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Renewable Low-viscosity Dielectrics Based on Vegetable Oil Methyl Esters

  • Yu, Hui (College of Chemistry and Molecular Science, Wuhan University) ;
  • Yu, Ping (College of Chemistry and Molecular Science, Wuhan University) ;
  • Luo, Yunbai (College of Chemistry and Molecular Science, Wuhan University)
  • Received : 2016.08.02
  • Accepted : 2016.12.22
  • Published : 2017.03.01

Abstract

Vegetable oil dielectrics have been used in transformers as green alternatives to mineral insulating oils for about twenty years, because of their advantages of non-toxic, biodegradability, and renewability. However, the viscosity of vegetable oils is more than 3 times of mineral oils, which means a poor heat dissipation capacity. To get low-viscosity dielectrics, transesterification and purification were performed to prepare vegetable oil methyl esters in this study. Electrical and physical properties were determined to investigate their potential as dielectrics. The results showed that the methyl ester products had good dielectric strengths, high water saturation and enough fire resistance. The viscosities (at $40^{\circ}C$) were 0.2 times less than FR3 fluid, and 0.7 times less than mineral oil, which indicated superior cooling capacity as we expected. With the assistance of 0.5 wt% pour point depressants, canola oil methyl ester exhibited the lowest pour point ($-26^{\circ}C$) among the products which was lower than FR3 fluid ($-21^{\circ}C$) and 25# mineral oil ($-23^{\circ}C$). Thus, canola oil methyl ester was the best candidate as a low-viscosity vegetable oil-based dielectric. The low-viscosity fluid could extend the service life of transformers by its better cooling capacity compared with nature ester dielectrics.

Keywords

Insulating oil;Vegetable oil methyl ester;Low viscosity;Electrical and physical performance;Pour point depressants

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