Thermal stability of cellulose insulation in electrical power transformers – A review

Paul Jusner, Elisabeth Schwaiger, Antje Potthast, Thomas Rosenau

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
121 Downloads (Pure)


Cellulosic pulp has been processed into insulation paper since the earliest days of electrical engineering. This polymer synthetized by nature has proved to be competitive to man-made plastics throughout the last century and is still widely used in electrical power transformers. The high working temperatures prevailing in such apparatuses and the desired lifespans of up to 40 years shifted the thermal stability of cellulose to the center of attention of many researchers. In this literature review, a summary of theories and recent insights regarding the processes upon thermal degradation of cellulose in the temperature range relevant for electrical power transformers is given, followed by an overview of strategies to improve the thermal stability of cellulosic insulators. Special emphasis is placed on the discussion of additives and modification agents and their action modes, and on the understanding how successful upgrading of cellulose towards high thermal stability is achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117196
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Thermally upgraded paper
  • Cyanoethylation
  • Amine additives
  • Cellulose degradation
  • Cellulose dehydration
  • Electrical power transformers


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