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Electrical breakdown behaviors of nanopaper prepared from nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) were investigated. Compared to conventional insulating paper made from micro softwood fibers, nanopaper has a dramatically enhanced breakdown strength. Breakdown field of nanopaper is 67.7 kV/mm, whereas that of conventional paper is only 20 kV/mm. Air voids in the surface of conventional paper are observed by scanning electron microscope (SEM). Further analyses using mercury intrusion show that pore diameter of conventional paper is around , while that of nanopaper is below 3 nm. Specific pore size of nanopaper is determined to be approximately 2.8 nm by the gas adsorption technique. In addition, theoretical breakdown strengths of nanopaper and conventional paper are also calculated to evaluate the effect of pore size. It turns out that theoretical values agree well with experimental data, indicating that the improved strength in nanopaper is mainly attributed to the decreased pore size. Due to its outstanding breakdown strength, this study indicates the suitability of nanopaper for electrical insulation in ultra-high voltage convert transformers and other electrical devices.


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