What Do Dry Paper and High Voltage Networks Have in Common?
What does dry paper have in common with high voltage networks?
Quite a lot, it turns out. Paper is a very good insulator in high-voltage installations. Researchers from the Silesian University of Technology and the ABB research centre are working together on improving crepe paper used for this purpose.
One of the most important components of electrical installations are high voltage transformer bushings. These components enable the supply of high voltage to electrical devices safely, i.e. without sparkover through a grounded potential barrier. Many companies in Poland are looking for new solutions at various stages of the production.
Scientists from the Silesian University of Technology have joined forces with the research centre of Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) in Kraków to improve the production process of high-voltage bushings from... paper. Of course, not quite ordinary paper, but rather "crinkled" crepe paper.
"Paper is a very good insulator in high-voltage installations, provided it is very dry," says Professor Andrzej J. Nowak from the Silesian University of Technology. "In addition, it should be properly impregnated, e.g. with resin. This allows it to give the bushing the desired shape, which also extends its durability," the scientist adds.
Both the paper drying process and its impregnation with resin subjected to gelation are important research topics and a challenge for engineers. Therefore, as part of cooperation between the research centre and the university, two PhD dissertations were created, the results of which were implemented in ABB factories. One of the doctoral dissertations concerned the study of bushing paper drying methods. The second one involved testing the hardening processes of composite materials, with which the dried bushing is impregnated.
PAP - Science in Poland, Dr. Aleksandra Ziembińska-Buczyńska
Dr. Aleksandra Ziembińska-Buczyńska, a professor at the Silesian University of Technology, is a microbiologist. She is the winner of the 2018 Popularizer of Science competition co-organized by PAP - Science in Poland and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Since 2017, she is the director of the Science Popularization Center of the Silesian University of Technology. In 2015, she took third place in the third Polish edition of FameLab. She hosted the show "Wynalazcy przyszłości" ("Inventors of the Future") on CANAL+ DISCOVERY, where she presented Polish inventions and discoveries expected to change our world in the near future.
The article is one of the results of the program Spokespersons of Science organized by the Copernicus Science Centre and the British Council Foundation. The program facilitates establishing cooperation between scientists who promote knowledge and science journalists.