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CERTIFICATION

This is to certify that this project is an original work undertaken by


Nweke Kenechukwu Chiemelie (2010/170291) and was supervised in
accordance with the rules and regulations governing the award of a bachelor
of engineering (B.Eng.) degree in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Engr. Omah A. D.
Supervisor

date

Dr. Neife S. I.
(Head of department)

date

DECLARATION
I, Nweke Kenechukwu Chiemelie, hereby declare that this work titled
dielectric, physical and mechanical properties of agro-waste material
(cassava cortex) was carried out under the supervision of Engr. Omah A. D. a
lecture in the department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering of
University of Nigeria Nsukka.
Nweke Kenechukwu Chiemelie
(2010/170291)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I bless the name of the lord god almighty, the creator of the universe
of which without his infinite mercy, love, protection, guidance and blessing, I
could not have gotten to this level.
My sincere gratitude goes to my indefatigable supervisor, Engr. Omah
A. D. who, in spite of his tight schedules always create time to attend to and
assist me right from the commencement of this project to the very
concluding part. May the lord reward you in Jesus name, Amen. My thanks
also goes to my HOD Dr. Neife S. I. for his wonderful co-ordination of the
department. Thanks to my lectures, departmental staffs and most especially,
my project colleague, Ugwu Ifeanyichukwu, who also deeply contributed to
this project. May the lord God bless you all and replenish the strength and
effort expended during this project work.
My deep appreciation goes Dr. and Mrs. Nwaigwe, my mother and
siblings for their support throughout my stay here on campus.
Lastly, my appreciation goes to my friends Ezeonu Lotanna, Nduka
Chigozie, Ikengwu Chisom, Ugwu Nnaemeka and all others who have
contributed positively to my life, I may not have mentioned your name but
from the bottom of my heart, am very grateful and may God bless you all.
Thank you.

DEDICATION
This project work is dedicated to almighty God whom I thank for
making it a possibility. In addition, I dedicate this work to the loving memory
of my late father, Mr. Nweke Peter Okwudili, who aided me in taking my first
step into this noble institution but is not here to celebrate my levitation. May
his loving and gentle soul rest in peace in Jesus name, Amen.

ABSTRACT
In power systems, there is an ever-increasing demand placed on
insulators especially for outdoor applications. Additionally, the huge cost of
importation has resulted in a growing need for the local manufacture. To this
end, an electrical insulator was manufactured from locally available raw
materials and characterized. The study investigates a composite type
percentage composition of cassava cortex particulate, epoxy resin, and
hardener. The sample was manufactured by the dry process technique. The
carbonized, pulverized and thoroughly sieved composition was mixed and
allowed to cure at room temperature for around 24 hours. The results of the
characterization show that the sample has an average breakdown voltage of
34kV/mm, zero water absorption and average dielectric constant 6.09 within
the frequency range considered, average experimental density of 1.32g/cm 3
and average impact energy of 4.1J These results when compared with those
of the commercial variety show that the locally manufactured sample
satisfies the stringent requirements of a good insulating material.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title page
Certification page
Dedication
Acknowledgement
Declaration
Abstract
Table of contents
List of tables
List of figures
Chapter one: Introduction
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6

background to the study


statement of problem
objective of the study
research question
significant of the study
scope of the study

Chapter two: literature review


chapter three: research methodology
chapter four: data, analysis and interpretation

chapter five: summary, recommendation and conclusions


5.1 summary
5.2 conclusion
5.3 recommendation
References
Appendix

Chapter one

Introduction
The term dielectric was introduced by M. Faraday to describe
materials through which electric fields can penetrate. In any substance
placed in an electric field, its component electric charges (electrons,
atomic nuclei) are subjected to the forces of the field. As a result, some
of the charges move directionally, creating an electric current. The rest
of the charges are redistributed in such a way that the centers of mass
of the positive and negative charges shift in relation to one another.
This

process

is

known

as

polarization

of

the

substance.

The

predominance of one of the two processeselectric conductivity or


polarizationis used as a criterion in classifying materials as either
insulators (dielectrics) or conductors (metals, electrolytes, plasma).
The conductivity of dielectrics is negligible in comparison to that of
metals. For dielectrics the specific resistance is on the order of 1081017 ohm-cm; for the metals, is in the range of 10-6-10-4 ohm-cm.
There is also an intermediate class of materials called semiconductors,
the properties of which have elements of both the process of electric
conductivity and the process of polarization.
Classical physics attempted to explain the quantitative difference in
electric conductivity between solid dielectrics and metals by the fact
that in metals there are always free electrons whereas in dielectrics all
electrons are boundthat is, the electrons belong to individual atoms
and an electric field does not free them, but merely displaces them
slightly [Feynman, R., R. Leighton, and M. Sands Moscow 1974].
However, this explanation is inaccurate. Modern quantum mechanical
theory shows that a solid is something like a giant molecule in which
every electron belongs to the whole crystal. This statement is as valid
for dielectrics as it is for metals. Differences in the behavior of
electrons in dielectrics and metals are caused by different types of

electron distribution by energy level [Kalashnikov, C. G. Elektrichestvo,


2nd ed. Moscow, 1964.]
.
Electron energy in a solid cannot assume an arbitrary value. The
energy ranges that an electron may possess (allowed bands) alternate
with regions of energies (gaps) that an electron cannot accept
(forbidden bands). On one hand, electrons tend to occupy the levels of
lowest energy. On the other hand, there can be only one electron at
any given state. As a consequence, electrons will fill energy levels
starting from zero to some maximum value. In dielectrics the highest
energy level filled by electrons coincides with the upper boundary of
one of the allowed bands (see Figure 1). In metals, the highest energy
level filled by electrons lies within the allowed band.

An electric field can establish a current (a directional motion of


electrons) in a solid body only if some of the electrons can raise their
energy in response to the fieldthat is, can move from lower energy
levels to higher energy levels. Such a transition is possible in metals
because empty energy levels are located adjacent to the filled levels.
In dielectrics, however, the nearest empty levels are separated from

the filled levels by the forbidden band. This forbidden band usually
cannot be overcome by electrons under the influence of the not very
strong conventional fields. Thus, in dielectrics, the effects of the
electric field are limited to a redistribution of electron density, which
results in polarization of the dielectric.
The

distribution

of

electrons

by

energy

levels

is

similar

for

semiconductors. A semiconductor differs from a dielectric only in that


its forbidden band is narrower. Therefore, the properties of dielectrics
and semiconductors are quite similar at low temperatures, but at
elevated temperatures the electric conductivity of semiconductors
increases and becomes significant. There is no clear borderline
between dielectrics and semiconductors. Materials are classified as
semiconductors if the width of the forbidden band < 23 electron
volts (eV), and as dielectrics if the width > 23 eV. [Kalashnikov, C.
G. Elektrichestvo, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1964]
The above discussion has been confined to solid dielectrics.
However, dielectric materials can also be liquids or gases. Under
normal conditions all gases consist basically of neutral atoms and
molecules, and therefore do not conduct an electric currentthat is,
they are dielectrics. As the temperature of a gas is raised and the
atoms and molecules become ionized, the gas is gradually converted
to a plasma, a good conductor of electric current. The following
discussion is limited to solid dielectrics.
Polarization of dielectrics. There are several mechanisms of polariz
ation of a dielectric. These mechanisms depend on the nature of the
chemical bondthat is, on the distribution of electron density in the di
electric. For example, in ionic crystals (for example, rock salt, NaCl)whe
re the electrons are distributed such that individual ions can be isolate
d, polarization is the result of a shift of ions in relation to oneanother. T
his mechanism is called ionic polarization. Deformation of the electron

shells of individual ions also occurs (electronic polarization).Stated diffe


rently, polarization in this case is the sum of ionic polarization and elec
tronic polarization (see Figure 2, a). In crystals with acovalent bond (for
example, in diamond) where electron densities are distributed uniforml
y among the atoms, polarization is predicated mainlyon the displaceme
nt of the electrons that participate in chemical bonding (see Figure 2, b
). In polar dielectrics (for example, solid hydrogensulfide) groups of ato
msmolecules or radicalsare electric dipoles; in the absence of an el
ectrical field, these dipoles are orientedrandomly, but under the influen
ce of a field these dipoles are oriented in the direction of that field (see
Figure 2, c). Such orientationalpolarization (or dipole polarization) is ch
aracteristic of polar liquids and gases. A similar mechanism of polarizat
ion is associated with a jumpof ions from certain possible equilibrium si
tes in the

Crystal lattice to others under the influence of an electric field. This


mechanism is observed particularly often in materials with hydrogen
bonding (for example, ice), where the hydrogen ions have several
equilibrium positions.
Polarization of a dielectric is represented by the polarization vector ,
which represents the dipole moment per unit volume of the dielectric.
The dipole moment of an overall neutral system of charges is a vector
equal to the product of the distance between the centers of mass of
the positive and negative charges and the magnitude of one of these
charges (either positive or negative). The direction of this vector is
from the center of mass of the negative charges to the center of mass

of the positive charges. The vector depends on the electric field


intensity E. Inasmuch as the force acting on a charge is proportional to
the quantity E, it becomes obvious that for a weak field the magnitude
of is proportional to E. The proportionality constant K shown in the
equation = kE is called the dielectric susceptibility of the dielectric. It
is often more convenient to substitute for the vector the vector of
electric induction
The proportionality factor in the relationship D = E is called the
dielectric constant. It is clear that
= 1 + 4k
In a vacuum, K = 0 and = 1 (in the cgs esu system). The value of
(or of K) is a basic characteristic of dielectrics. In anisotropic dielectrics
(for example, in noncubic crystals) the direction of the polarization
vector is determined not only by the direction of the field but also by
certain directions of the ambient medium, such as the axes of
symmetry of a crystal. Therefore the vector can be at various angles
with vector E, depending on the orientation of in relation to the axes
of symmetry. As a result, the vector D can be expressed through vector
not only with one value but with several values (six in the general
case), which form a dielectric permittivity tensor. [Skanavi, G. I. Fizika
dielektrikov (Oblast slabykh polei). Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.]
Carbonization is one of the major step taken in this work and the
carbonized raw material will eventually be compared with the
uncarbonized at the end of the fabrication.
Low temperature carbonization is essentially a process for producing fuels-solid,
liquid, and gaseous from coal and other carbonaceous material, such as biomass and
organic wastes. The products from the various low temperature processes, however, vary
in quantities and qualities depending on the coal used and the nature of the treatments to
which it has been exposed. The differences can be of great significance in the selection of

a process for a given application, and careful study is necessary before a choice can be
made.
The process descriptions have shown that many methods for the low-temperature
carbonization of coal are available for use, and from them chars with a wide variety of
characteristics can be obtained. One desirable characteristic of char is its smokeless
quality.
This property, together with suitable form characteristics, has won for the lump char
produced by certain processes important places in the domestic fuel market in Great
Britain and in other European countries. The second product, also of major importance,
has been the large volume of tar. During 1920s there was a common expectation that the
values of these products, especially the chemicals to be derived from the tar, plus possible
economies in the carbonization processes as compared to high-temperature coke ovens,
would lead to attractive profits from a low temperature plant. Engineers and inventors
have proposed a great amount of work and innumerable designs. Of all the processes
worked on during that period, only one-the present Disco process - survived.
There are five necessary conditions to be met if a low-temperature carbonization process
is to be rendered technically and economically feasible:
1) Universal applicability to different types of high-volatile coals
2) Production of a firm, abrasion resistant product
3) Maintenance of desirable temperature conditions through the system to produce a
uniform tar
4) Maintenance of an output which is economically attractive, a condition dependent on
rabidity of heat transfer and involving oven design and the thickness of the coal bed
5) Smooth, trouble-free oven operation
The two processes in regular commercial use are the Disco process of the Consolidation
Coal company, this plant being located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the stoker
carbonization process, operated by Shawinigan Chemicals Ltd. in Canada. In addition to
these plants, the Parry process has been operated experimentally on lignite by the Texas
Power and Light Company at the power installation for the Aluminum Company of
America at Rockdale, Texas. The Lurgi-Spulgas process also has operated in North
Dakota for some time on the local lignite. A process for producing a metallurgical formed

coke from Wyoming subbituminous coal was announced, and production of a lowtemperature char is one of the first steps. This plant is operated by Food Machinery and
Chemical Company and the United States Steel Corporation at Kemmerer, Wyoming. In
Europe, Japan, and other parts of the world, the Kruoo-Lurgi, Lurgi-spulgas and
Rochdale gas re-circulation appear to be most widely in use, but work is proceeding at a
number of locations on smaller-scale units of other carbonization methods.
Although many processes have been realised, they have been operated on different coals,
in different ways, and for widely different objectives. Little correlation between them is
available. Each process has often functioned on pretty much an experimental scale,
without reaching the more critical stage of successful commercial practice. The engineer
entering the low-temperature field finds it almost a virgin one, which encompasses first
the selection of a process for a given need, then the design and engineering with the
identification and definition of the problems to be faced, and finally plant operation and
meeting the unexpected developments. For these reasons commercial evaluations of
processes are still very difficult Low temperature chars differ markedly from hightemperature cokes in appearance and properties. Generally, pieces of low temperature
chars are black to dull grey, with an open, porous structure. They are softer, more friable,
and weigh less than high-temperature coke.
Both the apparent and true densities are lower. The volatile content of the char usually
lies in the range from about 20% down to 9 or 10%. When heated, a char gives off much
hydrogen, and the gas burns with an almost non-luminous flame. Because of the high
volatile content and the open structure, char ignites readily and burns freely. These
qualities make a lump char an ideal fuel for the open domestic grade. The quality of a
charcoal can be represented by a great many other properties including charcoal yield,
fixed-carbon content, moisture content, calorific value, elemental composition, hardness
(abrasion resistance), compressive strength, bulk and true densities, surface area, porosity
and pore volume distribution, electrical resistivity, and reactivity. The high reactivity of
chars necessitates their thorough quenching or cooling unless they are to be used very
shortly. In general, the properties of chars are greatly affected by the coals from which
they have been produced and by the conditions to which they have been exposed during

carbonization. Commercial utilisation of low temperature chars includes domestic or


industrial fuel, blast furnace fuel, reducing agent, electrodes and other uses.
Product distribution and how it is influenced by coal pyrolysis conditions have been
studied. Lignite and bituminous coal are exhibiting quite different behaviour. Lignite
products up to 700K are mainly water. Subsequently the evolution of CO2 and tar starts.
At slightly higher temperatures CO, hydrocarbons and H2 are observed due to
defunctionalisation. The hydrocarbons mainly consist of methane and ethylene. Based on
char and gaseous products analyses, it is clear that the lignite char becomes relatively
enriched in C, since even at the highest temperature only about 20% of the original
carbon is lost. In the case of bituminous coal product distribution is dominated by tar.
H2O is formed at relatively low temperature, below 700K. Carbon content profile is
fundamentally different than that of lignite and it continuously decreases over the whole
temperature range. Up to 50% of the originally present carbon is volatilised eventually.
The hydrogen profile shows an analogous pattern that is in good agreement with the
predominant evolution of tar. Apart from coal type, pyrolysis conditions that affect
product distribution are the temperature, retention time, heating rate, pressure and particle
size distribution.
Economic and market prospects of LTC technologies are quite promising, since such fuel
pre-treatment technology fits into the European, North American and global market
developments, fulfils technical and cost efficiency demands, and meets International
Protocols and Agreements. Among key-points of LTC development is the market
tendency for expansion of small- and medium-sized power generation plants. Traditional
plants can easily be retrofitted by LTC add-on module, whereas old plants can cost
efficiently upgraded and still meet the new environmental norms and regulations.
Potential LTC project development offers economical benefits, such as decreased total
cost of the end-product Clean Coal, environmental control cost savings, increased profits
due to efficiency improvement, and reduced raw material cost, since domestic renewable
sources and agricultural wastes utilisation is feasible.
Major technical and scientific benefits of LTC technologies employment include
(a) preventive environmental protection,
(b) improved boiler efficiency,

(c) total cost savings that may exceed 10%,


(d) reuse of industrial residuals, since flexible multi fuel operation is possible,
(e) enhancement of fuel diversity and security,
(f) elimination of environmental and health care risks, and
(g) reduced boiler corrosion, resulting in maintenance cost savings.
One of the major LTC advantages is fuel availability, since it offers potential utilisation of
alternative biomass and food industry wastes, whose disposal may present today high
cost and technical deficiency, such as (a) waste vegetable oils (co-combustion), (b) non
usable non recyclable residuals from bio-diesel production, (c) biomass residues, such
as straw pellets and husk, (d) energy crops, such as short rotation wood and sawdust, (e)
biomass waste, i.e. demolition wood, and (f) meat meals from animal by-product
processing industry. Among known limitations that LTC technologies present are (a)
reduced efficiency in treatment of feed streams with very high moisture content and (b)
removal of all heavy metals from low grade fuels.
Development of R&D projects and future implementations may be beneficial for most
countries, including EU Members, Accession Countries, East European and Asia
Countries.
In general, adoption of LTC technologies offers significant advantages, among which are:
(1) It is a preventive option that compared to end-of-pipe solutions results in:
a. Guaranteed and competitive long-term clean energy supply
b. Providing compatibility between development of open liberalised energy market and
the objectives of the sustainable environmental protection
c. Providing overall cost savings for sustainable clean energy production
(2) Improved overall safety and recycle-reuse of industrial material streams
(3) Flexible feed choice application from regionally available feed supply by converting
trash (low grade fuels) into cash (clean energy)
(4) Improving overall cost efficiency for sustainable green energy production
(5) Supporting schemes for reduction of greenhouse gases as per Kyoto Protocol and
European Commission commitments
Non ceramics insulators were first introduced in 1959 and they
were used out doors and in contaminated environment because they

were susceptible to problem with UV radiation, tracking and erosion.


Another early advantage of non-ceramic insulators is the reduction of
up to 90% weight reduction when compared to ceramics. They also
have superior resistance to shock load due to conductor or hardware
failure on adjacent spans.
Epoxy resin is one of the most commonly used thermosetting
materials in high voltage apparatus as insulators due to it good
mechanical, electrical properties and chemical stability. Epoxy resin
has fundamental ingredient thereof and have employed very similar
method of improvement and development. Epoxies primarily depends
on the curing agents used. Epoxy resin I characterized by the high
degree of flexibility in its components due to its stability. There is
demand for epoxy resin in a wide range of fields, including paints and
electrical components. Particles are often added to epoxy resin to
improve

its

mechanical,

thermal

and

chemical

properties.

The

dielectric values in epoxy containing fine particles of reinforcement


have to be lower than the one with coarse particle at lower
concentration (depending on the particle type and size). It is noted that
the loading particle concentration increases, the permittivity of the
epoxy composite increases.
The availability of cassava cortex and its composition makes it a
potential source of filler in polymer matrix like epoxy. Polymer
composite material are being used in the electrical part of aerospace
and automotive industries due to their light weight, high specific
stiffness and strength.
For a material to be considered a dielectric material, it should
have a high value of dielectric strength, high resistivity, low dielectric
constant and thermal insulation capacity. The material should have low
water absorption and moisture content. Epoxy technology offers
several products for dielectric applications provided a combination of

structural, optical and thermal properties along with their dielectric


properties

characteristics.

All

dielectric

products

are

electrical

insulators, but many are thermal conductors too. However, composite


dielectric materials are highly needed in the electrical industries.
Better composite materials are needed for dielectric materials and this
can be achieved by proper selection of fillers, their shape and size
concentration.
This work studies the effects of particle size and concentration on
the dielectric properties and mechanical properties of epoxy-cassava
cortex composite. These particles were measured for different size
particles and concentration.

1.1

Background to the study

Owing to high demand of insulators in the electrical and electronic


industries, this work looked at developing composite insulators with
good properties. It is good to note that agro-waste material (both plant
and animal waste) are at high rate. These agro waste are not of
economic importance and if not properly disposed, it becomes
detrimental to the human system and the eco system at large. This
particular issue led many researchers to start working on how to
convert agro waste materials to useful products for mankind and to
reduce environmental hazard.
In this work, cassava cortex is which is an agro waste product is
used to fabricate electrical insulator which is intended to have a better
mechanical properties and dielectric properties when mixed with epoxy
and hardener. Due to its economics, availability and environment
friendly, this material is considered useful in application.
1.2

Scope of the Research

Having knowledge of polymer resins behavior as binder, the


cassava cortex particles as the reinforcement, the composite materials
and the casting principles, this research was carried out under
controlled environment through:

1.3

Preparation of the materials to be used for the bio-composite


Preparation of the resin binder to be used for the fabrication

of the bio composite


Fabrication of the bio composite material.
Determination of the mechanical and dielectric properties of

the bio composite materials.


Aims/Objectives

In order to reduce agro waste material and at the same time making
good use of it, for the improvement of dielectrics for the utilization of
the electrical industry, cassava cortex which is an example of agro
waste product is used for the fabrication of dielectric materials. The
insulating and mechanical properties determined include:

1.4

Breakdown voltage
Dielectric constant
Linear shrinkage
Water absorption capacity
Moisture content of the composite
Density
Tensile and strength
Impact strength
problem statement

There is an increasing need today for light weight, biodegradable,


environmental

friendly

materials

for

engineering

design

and

fabrication. Taking agro waste as a case study, when this waste are not
properly disposed, they can be harmful to the environment. This can
be prevented and at the same time turn to an advantage if these agro
waste product can be processed into useful product for human used.

For this reason, scientists and engineers have been working on ways to
transform and improve these waste for the betterment of humans.
Most of engineering designs that are metallic are being replaced
with composite materials because of its promising properties and the
flexibility in its properties. That is why most of the agro waste product
are being transformed to composite.
Many materials researchers have used natural fibers/particulate
such as animal bone, egg shell, periwinkle shell, saw dust, coconut
shell, palm kernel shell, cassava cortex etc. to reinforce polymer to
improve either their mechanical, physical, chemical or insulating
properties which ordinarily pure polymer cannot give.
1.5

justification of the study

This work is justified for the following reasons:

Economic: the cost of raw material used for the development of


the composite is relatively low. Since the cow bone is an animal
waste, when converted to useful reinforcement particles, will

improve the economy of the country.


Availability: the material to be used is a local waste material
(cassava cortex) that is readily available. Sourcing the material is
an easy task and the material is readily available in the markets,

homes and hotels.


Environmental: the materials used in developing the composite
are

environmental

friendly.

Using

this

waste

material

in

production will help to keep our environmental clean. This


material would have been dangerous to human and the ecosystem whole if not properly disposed.

Chapter two
2.1 Literature review
The first polymers used for electrical insulators were bisphenol and
cycloaliphatic epoxy resins [Frelikh, G., Teoriia dielektrikov]. Introduced
commercially in the mid-1940s, bisphenol epoxy resins were the first
polymers used for electrical insulators, and are still used to make electrical
insulators for indoor and outdoor applications. Cycloaliphatic epoxy (CE)
were introduced in 1957. They are superior to bisphenol because of their
greater resistance to carbon formation. However, the first commercial CE
insulators failed shortly after installation in outdoor environments. Since
then, new CE formations have resulted in improved electrical performance.
In the early 1960s, distribution class (CE) insulators were first sold
commercially in the U.S. under the name GEPOL. These units failed due to
surface damage and puncture. CE was used later in experimental 500 kV
station breaker bushings, and in 115 kV bushings in the 1970s, and for
suspension insulators by Transmission Development Limited (TDL) of
England. The TDL suspension insulators used slant sheds to provide natural
washing of contamination. From the mid-1960s on, CE insulators were tested
at up to 400 kV service voltage as suspension / strain insulators and crossarm in the United Kingdom. For various reasons, including poor cold
temperature performance and insufficient weight reduction, CE did not gain
acceptance in the US for outdoor high voltage suspension insulators. But
today, CE is widely used in indoor and even semi-enclosed power systems.
In the 1960s an insulator having porcelain sheds supported by an
epoxy resin fiberglass rod was developed. It was not widely used because of

further developments in lighter-weight polymeric insulating materials.


Polymeric outdoor insulators for transmission lines were developed as early
as 1964 in Germany, and by other manufacturers in England, France, Italy,
and the U.S. In Germany, units for field-testing were provided in 1967. In the
late 1960s and early 1970s, manufactures introduced the first generation of
commercial polymeric transmission line insulators.
A large number of utilities started to experiment with the first
generation composite insulators manufactured before the mid-1980s. The
early experience was disappointing. Utilities initially installed these insulators
in short sections of lines and at trouble spots, mostly for experimentation
and

data

gathering.

As

consequence

of

reported

failures

some

manufacturers stopped producing high voltage units and others started an


intensive research effort, which led to the second generation of composite
transmission line insulators. These improved units have tracking free sheds,
better corona resistance, and slip-free end fitting. It has been estimated that
more than 20% of the total outlay for a typical transmission and/or
distribution system of electric energy is spent on insulation alone and
prominent among them is porcelain. Our giant electrical industry (NEPA)
imports almost hundred percent of the total insulation it uses of which
porcelain occupies a central position, notably from the Asian countries.
This state of affairs adversely affects the country's foreign exchange
reserve and is inconsistent with the drive for local substitution of imported
goods. Furthermore, tight dependence on foreign goods is highly susceptible
to sabotage and more often than not, the manufactured articles may not be
ideal for the importing country's climate, which invariably affects efficiency.
More importantly, standardization is difficult if not impossible since the
manufacturing technology is non-resident in Nigeria. Additionally, sporadic
scarcity of the imported variety and the attendant exorbitant cost make the
insulator highly susceptible to stealing, with the consequent vandalization of
the power lines, this phenomenon has become prevalent in the recent times.

It is therefore highly anticipated that if these insulators are massively and


cheaply produced from the cheap abundant local raw materials, that the
prices will become very cheap and easily affordable. This development will
invariably make stealing of insulators and consequent vandalization of the
power lines unattractive and unprofitable; thus ensuring a more stable power
supply for the country. Indigenous manufacture of porcelain insulator will in
addition

to

overcoming

all

the

problems

highlighted

above,

create

employment opportunities for the teeming populace of this country. This


becomes more obvious when it is considered that the establishment of one
porcelain manufacturing industry per state will hardly meet the local demand
for rural electrification alone. Local manufacture of porcelain insulator can be
made a foreign exchange earner for the country if adequately supported by
the government or some wealthy entrepreneurs. The main objective of this
paper ranges from highlighting the local availability of the raw materials for
the production of porcelain insulators to the actual manufacture of porcelain
insulators from the locally available raw materials and the characterization. It
is also intended to make a comparison between the locally manufactured
porcelain with the imported variety.
Indigenously developed technology is considered an essential index for
exploring

and

promoting

under-utilized

resources,

technological

and

economic potential of a nations industrialization processes. It has been


established that abundant raw materials are available for the manufacture of
electrical porcelain insulators as well as heated ceramic wares in Nigeria
(FMST, 2004). The need for electrical insulators is essentially to prevent the
passage of electricity to some other device or area, so that the electricity
does not cause harm or cause death to those who touch areas or devices
which are connected to the electrical insulators (Porcelain Insulator, 2009).
Insulators are extensively used for high voltage applications (Onaji and
Usman, 1988). In spite of the enormous wide range of application and
availability of raw materials, mostly used insulators are still imported to

Nigeria due to manufacturing of electrical insulators in small quantities; and


majorly restricted to the low voltage shackle and coach screw service. It is
hereby imperative to facilitate manufacturing of locally produced electrical
insulators to meet increasing demand. Hence, the developments of
techniques for the production of high quality porcelain bodies that are
commercially

viable

and

also

meet

required

standards

cannot

be

overemphasized.
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials,
generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures
between 1,200 C (2,192 F) and 1,400 C (2,552 F). The toughness,
strength, and translucence of porcelain arise mainly from the formation of
glass and the mineral mullite within the fired body at these high
temperatures (Porcelain, 2009). Porcelain had been found to be a veritable
stoneware due to its very high density, industrial fast firing cycles, tangible
mechanical strength and wear resistance (Tucci et al., 2007). Unquestionably
porcelain insulators have a wide range of application in the safe transmission
of electricity. Porcelain is primarily composed of clay, feldspar and filler
material, usually quartz or alumina. The clay [(Al2Si2O5 (OH) 4] gives
plasticity to the ceramic mixture, flint or quartz [SiO2] maintains the shape
of the formed article during firing and feldspar [KxNai-x (AlSi3) O8] serves as
flux (CRMPI, 2006). These three constituents place electrical porcelain in the
phase system in term of oxide constituents, hence the term triaxial porcelain
(Buchanan, 1991).
Most existing literatures on body compositions and processing
conditions for porcelains of all kinds such as Norton (1980) and Olupot (2006)
applies mainly to foreign raw materials, which can be quite different from the
local ones in terms of chemical, mineralogical and physical characteristics.
Therefore more efforts should be channeled to establish data and procedures
on the development of electrical porcelain with local raw materials.

Attempts was made by Onaji and Usman (1988) to develop a slip


casting technique for the electrical porcelain body using ball clay materials.
The clay used was grossly inadequate resulting in poor characterization of
the porcelain body produced. Thus, the process developed was not suitable
for mass production of electrical porcelain. This study includes the
investigation and characterization of locally sourced raw materials such as
kaolin clay, ball clay, quartz/alumina and feldspar to formulate body
composition and processing conditions suitable for local electrical porcelain
insulator production.
2.1.1 Status of low temperature carbonization
Low temperature carbonization is essentially a process for producing fuels-solid, liquid,
and gaseous from coal. The products from the various low temperature processes, however,
vary in quantities and qualities depending on the coal used and the nature of the treatments to
which it has been exposed. The differences can be of great significance in the selection of a
process for a given application, and careful study is necessary before a choice can be made.
Although the recovery of chemical products from the tars and oils has frequently been proposed
as a major objective, no installation in which they can be separated on a commercial scale
appears in prospect. As a producer of fuels, a low-temperature process is required to turn out
products competing with similar types of fuels also available in liberal supply. Of the lowtemperature products, the char represents the largest proportion of the original coal, and on that
account its movement must be assured. Its cost is determined not only by the cost of the original
coal but also by the cost of carbonization. To offset this additional processing cost, the coal must
either be cheaper than the competing fuels, or the char should be possess an advantage, such as
better size, shape, analysis, reactivity, or other property. One example of the use of a cheaper coal
would be the conversion of a low-grade coal, such as lignite or brown coal, into an industrial or
domestic fuel, which is competitive with higher grades of coal. This condition will assume
increasing importance as depletion of better grades of coal continues.
The manufacture of formed cokes for metallurgical use, in which low-temperature carbonization
is a primary step, should eventually be able to utilize such lower grade coals, and consequently is
of potential importance to the steel industry.

One desirable characteristic of char is its smokeless quality. This property, together with suitable
form characteristics, has won for the lump char produced by certain processes important places
in the domestic fuel market in Great Britain and in other European countries. Attention,
moreover, is being given in Great Britain to conserving domestic coals of carbonisable quality
for use in coking. In many localities where smoke-control regulations are in effect, smokeless
fuels are being demanded, and consumers may find they do not have appliances including
devices for gas ignition. For these consumers, reactive low-temperature chars, possibly in the
form of briquettes prepared from non-coking coals-which are under development, should be
useful. It is expected that they will receive a premium price. The situation of the tar is similar.
Because the tar will compete with fuels oils, is should at least be comparable in characteristics
with them and possess no property which will render it less desirable. The presence of excessive
quantities of solid char in some tars has materially reduced their value. In Germany and Japan
during World War II little petroleum was available, and the military demand fro aviation fuels
was acute and partially satisfied by motor fuels derived from the low-temperature tars produced
in those countries. With the now adequate availability of petroleum products, the demand for the
tar fractions for these uses has disappeared. Where petroleum in normally available, lowtemperature tars have had difficulty in competing successfully.
The volume of the gas is small, and its heating value is often low because of dilution with
combustion products. On a therm basis, the yield is about half that produced in high temperature
processes, and most of the gas is frequently consumed internally in the plant where it is made.
The volume left has been insufficient to make the process of interest as a producer for city
distribution. The process descriptions have shown that many methods for the low-temperature
carbonization of coal are available for use, and from them chars with a wide variety of
characteristics can be obtained. The second product, also of major importance, has been the large
volume of tar. It was long a common expectation that the values of these products, especially the
chemicals to be derived from the tar, plus possible economies in the carbonization processes as
compared to high-temperature coke ovens, would lead to attractive profits from a low
temperature plant. These opinions have been largely responsible for the great amount of work
and for the development of the innumerable designs, which have been proposed by engineers and
inventors. Not only was much money spent in the legitimate development of new processes, but
low-temperature carbonization also became a fertile field for cranks and promoters, especially

during the 1920s. In 1931, Soule [1] estimated that over $50.000.000 had been spent in the
United States alone on low temperature processes during the previous 10 years. Of all the
processes worked on during that period, only one-the present Disco process - survived. As a
result of the widespread disillusion and the shattering losses, work on low-temperature
carbonization almost dried up in the United States early in the 1930s. The experience in Great
Britain and on the Continent has been similar. However, due to the different pattern of fuel
availability in these countries, especially the absence of the ample supplies of oil and gas that
have been developed in the United States, work on low temperature carbonization continued at a
higher level of activity.
In spite of the years that have elapsed since the early interest in low-temperature
carbonization, review of the experience of the 1920s can be of value to modern investigators.
The disappointments and disillusionments resulting from low-temperature carbonization were
well summarized by Soule. He had just finished a long period of service with one of the largest
commercial installations of a low-temperature process, which had been made in the United States
and which had just ended in failure. Low-temperature projects of the period were divided into
three classes, according to their primary objectives: first, the development of low-temperature
char as an improved domestic fuel; second, the use of low-temperature carbonization as a step in
the complete gasification of coal to manufacture a cheap industrial gaseous fuel; and third the
replacement of bituminous coal as a boiler fuel by low-temperature char. Justification for
manufacture of low-temperature char as a domestic fuel had been based on the false premise that
it could be made to sell at a cheaper price than bituminous coal. Actually, low-temperature chars
at that time were unable to sell for less as a domestic fuel than did high-temperature coke.
Disregarding the differences in operating techniques, there were two primary reasons for this
condition: the lower by-product credits for the low temperature process, and the difficulties
attendant on the transfer of heat into the coal charge. The lower by-product credits for lowtemperature carbonization were due to the smaller yield of by-product gas. This smaller yield
was of vital importance, and was rarely offset by the increased yield of tar. Hence, with a lower
by-product return from the low-temperature process, it was still more essential to operate at a
lower cost in order to for the low temperature tar to complete with high-temperature ovens.
These assumed that operating economies proved illusory. Transfer of heat into coal is a very slow

operation, and at low temperatures, without agitation of the charge, the rate of transfer is reduced
well below that a high temperatures.
Two alternatives were available, according to Soule, both of which seriously affected investment
and operating costs, either coking the coal in thin layers or mechanical agitation of the charge. A
thin layer construction, however, basically similar to high-temperature practice, multiplies flues
and retorts and penalized the process with an excessive investment burden. To offset this,
agitation of the charge was employed. Although this practice was often successful in reducing the
number and cost of retorts, as a result of the agitation a weak, crumbly, light coke, much inferior
in size and strength to that from the fixed retorts, was produced. This situation left the lowtemperature operator with two alternative products, a lump coke with a high investment in
stationary retorts, or an inferior coke from agitated retorts of high throughput and lower
investment and operating costs. Up to 1931, no commercial enterprise had been able to operate
profitably on either basis. Soule considered the two other applications for low-temperature
carbonization- a step in complete gasification of coal and the production of solid fuel for boiler
use- more rational in conception. Complete gasification involved production of a low heating
value gas for industrial use. His experience led to the conclusion that this should be a two-step
operation, with lump char made in stationary retorts and then transferred directly, while the hot if
possible, to a blue-water-gas generator in which the gasification step took place. Size and
properties of the char would be of lesser importance. The low-temperature tar would be a
byproduct of the process, but since 1931, its value only slightly exceeded that of petroleum fuel
oil, the credits from its production were not enough to offset the higher costs of the lump char.
In discussing the manufacture of a boiler fuel, Soule leaned toward an operation in which
finely divided coal was passed continuously through a retort, heated either externally or
internally. Apparently he had in mind an approach to the present day fluidized process. Two of
the difficult operating problems he visualized were the separation of the finely divided dusts
entrained with the outlet gases and the cooling of the finely divided coke. However, the char
could not compete as a boiler fuel unless it could be produced for less money than the cost of the
competing coal or other fuel. Finally, great difficulty was incurred in developing applications for
the fractions or components of the low-temperature tar, and this problem still appears to be
unsolved.

With the advent of fluidized or entrained processes operating on finely divided coals, in units
capable of handling large tonnages, some of the difficulties inherent in the earlier retorts that
plagued Soule and his colleagues have apparently been reduced or even eliminated. The char
from the new processes is, of course, produced in a finely divided form, suitable for industrial
firing. To obtain a product in lumps, the fine char must be briquetted, and since the binder will
give off smoke on heating, a second carbonization step must be applied to the briquettes. This
means that instead of a single operation-the fluidization step- three will be required, fluidization,
briquetting, and final carbonization.
The alternative to producing a lump char by briquetting is to carbonize a coking coal in
such a way that it forms lumps. Soule also indicated that some of the difficulties which could be
encountered. In a high-temperature oven, the coke shrinks and pulls away from the walls of the
oven as carbonization is completed. In a low-temperature slot retort, carbonization may be
complete when the char has actually expanded, so that discharge of the coke by pushing may be
entirely impractical. To permit discharge from these low-temperature ovens, in a number of cases
the walls have been considerably tapered. With other retorts, the walls have been made movable
so that they can be swung aside to permit the char to drop out onto a car or conveyor. These
measures can add materially to the cost of an installation. In carbonizing a coking coal in a
continuous retort, heating eventually puts it in a plastic condition where it balls up into masses
that harden on the walls or screws of the retort. These accumulations may result in irregular
operation or even cause production to cease.
Accumulation of irregular masses on the surface causes uneven temperature conditions in the
retort walls with subsequent warping and distortion. Many attempts have been made to cope with
such accumulations [2]. Building heavier retorts has usually proved impractical, and periodic
disassembly for cleaning has often proved to be the ultimate answer, with a resulting serious loss
in production. Pre-treatment of the coal can be employed, but it adds to the cost of the operation.
On the basis of his experience with low-temperature processes, Price listed the requirements he
considered necessary for successfully producing a char to be used in place of low-volatile coal in
the mix for blast furnace coke [3,4]. These requirements are deserving of consideration in
connection with any new installation for producing a char:
1) The prime requisite is that the char produced in the retort will make a satisfactory grade of
coke, the satisfactory use of the coke in the blast furnaces being the criterion of its quality

2) Agitation of the coal within the retort appears to be desirable to prevent the coal from caking
and to insure efficient and uniform heating of all coal particles
3) The retort should have as few interior projections as possible consistent with proper working
to prevent build-up of carbonaceous material
4) The process of feeding coal and discharging char should be continuous
5) Access to the interior of the retort for inspection and cleaning should be easy
6) Control of heating should be adequate for handling of different grades of coal and for
producing the desired quality of char there from, and the retort should be efficient in its
consumption of fuel
7) It should not require that the coal be closely sized nor than all fines be removed from the coal
for its satisfactory operation
8) It should have a relatively high rate of daily throughout in order to reduce the number of
separate units required to simplify operation practice
9) It must be capable of being operated at sufficiently high-temperatures to insure the production
of char of the proper chemical and physical properties
10) It should be of sufficiently rigid construction to withstand deformation in event of emergency
shutdown
11) It should be of simple and rugged design making possible low repair, maintenance and
operating cost
12) Installation cost should be as low as possible consistent with good quality of construction
and with the other requirements as stated
13) It should be provided with adequate dust collectors in order that the tars and liquid products
be not unduly contaminated by char dust Hansen [5] has named five necessary conditions to be
met if a low-temperature carbonization process is to be rendered technically and economically
feasible:
6) Universal applicability to different types of high-volatile coals
7) Production of a firm, abrasion resistant product
8) Maintenance of desirable temperature conditions through the system to produce a uniform tar
9) Maintenance of an output which is economically attractive, a condition dependent on rabidity
of heat transfer and involving oven design and the thickness of the coal bed
10) Smooth, trouble-free oven operation

Low-temperature processes in the United States and Canada have operated largely on an
experimental basis, with two exceptions. The two processes in regular commercial use are the
Disco process of the Consolidation Coal Company, this plant being located near Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, and the stoker carbonization process, operated by Shawinigan Chemicals Ltd. in
Canada.
In addition to these plants, the Parry process has been operated experimentally on lignite
by the Texas Power and Light Company at the power installation for the Aluminum Company of
America at Rockdale, Texas. The Lurgi-Spulgas process also has operated in North Dakota for
some time on the local lignite. A process fro producing a metallurgical formed coke from
Wyoming subbituminous coal was announced, and production of a low-temperature char is one
of the first steps. This plant is operated by Food Machinery and Chemical Company and the
United States Steel Corporation at Kemmerer, Wyoming.
In Europe, Japan, and other parts of the world, the Kruoo-Lurgi, Lurgi-spulgas and Rochdale gas
re-circulation appear to be most widely in use, but work is proceeding at a number of locations
on smaller-scale units of other carbonization methods.
These few plants provide a limited engineering basis for the selection or installation of a low
temperature process to meet a given need. Although many processes have been tried, they have
been operated on different coals, in different ways, and for widely different objectives.
Little correlation between them is available. Each process has often functioned on pretty much
an experimental scale, without reaching the more critical stage of successful commercial
practice. Numerous factors, such as handling the dust in the outlet gases and cooling the char,
although possibly of lesser importance in pilot installation, can become serious problems when a
process becomes mature and a full-scale plant is required. The engineer entering the lowtemperature field finds it almost a virgin one, which encompasses first the selection of a process
for a given need, then the design and engineering with the identification and definition of the
problems to be faced, and finally plant operation and meeting the unexpected developments. For
these reasons commercial evaluations of processes are still very difficult.
Little significant information on the costs of low-temperature processes is available, but
reliable estimates are important in considering an installation. Parry [6] has given a useful
relation between the costs of the coals employed, the cost of processing, and the value of the tar.

For the use of the char as a power-plant fuel he expressed this relation by an equation, which can
be transported into several forms:
P VT C(1 R)
where P=net cost of processing and handling fuel to the burner, which equals the total processing
cost, including crushing, drying, carbonization, tar condensing, and handling of materials, minus
the total estimated cost of burning raw coal, including crushing, pulverizing, and handling; C=
cost of coal delivered to the processing plant; R= net heat ratio, char/coal, obtained from assay
and analysis; T= tar yield, gallons per ton, obtained from assay; and V=break even value of the
tar, cents per gallon.
A.D. Little [7] has estimated the gross receipts, which might be derived per ton of North Dakota
lignite from the char and the products potentially available from the tar. The use of lignite as a
fuel has been on a comparatively small scale because of its high water content almost 50%- and
its tendency to heat spontaneously in a pile, which makes storage difficult. From the $3.03 gross
receipts shown by A.D. Little should be subtracted the various costs chargeable against the
operation: the cost of the lignite itself, any transportation, costs of processing and of refining the
tar, the costs of transportation of the various products to the market, fixed charges on the
investment, and taxes.
In this work, cassava peel also known as cassava cortex is the raw material that was used
as the particulate in the composite fabrication.
Cassava peels can represent 5 to 15% of the root (Aro et al., 2010; Nwokoro et al.,
2005a). They are obtained after the tubers have been water-cleansed and peeled mechanically
(Aro et al., 2010). They may contain high amounts of cyanogenic glycosides and have a higher
protein content than other tuber parts (Tewe, 2004).
Fresh cassava peels have 3 main deficiencies: they spoil very quickly, they contain phytates and
large amounts of cyanogenic glycosides. They should thus be processed in order to reduce
cyanogenic potential and phytate content and to preserve their nutritive quality (Oboh, 2006;
Salami et al., 2003; Tewe, 1992; Adegbola et al., 1985). Different processes are effective in
reducing cyanogenic glycoside including sun-drying, ensiling, and soaking + sun-drying. All
these methods have yielded satisfactory results (Salami et al., 2003; Tewe, 1992; Adegbola et al.,
1985).

Good quality silage can be obtained after chopping the peels to equal lengths of about 2 cm for
easy compaction, and wilting for 2 days to reduce moisture content from 70-75 % to about 40%.
Under these conditions, cassava peel silage after 21 days was light brown in colour, firm in
texture and had a pleasant odor. The pH was 4.4, and no fungal growth was observed (Asaolu,
1988 cited by Smith, 1988).
In Nigeria, drying cassava peels on black plastic sheets has been drawing the attention of
smallholders and was the Winning project of the 2008 Global Development Marketplace (a grant
programm held by the World Bank), "Using cassava waste to raise goats".
Solid fermentation of a mixture of cassava peels and waste water from fermented cassava
pulp with Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Lactobacillus spp. resulted in a product with a higher
protein content, lower cyanogenic glycosides and lower phytate content (Ubalua, 2007; Oboh,
2006).
Cassava processing produces large amounts of waste and is generally considered to
contribute significantly to environmental pollution (FAO, 2001). A cassava starch production unit
processing 100 tons of tubers per day has an output 47 tons of fresh by-products, which may
cause environmental problems when left in the surroundings of processing plants or carelessly
disposed of (Aro et al., 2010). In Nigeria, for example, cassava wastes are usually left to rot
away or burnt to create space for the accumulation of yet more waste heaps. The heaps emit
carbon dioxide and produce a strong offensive smell (Aro et al., 2010; Adebayo, 2008). Cassava
peels (large amounts of cyanogenic glucosides) and pomace (large amounts of biodegradable
organic matter) may cause surface water pollution especially if they are stored under heavy rain
or simply disposed of in surface waters (Pandey et al., 2000; Cereda et al., 1996; Barana et al.,
2000). The presence of a large processor or several small processors can cause the eutrophication
of slow moving water systems, notably during the dry season (FAO, 2001). However, cassava
processing does not seem to affect groundwater supply, except occasionally in the immediate
surroundings of processing units, due to leaching through the soil (FAO, 2001). Starch extraction
requires large volumes of water and may cause water depletion, but in most areas this problem is
minimized by the adoption of processing technologies suitable for the water resources available
(FAO, 2001).

Generally, the long-term and broad-based impact of cassava processing on the


environment can be corrected by proper waste treatment (FAO, 2001). The use of cassava byproducts as feedstuffs or as an alternative substrate for biotechnological processes is a positive
way to alleviate environmental issues (Pandey et al., 2000).
A.O. Oladiji, J.O. Borode, and B.O. Adewuyi, of the Department of Metallurgical and
Materials Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. With I.O. Ohijeagbon
of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria also worked
on the development of porcelain insulators from locally sourced materials.
Varying composition of kaolin, ball clay, feldspar and quartz was used to produce
different samples of porcelain insulators to investigate their resulting properties and suitability
for mass production and commercial viability. The basic raw materials were separately prepared
using a 200um sieve. The mixtures were formulated to produce porcelain samples by using
sodium silicate as deflocculates, while the slip casting process was used in the production of the
electrical porcelain insulator. Produced insulator samples were fired by means of bisque and
glaze firing techniques respectively. The sample with composition of 33% Kaolin, 15% ball clay,
32% feldspar and 20% quartz was found to possess the highest failing load of 8.0 kN,
corresponding to water absorption (1.55%), porosity (4.64%), bulk density (1.73 g/cm3), with
appreciable insulation resistance of 6,630 Mega ohms at injection of 5,000 volts. The
investigation had shown that high quality electrical porcelain insulators could be achieved from
locally sourced materials.
At the end of the work, they concluded that Good quality low voltage porcelain bodies were
produced from kaolin clay, ball clay, feldspar and quartz. The sample 3 with composition of 33%
Kaolin, 15% ball clay, 32% feldspar and 20% quartz was found to possess the highest failing
load of 8.0 kN, corresponding to water absorption (1.55%), porosity (4.64%), bulk density (1.73
g/cm3), with appreciable insulation resistance of 6,630 Mega ohms at injection of 5,000 volts.
They also made mention of the fact that some constraints were encountered during firing which
led to abnormality in the properties of some specimens produced and tested. Finally, further work
was recommended on the investigation of the internal structure of clay or porcelain particles,
before and after firing to determine their effect on the physical, thermal and electrical properties
of porcelain insulators.

L. U. Anih, MNSE, MIEEE Department of Electrical Engineering University of Nigeria,


Nsukka concluded Based on the experimental results obtained in his study and in comparison
with commercial porcelain:
(a) That using the locally available raw materials, electrical porcelain with good dielectric
properties can be produced since it has dielectric constant below 12 and volume resistivity
greater than 106 ohm cm.
(b) That the characterized composition, kaolin 30%, ball clay 10%, feldspar 22% and quartz 38%
has the potentialities of good electrical insulator.
c) That the insulator might be more efficient at high frequencies where the dissipation factor is
correspondingly lower.

Chapter three
Materials and methodology
3.1 Materials
A low cost manufacturing process using simple experimental
design methodology has been developed for this study, and no
expensive machinery was required for processing. Locally evaluable
raw materials were used in this work.
The agro-waste material (cassava cortex) was obtained from
local markets in Nsukka in Enugu state. Simple molding process was
used in the sample fabrication. After the fabrication of the samples,
they were subjected to series of tests such as dielectric test and
mechanical tests. The description of the process is shown below.

3.2 Experimental Materials


I.
II.
III.

Cassava cortex
Epoxy resin
Hardener

Cassava cortex: cassava cortex is the raw material that constitutes


the particulate of the composite. It is gotten by peeling off the back of
a cassava and allowing it to dry in the sun. This material forms a
composite with good dielectric property when mixed with epoxy.
Epoxy resin: Epoxy belongs to a class of polymer called thermoset. It
is hard, tough, insoluble and infusible when cured. Its property of
infusibility differentiates thermoset from thermoplastics. Epoxy cure at
room temperature. During curing, it undergo exothermic reaction.
Epoxy is the most widely used polymer because of its exceptional
properties. (Ceramic Raw Material for Porcelain Insulator (CRMPI) (2006), [online])
Below are the advantages one can gain from using epoxy resin:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

Good handling characteristic.


Low shrinkage.
Excellent adhesive property.
Flame resistance.
Good chemical resistance.
No by-product form during curing.
Good mechanical properties.
Good electrical resistivity.
Good dielectric constant.

Amine Hardener: These are comprehensive line of anhydride based


hardeners designed for indoor/outdoor electrical application and
composites. When paired with a compactible epoxy resin, anhydride
based polymers offers low viscosity, UV stability, high temperature
performance and good electrical insulation properties.

3.2.1 Preparation of cassava cortex

The cassava peels used was sourced locally from markets in


Nsukka in Enugu state. The cassava peels was sun dried after which,
the brown exterior of the cassava peel was easily removed with hand
after which, the cassava cortex was carbonized. Carbonization was
done at a temperature of 350 degree Celsius. The cortex was ground
into powder using grinding machine. After the grinding, sieve analysis
was carried out on the particle. This is where different particle size of
the powder was separated using sieve. Particle size of 150microns,
300microns and 600microns were used. The cassava cortex powder
which is now the reinforcement was mixed with epoxy resin which is
the matrix in certain ratio that will be later specified and stirred, after
which, the mixture will now be cast into the mold for the fabrication
into any desired shape. After the casting, the specimen was allowed to
dry and solidify.
3.3 Fabrication process
A relatively low cost polymer composite manufacturing process
using simple experimental design methodology was employed for this
study. The activities involved are classified into three steps, which
include:

Mold making
Preparation of the composition for the samples
Casting

3.3.1 Mold making


The materials used for the preparation of the molds is an
embossed paper. This embossed paper is cut into different sizes and
shapes for the fabrication of the mold. After the mold has been
fabricated, they were placed on a flat metal sheet and with masking
tape, these molds where held in place. For the cylindrical molds, it was

ensured that the base of the mold was firmly held to avoid leakage
during pouring.
3.3.2 Preparation of the composite for the samples
S/N
1

Designation
Composition
150 microns cassava 40% epoxy + 20% hardener + 40%
cortex particulate

particulate
33% epoxy + 17% hardener + 50%
particulate
27% epoxy + 13% hardener + 60%

particulate
300 microns cassava 40% epoxy + 20% hardener + 40%
cortex particulate

particulate
33% epoxy + 17% hardener + 50%
particulate
27% epoxy + 13% hardener + 60%
particulate

600 microns cassava 40% epoxy + 20% hardener + 40%


cortex particulate

particulate
33% epoxy + 17% hardener + 50%
particulate
27% epoxy + 13% hardener + 60%
particulate

From the table above, samples were produced for each particulate size.
3.3.3 Casting of the samples
The casting process is the last stage of fabrication of the sample.
After the equivalent volume is known for each sample, releasing agent
was properly applied in the mold for easy removal of the sample after
curing. The resin (epoxy) is then mixed with the hardener in the ratio of
2:1 in a glass beaker and stirred properly. The particulate was then

measured and poured into the mixture, it was stirred to ensure a


homogeneous mixture. After the stirring, it was poured into the mold
and allowed to cure. After curing, the samples were removed from the
mold and were taken to the next procedure which involved testing.

3.4 Testing of fabricated samples


The tests that were carried out on these samples are for the
determination of the breakdown voltage, dielectric constant, water
absorption capacity test, moisture content test, tensile test, impact
test, linear shrinkage and density
3.4.1 Breakdown voltage
The breakdown voltage of an insulator is the minimum voltage that
causes a portion of an insulator to become electrically conductive.

The cylindrical sample of 25mm diameter was placed in a dielectric testing


machine and an impulse voltage was gradually applied to the sample from the control
desk until the specimen fails at a given value. The value at which the insulator failed is
recorded and the breakdown voltage of all the specimen is recorded via the same
procedure.

3.4.2 Dielectric constant


This is simply a quantity measuring the ability of a substance to store
electrical energy in an electric field.

To determine the dielectric constant, the composite samples


were molded into rectangular plates of length 50mm, width 30mm and
thickness 2mm. the figure below shows the plan for the experimental

setup used for the determination of the dielectric constant. It


comprises of two parallel plate capacitors, DC battery, and a digital
multimeter for measuring the applied voltage across the samples. An
air gap was created between two parallel plate capacitors which has
the same thickness with the sample. The parallel plate capacitors were
connected to the battery and the voltage across was measured (Vo).
The samples were then inserted between this air gap and the different
voltage was taken for the different samples.
Given below is the relationship between the Vo (voltage between the
capacitor with an air gap between them) and V (voltage across the
capacitor with the sample between them).
=

Vo
V

Where

= the dielectric constant.

Below is the diagram of the dielectric test being perform.

3.4.3 Water absorption capacity test


The water absorbed by the material is specified as the
percentage weight gained by the material. With the cylindrical sample
of length 30mm and diameter 15mm, the samples were weight to the
nearest 0.01g (M1) and immersed in the water for a period of one
month after which, it was removed from the water and allowed to drain
in the ambient, then the sample was weighed again the second time
(M2). The water absorbed was calculated as percentage weight gain
using the following formula:
Wa=

( M 2M 1 )
100
M1

3.4.4 Moisture content


The moisture present in the samples has samples has significant
effects on the dielectric strength and resistivity of the materials. Therefore,
the moisture content at the time of measurement is needed to be specified.
The sample with length 5mm and diameter 15mm was taken and each of
them was weighed to the nearest 0.01g (M 3), the samples were then placed
in an oven for 3 hours at 90 degree Celsius. After proper drying, the samples
were weighed to obtain the value (M4). The moisture content was calculated
as percentage of the dry sample using the following equation:
Wc=

( M 3M 4 )
100
M3

3.4.5 Tensile test


The strength of the insulators was investigated by determining their tensile strength
according to (ASTM, 1985b). A Universal tensile testing machine was used to carry out
the failing load of the samples. The insulators were coupled on the tensile machine and
allowed to be loaded up to until failure was experienced.

3.4.6 Impact test


The Charpy impact test, also known as the Charpy V-notch test, is a
standardized high strain-rate test which determines the amount of energy
absorbed by a material during fracture.

3.4.7 Linear Shrinkage


The dimensional changes in length were taken and the results were used to determine the
linear shrinkage after firing at 105C. The linear shrinkage was determined using
equations (1) to (3) below.

Drying shrinkage =

LwLd
100
Ld

Fired shrinkage =

LwLf
100
Ld

(2)

Total shrinkage =

LwLf
100
Lw

(3)

Where Ld = Dry length, Lw = Wet length, Lf = Fired length

(1)

3.4.8 Density
Density was calculated using a direct volume measurement method. This method
involves the use of water displacement method and the mass of the samples. The mass of
the sample divided by the volume of the displaced water will give the density of the
samples

Density =

M
v =mass/volume (g/cm3)

Chapter 4
Data, analysis and interpretation
This chapter is centered on the explanation of all the results of the
tests that has been carried out on the fabricated sample. Some of these tests
are destructive (damaging the specimen after the test) while some of them
are non-destructive (the specimen still intact after the test was conducted)
Below are the data generated for the various tests and the possible
explanations to the nature of the prevailing values
4.1 breakdown voltage.
Below is the breakdown voltage value of the composite with different volume
fraction of particles and epoxy
S/N
1
2
3
4
5
6

Sample
40% 150U
50% 150U
60% 150U
40% 300U
50% 300U
60% 300U

Breakdown voltage (V)


30
37
36
25
35
25

7
8
9
10

40% 600U
50% 600U
60% 600U
CONTROL

38
40
40

4.2 dielectric constant


Below is the values gotten for the dielectric test conducted on the samples
S/N

Sample

Vo

across
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

40% 150U
50% 150U
60% 150U
40% 300U
50% 300U
60% 300U
40% 600U
50% 600U
60% 600U
control

voltage V
with

voltage

an across with the

air gap
1.00059
1.00059
1.00059
1.00059
1.00059
1.00059
1.00059
1.00059
1.00059
1.00059

sample
1.02V
0.06V
0.10V
0.65V
1.15V
0.20V
0.10V
0.21V
0.20V

Vo
V

0.9810
16.6765
10.0059
1.5394
0.8701
5.0030
10.0059
4.7647
5.0030

4.3 water absorption capacity test


Below are the values gotten form the test conducted on water absorption
capacity of the samples
S/

Samples

Initial

weight Final

weight Water

absorption

before
immersion

after
in from

removal rate (%) WA=(M2water

= M1)/M1 X 100

40%

water = M1(g)
35

M2(g)
36

(percentage)
2.86

150U
50%

33

34

3.03

150U
60%

35

36

2.86

150U
40%

35

37

5.71

300U
50%

33

35

6.06

300U
60%

35

38

8.57

300U
40%

32

35

9.38

600U
50%

30

33

10.00

600U
60%

27

31

14.81

10

600U
control

36

37

2.78

From the table above, it can be observed that the composite has a zero
moisture absorption content. That is, the weight of the material before the
absorption is the weight of the material after the absorption.

4.4 moisture content


Below are the value gotten from the different samples based on the moisture
content test
S/

Samples

Initial weight Final

weight Moisture content

with moisture after drying in (%)


content

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

40% 150U
50% 150U
60% 150U
40% 300U
50% 300U
60% 300U
40% 600U
50% 600U
60% 600U
control

M3(g)
36
34
36
37
35
38
35
33
30
37

= the

oven

M4(g)
35
33
35
35
33
35
32
30
27
38

MC=(M3-

= M4)/M3 X 100
2.86
2.94
2.86
2.70
5.71
7.89
8.57
9.09
10.00
2.70

4.5 tensile test


The strength of the insulators was investigated with the help of the result. It was observed
that the sample with higher percentage composition of cassava has lower strength compared to
the ones with high epoxy content. This shows that the strength of the composite insulator are
enhanced by the presence of the epoxy matrix.

4.6 impact test


These are the values gotten from the impact test
S/N
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
4.7 Linear Shrinkage

Samples
40% 150U
50% 150U
60% 150U
40% 300U
50% 300U
60% 300U
40% 600U
50% 600U
60% 600U
CONTROL

Energy(J)
5.10
5.00
5.00
3.45
3.50
3.40
3.35
3.75
2.95
5.50

The total linear shrinkage percentage of insulators were found to increase with increasing
cassava cortex content and reduction of epoxy as indicated by Tables

S/N

Sample

Dry

Wet

Fired

Dry

Fired

Total

length

length

length

shrinka

shrinka

shrinka

ge
4.17

ge
4.17

40%

12

12

11.5

ge
0

150U
50%

12

12

11.1

7.50

7.50

150U
60%

12

12

10.9

9.16

9.17

150U
40%

12

12

10.4

13.33

13.33

300U
50%

12

12

10.5

12.50

12.50

300U
60%

12

12

10.0

16.67

16.67

300U
40%

12

12

9.80

18.33

18.33

600U
50%

12

12

9.80

18.33

18.33

600U
60%

12

12

9.70

19.67

19.17

10

600U
CONTROL

12

12

11.5

4.17

4.17

4.8 Density
These are the values of density of the different samples of the composite.
S/N

Sample

Mass(g)

Volume(cm

Density(g/c

1
2
3
4
5
6

40%
50%
60%
40%
50%
60%

36
34
36
37
35
38

3)
25
25
27
24
28
29

m3)
1.44
1.36
1.33
1.54
1.25
1.31

150U
150U
150U
300U
300U
300U

7
8
9
10

40% 600U
50% 600U
60% 600U
CONTROL

35
33
30
37

30
26
27
27

1.17
1.27
1.11
1.37

Chapter five
Conclusion
The electrical insulation properties and mechanical properties of
carbonized cassava cortex mixed with epoxy was determined. The dielectric
properties measured is comparable with those of standard insulator.
However, there moisture contents and their water absorption capacity were
measured. The usefulness as an electrical insulator and their work life was
also determined. Moreover, the resistivity of the composite were studied and
compared with the conventional insulator. The mechanical properties such as
tensile and compressive strength, hardness and impact strength were
extensively examined. This was done to determine the suitable environment
for its application.
For further work on this area, the effect of temperature, frequency and heat
dispersion should be examine as it affect the polarization of the composite

materials. Also, the cassava cortex may be carbonized at a different


temperature and the concentration of the cassava cortex in the epoxy matrix
should be reduced for effective bonding and possibly, improvement in the
dielectric and mechanical properties.

Reference

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