticles to bind to them since the
probability that they are bound depends on the amount of
existing NP and water molecules.
As Lv et al. [10] indicates, these results could be justified in
such a way that if the nanoparticles are not bound to the water
they act as an impurity, and therefore the dielectric strength of
the fluid decreases slightly, while when the nanoparticles are
bound to water molecules, the formed clusters would prevent
the water molecules to intervene in the process of dielectric
breakdown of the oil.
In Fig. 2b the effect of the nanoparticles on fluids
preconditioned at RH 25% was studied. For this case, only see
a slight improvement on the dielectric strength is observed in
the case of oil with a concentration of NP 0.2 g/L. For this case
it is observed that the concentration of NP that leaded to c)
bettere results was 0.1 g/L. Once more, these results may be
justificable by the fact that the addition of impurities to the oil,
which could worsen its properties may be compensated by the
elimination of water clusters.
The last case studied, is referred to a high humidity
environment i.e. RH 50%. The results of this case are very
similar to those of the previous one, with the difference that the
presence of nanoparticles does not improve the dielectric
strength at any concentration, although it does not make it
worse either. In this situation, the nanoparticles do not affect
the dielectric breakdown. This may be because the NP are not
big enough to trap water molecules clusters.

C. AC Breakdown Voltage vs ppm.

As mentioned before, the presence of nanoparticles can
increase the solubility of water in oil. For this purpose, the data
Fig. 2. Measurements of AC Breakdown Voltage at 50 Hz depending on the
of dielectric strength versus the total humidity of the sample water content: a) 10% RH, b) 25% RH and c) 50% RH..
taken in ppm have been represented. The result can be seen in
Fig 3.
The graphic can be divided into three parts:
• Low humidity levels and high values of AC
Breakdown Voltage: It can be seen a significant
increase in dielectric strength in the case of Nynas
Nitro 4000X oil with a nanoparticle concentration of
0.2 g / L, especially considering that there are greater
amounts of water.
• Average humidity levels and average levels of AC
rupture voltage: in this case, it can be seen that ruptures
at a concentration of 0.2 g / l always occur at similar
voltage levels but at higher humidity levels (30 ppm ),
so the improvement is clear. They occur at the same
level of dielectric rupture but with a higher water
Fig. 3. AC Breakdown Voltage (50 Hz) of different Mineral Oil–Fe3O4
• High humidity levels and low levels of AC breakdown
based nanofluid against Moisture.
voltage: it can be seen that although the bursting
voltages of all samples are similar, the moisture
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