The energy sector covers all the industries involved in the production, manufacturing, sale and distribution of energy. It includes the oil & gas, coal, nuclear power and renewable power industries.

With a growing global demand for supplies of affordable energy in every corner of the world, as well as an ever-changing landscape of circumstances and preconditions, the energy sector is continuously evolving. With constant evolution in technological possibilities, available infrastructure, economic interests and the geopolitical situation, there is continuous pressure to adapt to the new situation. Existing sectors will evolve to fit the new landscape, and new energy harvesting methods will emerge.

Interfacial phenomena are important in all the energy sectors. Examples of processes that are investigated, characterized or optimized using the information from QCM-D include hydrolysis of cellulose for biofuel production, corrosion of fuel cells, and dye sensitized solar cells. Interfacial tension measurements are also routinely used for quality control of transformer oils.

Quality control of transformer oils

Insulating oils are used around the coils in power transformers to provide cooling, insulation and protection against corona and arcing. Transformer oils are exposed to mechanical and electrical stress, as well as to chemical contaminations, during the operation of the transformer. Over time the functionality of the oil is reduced and this can lead to transformer failure and power outages. Regular testing of the oil can ensure quality and prevent costly downtime.

The ASTM D-971 standard is used in the process of defining the general electrical and physical properties of the transformer oil. The interfacial tension is measured using the Du Noüy ring method. Oil and water interfacial tension correlates with the purity and functionality of the oil. A decrease in interfacial tension in the transformer oil occurs due to the accumulation of contaminants or due to the formation of oxidation by-products. Our Sigma 702ET operates fully automatically and conforms to ASTM standard measurements.

Application note: ASTM D971 standard test method for interfacial tension of oil against water by the ring method