Nanocomposites – electrical insulation of the future

TEM image of a nanocomposite: Epoxy base material with 2wt% of aluminium oxide filler.
TEM image of a nanocomposite: Epoxy base material with 2wt% of aluminium oxide filler.

Practitioners in the electricity industry are becoming involved in decisions related to nanocomposite insulated equipment. It seems certain that nanocomposites will be the preferred electrical insulation of the future and it is therefore imperative to keep up with developments in this new technology.

Nanocomposite insulation can be defined as: ‘The outcome of a process where a conventional insulation, such as epoxy resin or polyethylene, is ‘spiced’ up with an appropriate dose of nanoparticles. Unlike the filler material used normally, nanofillers are particles of nanometric dimensions. They are mostly of inorganic matter and can be spherical or fibrous. When homogeneously dispersed in the host insulation, the nanoparticles form strong interfaces with the host insulation matrices to create a composite insulation with favourable functional properties’.

 

Take note

  • Nanotechnology has applications in many diverse fields of endeavour - far more than we thought a few years ago.
  • Nanoparticles, when added to solid dielectrics, have been shown to improve some of the insulation characteristics of the material.
  • The formation of electric trees has been specifically shown to be slowed down by the addition of nanoparticles

 

Published as:

Nanocomposites: New generation electrical insulation

By C Nyamupangedengu, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and TAndritsch, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Electricity+Control, June 2012 (pgs 38 – 40)

Enquiries: Cuthbert.nyamupangedengu@wits.ac.za or t.andritsch@tudelft.nl