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1. (WO2017093503) METHODS FOR DIELECTRICALLY INSULATING ELECTRICAL ACTIVE PARTS
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Methods for dielectrically insulating electrical active parts

This application claims priority to European application No. 15198056.2 filed on the 4th of December 2015, the whole content of this application being incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.

The invention concerns methods for dielectrically insulating electrical active parts using certain sulfofluoridates, preferably fluorinated alkyl sulfofluoridates, as well as compositions and apparatus comprising such compounds.

Dielectrically insulation media in liquid or gaseous state are applied for the insulation of electrical active parts in a wide variety of electrical apparatus, e.g. in switchgears or transformers.

Mixtures of SF6 and N2 are widely applied as dielectrically insulating medium. Efforts have been made in the past to provide alternative dielectrically insulating media.

WO 2014/096414 concerns a method of dielectrically insulating electrical active parts using certain fluorinated compounds, e.g. fluorinated ethers and peroxides.

The object of the present invention is to provide improved methods and/or compositions for the electrical insulation of electrical active parts.

Advantageously, the methods and compositions of the present invention show improved insulation, arc-extinguishing and/or switching performance. Also advantageously, the methods and compositions of the present invention show advantageous environmental impact when the insulating medium is released into the atmosphere, e.g. as measured by an improved global warming potential (GWP) and/or improved ozone depletion. Also advantageously, the methods and compositions of the present invention show an improved toxicological behavior, as measured for example by a higher LC50 and/or a higher Occupational Exposure Limit. Furthermore, the methods and compositions advantageously show an improved dew point, vapour pressure, boiling point, dielectrical strengths, and/or thermal stability of the insulating media. Additionally, the compositions according to this invention advantageously show an improved chemical inertness against the construction materials used e.g. for the electrical active parts and/or improved heat transfer properties.

These and other objectives are solved by the present invention as outlined in the claims.

Accordingly, a first aspect of the present invention concerns a method for dielectrically insulating an electrical active part wherein the electrical active part is arranged in a gas-tight housing comprising an insulating medium consisting of, consisting essentially of, or comprising a compound of general formula (I): R-(0)m-S(0)nF wherein n is 0, 1, or 2; m is 1 or 2; and R is hydrogen, alkyl, alkenyl, alkylyne, aryl, fluoro substituted alkyl, fluorosubstituted alkenyl, fluoro substituted alkynylor fluorosubstituted aryl.

The term "fluorosubstituted" is intended to denote a group wherein at least one hydrogen atom is replaced by one fluorine atom.

The term "aryl" is intended to denote a monovalent radical derived from an aromatic nucleus such as, in particular, a C6-C10 aromatic nucleus, in particular phenyl or naphthyl. The aryl group can optionally be substituted, e.g. substituted with at least one alkyl group.

The term "alkyl" is intended to denote an optionally substituted saturated monovalent hydrocarbon radical, such as, in particular, a C1-C6 alkyl. By way of example, mention may be made of methyl, ethyl, propyl, isopropyl, butyl, t-butyl, pentyl, isopentyl and hexyl. The alkyl may be optionally substituted, e.g. with halogen, aryl, or heteroaryl. A preferred alkyl group is methyl. The term "alkyl" also encompasses cycloalkyl groups. Cycloalkyl groups are optionally substituted cycles of saturated hydrocarbon-based groups. By way of example, mention may be made of cyclopropyl, cyclobutyl, cyclopentyl, and cyclohexyl.

The term "alkenyl" is intended to denote a straight or branched acyclic monovalent hydrocarbon radical having one or more carbon-carbon double bonds of either E or Z stereochemistry where applicable. The term includes, for example, vinyl, allyl, 1-butenyl, 2-butenyl, and 2-methyl-2-propenyl.

The term "alkynyl" is intended to denote a straight or branched chain monovalent hydrocarbon radical having from two to six carbon atoms and at least one carbon-carbon triple bond and optionally one or more carbon-carbon double bonds. Examples include ethynyl, propynyl and 3,4-pentadiene-l-ynyl.

The term "consisting essentially of as used herein is intended to denote a composition comprising the components as specified as well as other components in trace amounts wherein the presence of the other components does not change the essential characteristics of the specified subject matter.

Preferably, R is alkyl. More preferably, R is perfluorinated alkyl. Hence, all hydrogen atoms in R have been replaced by fluorine atoms. Thus, R can be chosen from the group consisting of perfluorinated methyl, ethyl, isopropyl, n-propyl, isobutyl, n-butyl or tert-butyl, n-pentyl or isopentyl groups, most preferably, chosen from trifluoromethyl, pentafluoroethyl, and

heptafluoroisopropyl. Specifically, R is CF3.

Alternatively, R is partially fluorinated. In this case, R is chosen from the group consisting of partially fluorinated methyl, ethyl, isopropyl, n-propyl, isobutyl, n-butyl, tert-butyl, n-pentyl and isopentyl. Preferably, R is indepedently chosen from difluoromethyl, tetrafluoroethyl, n-hexafluoropropyl and

isohexafluoropropyl, more preferably difluoromethyl.

The counter n is preferably 1 or 2, most preferably n is 2.

The counter m is preferably 1.

Most preferably, the compound of general formula (I) is trimethyl sulfofluoridate = CF3-0-S02-F.

In the frame of the present invention, the singular is intended to include the plural, and vice versa.

Compounds of the general formula R-0-S02F and R-0-0-S02F can be prepared as described in van Meter, W.P.; Cady, G.H., Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 82, 1960, pp. 6005 - 6008. For example, CF3-0-S02-F can be prepared from CF3OF and S02 and CF3-0-0-S02-F can be prepared from CF3OF and S03.

Compounds of general formula (I) wherein n is 0 can be prepared e.g. by reaction of elemental sulphur with ROF. Thus, CF3-0-S-F can be prepared by reaction of elemental sulphur with CF3OF.

Compounds of general formula (I) wherein n is 1 can be prepared as described in Ahmed, M. G. et al, Chemical Communications (London), 23, 1968, pp. 1533-4.

Preferably, the insulating medium used in the inventive method comprises the compound of formula (I) and at least one further compound selected from the list consisting of an inert gas, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ketone, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ether, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ester, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated cyano compound and a hydrocarbon compound. More preferably, the at least one compound is an inert gas selected from the group consisting of air, synthetic air, an air component, N2, 02, C02, N2O, He, Ne, Ar, Xe and SF6; preferably the at least one compound is N2.

The term "inert gas" is intended to denote a gas that does not react with the compounds according to the invention. Preferably, the inert gas is chosen from the list consisting of air, synthetic air, an air component, N2, (¾, CO2, N2O, He, Ne, Ar, Xe or SF6; more preferably, the inert gas is N2.

Preferably, the at least one compound is a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ketone. The term "ketone" is intended to denote a compound incorporating at least one carbonyl group with two carbon atoms attached to the carbon of the carbonyl group. It shall encompass saturated compounds and unsaturated compounds including double and/or triple bonds. The at least partially fluorinated alkyl chain of the ketones can be linear or branched. The term "ketone" shall also encompass compounds with a cyclic carbon backbone. The term "ketone" may comprise additional in-chain hetero-atoms, e.g. at least one heteroatom being part of the carbon backbone and/or being attached to the carbon backbone. More preferably, the at least one compound is a perfluorinated ketone. Examples of suitable perfluorinated ketones include 1,1,1,3,4,4,4-heptafluoro-3-(trifluoromethyl)-butan-2-one; 1,1,1,3,3,4,4,5,5,5-decafluoropentan-2-one; 1,1,1 ,2,2,4,4,5,5, 5-decafluoropentan-3-one,

1,1,1, 4,4,5,5, 5,-octafluoro-3-bis-(trifluoromethyl)-pentan-2-one; and most preferably heptafluoroisopropyl-trifluoromethyl -ketone.

Also preferably, the at least one compound is a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ether. The term "ether" is intended to denote a compound

incorporating at least one "-C-0-C-" moiety. Especially suitable examples include pentafluoro-ethyl-methyl ether and 2,2,2-trifluoroethyl-trifluoromethyl ether.

Also preferably, the at least one compound is a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ester, i.e. a compound incorporating at least one "-C(0)0-" moiety. Suitable compounds are known in the art, especially suitable examples include methyl, ethyl, and trifluoromethyl esters of trifluoroacetic acid.

Also preferably, the at least one compound is a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated cyano compound, i.e. a compound incorporating at least one moiety of the structure "-C≡N". Preferably, the cyano compound is perfluorinated, more preferably the cyano compound is chosen from the list consisting of

perfluorinated methyl, ethyl, isopropyl, propyl, butyl, isobutyl and tertbutyl nitrile.

Also preferably, the at least one compound is a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated hydrocarbon compound. "Hydrocarbon compound" is intended to denote a saturated or unsaturated hydrocarbon, which may in addition to the fluoro substitution also be substituted by other halogen atoms, e.g. CI, Br, and/or I. Suitable examples include CHF3, C2F4, CF3CF2CF2CF2I , and CF2C12.

The term "electrical active part" has to be understood very broadly.

Preferably, it covers any part which is used for the generation, the distribution or the usage of electrical energy provided it comprises a gas-tight housing wherein the dielectrically insulating medium provides for the dielectrically insulation of parts which bear voltage or current. Preferably, the electrical active parts are medium voltage or high voltage parts. The term "medium voltage" relates to a voltage in the range of 1 kV to 72 kV ; the term "high voltage" refers to a voltage of more than 72 kV. While these are preferred electrical active parts in the frame of the present invention, the parts may also be low voltage parts with a voltage below 1 kV being concerned.

It has to be noted that the electrical active parts of the invention can be "stand alone" parts, or they can be part of an assembly of parts, e.g. of an apparatus. This will now be explained in detail.

The electrical active part can be a switch, for example, a fast acting earthing switch, a disconnector, a load-break switch or a puffer circuit breaker, in particular a medium-voltage circuit breaker (GIS-MV), a generator circuit breaker (GIS-HV), a high voltage circuit breaker, a bus bar a bushing, a gas-insulated cable, a gas-insulated transmission line, a cable joint, a current transformer, a voltage transformer or a surge arrester.

The electrical active part may also be part of an electrical rotating machine, a generator, a motor, a drive, a semiconducting device, a computing machine, a power electronics device or high frequency parts, for example, antennas or ignition coils.

The method of the invention is especially suited for medium voltage switchgears and high voltage switchgears.

The insulating medium used in the method of the invention is preferably in the gaseous state when used in the method of the invention. However, depending on the conditions, e.g. the temperature and the pressure, under which the method is performed, the insulating medium can also be, at least partially, in the liquid state.

In the electrical active part, the insulating medium is preferably at a pressure of equal to or greater than 0.1 bar (abs.). The insulating medium is preferably at a pressure equal to or lowers than 30 bar (abs). A preferred pressure range is from 1 to 20 bar (abs.).

The partial pressure of the compound of general structure (I) in the gaseous phase depends, i.a. upon its concentration in the isolating medium. If the dielectrically isolating medium consists of the compound of general structure (I) its partial pressure is equal to the total pressure and corresponds to the ranges given above. If the medium includes an inert gas, the partial pressure of the compound of general structure (I) is correspondingly lower. A partial pressure of the compound of general structure (I) which is equal to or lower than 10 bar (abs) is preferred.

It is also preferred that the compound or the mixture, respectively, is such that under the climate conditions or the temperature in the ambience of the electrical apparatus, under the pressure in the electrical part, essentially no condensation of the components in the dielectrically insulating medium occurs. The term "essentially no condensation" denotes that at most 5 % by weight, preferably at most 2 % by weight, of the dielectrically insulating medium condenses. For example, the amounts of compound of formula (I) the kind and amount of inert gas are selected such that the partial pressure of compound of formula (I) is lower than the pressure where condensation of compound of formula (I) is observed at -20°C.

In a second aspect, the present invention concerns a composition consisting of, consisting essentially of, or comprising at least one compound of general formula (I): R-(0)m-S(0)nF wherein n is 0, 1, or 2; m is 1 or 2; and R is hydrogen, alkyl, alkenyl, alkylyne, aryl, fluoro substituted alkyl, fluoro substituted alkenyl, fluoro substituted alkynylor fluoro substituted aryl; and at least one further compound selected from the group consisting of an inert gas, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ketone, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ether, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ester, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated cyano compound and a hydrocarbon compound.

Preferably, the composition consists of, consists essentially of, or comprises CF3-O-SO2-F and at least one compound selected from the group consisting of an inert gas, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ketone, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated ether, a perfluorinated or partially

fluorinated ester, a perfluorinated or partially fluorinated cyano compound and a hydrocarbon compound.

More preferably, the composition consists of, consists essentially of, or comprises CF3-O-SO2-F and at least one compound selected from the group consisting of air, synthetic air, an air component, N2, 02, C02, N20, He, Ne, Ar, Xe or SF6; preferably consisting of, consisting essentially of, or comprising CF3-0-S02-F and N2.

In a third object, the present invention concerns an apparatus for the generation, distribution and/or usage of electrical energy wherein the apparatus comprises an electrical active part arranged in a gas-tight housing and said gas-tight housing containing an insulating medium comprising, consisting essentially of, or consisting of at least one compound of general formula (I): R-(0)m-S(0)nF wherein n is 0, 1, or 2; m is 1 or 2; and R is hydrogen, alkyl, alkenyl, alkylyne, aryl, fluoro substituted alkyl, fluoro substituted alkenyl, fluoro substituted alkynylor fluoro substituted aryl; or containing an insulating medium consisting of, consisting essentially of, or comprising the inventive composition as defined above. Preferably, the insulating medium consists of, consists essentially of, or comprises CF3-0-S02-F. Also preferably, the apparatus is a medium-voltage or high-voltage switchgear.

Another object of the present invention concerns the use of the compounds or the mixtures of this invention, as herein described, as dielectrically insulating medium or as constituent of a dielectrically insulating medium as well as their use as an dry etching agent, e.g. a chamber cleaning agent, specifically, for plasma-enhanced chamber cleaning as a replacement for NF3.

Another object of the present invention is the use of the compounds of general formula (I) as replacements for fluorocarbons or hydrofluorocarbons as blowing agents in the manufacture of closed-cell polyurethane, phenolic and thermoplastic foams, as propellants in aerosols, as heat transfer media, as fire extinguishing agents, as power cycle working fluids such as for heat pumps, as inert media for polymerization reactions, as fluids for removing particulates from metal surfaces, as carrier fluids that may be used, for example, to place a fine film of lubricant on metal parts, as buffing abrasive agents to remove buffing abrasive compounds from polished surfaces such as metal, as displacement drying agents for removing water, such as from jewellery or metal parts, as resist developers in conventional circuit manufacturing techniques including chlorine-type developing agents, or as strippers for photoresists when used with, for

example, a chlorohydrocarbons such as 1,1,1-trichloroethane or

trichloroethylene .

Another object of the present invention is the use of a compound of general formula (I): R-(0)m-S(0)nF wherein n is 0, 1, or 2; m is 1 or 2; and R is hydrogen, alkyl, alkenyl, alkylyne, aryl, fluoro substituted alkyl, fluoro substituted alkenyl, fluoro substituted alkynylor fluoro substituted aryl as a dielectric medium to insulate an electrical active part. The preferred electrical active part can be a switch, for example, a fast acting earthing switch, a disconnector, a load-break switch or a puffer circuit breaker, in particular a medium-voltage circuit breaker (GIS-MV), a generator circuit breaker (GIS-HV), a high voltage circuit breaker, a bus bar a bushing, a gas-insulated cable, a gas-insulated transmission line, a cable joint, a current transformer, a voltage transformer or a surge arrester.

Another object of the invention is a compound of general formula (I): R-(0)m-S(0)nF wherein n is 0 or 1; m is 1 or 2; and R is fluoro substituted alkyl, preferably R is CF3. Also preferably, m is 1. Also preferably, n is 1.

Should the disclosure of any patents, patent applications, and publications which are incorporated herein by reference conflict with the description of the present application to the extent that it may render a term unclear, the present description shall take precedence.

The following examples further explain the invention without intention to limit it.

Examples

Example la: Manufacture of CF3-O-SO2-F

CF3-O-SO2-F is prepared according to van Meter, W.P.; Cady, G.H., Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 82, 1960, pp. 6005 - 6008.

Example lb: Manufacture of the compositions

As described in W098/23363, a homogenous mixture consisting

CF3-0-S02-F and N2 in a volume ratio 1:4 is manufactured in an apparatus comprising a static mixer and a compressor.

Example 2: Provision of an earth cable containing the dielectrically insulating medium of example 1

The composition of example lb is directly fed into an earth cable for high voltage, until a total pressure of 10 bar (abs) is achieved in the cable.

Example 3: A switchgear containing CF3-0-S02-F and N2 in a volume ratio 1:4

A switchgear is used which contains a switch surrounded by a gas-tight metal case. The composition of example bl is passed into the gas tight metal case via a valve until a pressure of 18 bar (abs) is achieved.