3D printed poly-lactic acid for partial discharge studies
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The electric and power industry is moving towards environmentally sustainable components and systems. A significant step towards achieving these goals is developing environmentally friendly insulation materials. Initially, polymers replaced natural insulation materials and have dominated the electrical insulation industry for a long time. For years, the management and disposal of synthetic insulation material have been a concern, thereby contributing to environment pollution. Biopolymers represent a potential solution to this ecological problem. Poly lactic acid (PLA) is one such biopolymer with properties comparable to the polymers used in electrical insulation. In this study, PLA samples were designed, and 3D printed to have a void (i.e., air cavity) in order to conduct partial discharge studies. The physical characteristics and dielectric properties of the samples were analyzed. In addition, x-ray microtomography was performed on the samples before continuing with the partial discharge experiment, providing a non-destructive and quantitative method for characterizing the samples. Three-dimensional x-ray microtomography scans and phase resolved partial discharge patterns for the samples are presented in support of the conclusions. This work provides a basis for more detailed investigations of material degradation due to partial discharge.