Nanoparticles improve efficiency and thermal properties for transformer oils
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Rice University scientists have created a nano-infused oil that could greatly enhance the ability of devices as large as electrical transformers and as small as microelectronic components to shed excess heat. The discovery could raise the efficiency of such transformer oils by as much as 80 percent in a way that is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Researchers discovered that a very tiny amount of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) particles, two-dimensional cousins to carbon-based graphene, suspended in standard transformer oils are highly efficient at removing heat from a system. The h-BN particles, about 600 nanometers wide and up to five atomic layers thick, disperse well in oil and, unlike highly conductive graphene, are highly resistant to electricity. The team determined that the oil's viscosity – another important quality – is minimally affected by the presence of the nanoparticle fillers.