The application of nanotechnology to the electrical insulation of transformers has become a topic of interest in the last few years. Most authors propose the use of dielectric nanofluids, which are obtained by dispersing low concentrations of nanoparticles in conventional insulating liquids. Although a good number of works have demonstrated that dielectric nanofluids may exhibit superior dielectric properties than the base fluids, there is a key issue that still needs to be addressed, which is the long-term stability of those liquids. The studies about the stability of dielectric nanofluids fluids that have been published so far analyze the performance of the fluids under laboratory conditions which are far from the real working conditions the liquids would be subjected to when working inside a transformer. In this paper, an experimental study is presented that evaluates the stability of several dielectric nanofluids under realistic transformer operating conditions. As the study demonstrates, the stability of dielectric nanofluids depends strongly on the working temperature, on the materials applied to obtain the fluid, and on the manufacturing procedure, while other aspects, such as the interaction with other materials, are less relevant. Additional topics, such as the methods applied for evaluation of the stability and the physical properties of the dielectric nanofluids under test, are discussed in the paper as well.
Keywords: Fe3O4; dielectric nanofluid; electrical insulation; long-term stability; power transformer.