Standard Historical Last Updated: Jul 31, 2012
ASTM D1816-04

Standard Test Method for Dielectric Breakdown Voltage of Insulating Oils of Petroleum Origin Using VDE Electrodes

Significance and Use

The dielectric breakdown voltage of an insulating liquid is of importance as a measure of the liquid’ability to withstand electric stress without failure. The dielectric breakdown voltage serves to indicate the presence of contaminating agents such as water, dirt, cellulosic fibers, or conducting particles in the liquid, one or more of which may be present in significant concentrations when low breakdown voltages are obtained. However, a high dielectric breakdown voltage does not necessarily indicate the absence of all contaminants; it may merely indicate that the concentrations of contaminants that are present in the liquid between the electrodes are not large enough to deleteriously affect the average breakdown voltage of the liquid when tested by this test method (see Appendix X1.)

This test method is used in laboratory or field tests. For field breakdown results to be comparable to laboratory results, all criteria including room temperature (20 to 30°C) must be met.


1.1 This test method covers the determination of the dielectric breakdown voltage of insulating oils of petroleum origin. This test method is applicable to liquid petroleum oils commonly used in cables, transformers, oil circuit breakers, and similar apparatus as an insulating and cooling medium. The suitability of this test method for testing oils having viscosity of more than 19 cSt, (100SUS) at 40°C (104°F) has not been determined. Refer to Terminology D 2864 for definitions used in this test method.

1.2 This test method is sensitive to the deleterious effects of moisture in solution especially when cellulosic fibers are present in the oil. It has been found to be especially useful in diagnostic and laboratory investigations of the dielectric breakdown strength of oil in insulating systems.

1.3 This test method is used to judge if the VDE electrode breakdown voltage requirements are met for insulating liquids. This test method should be used as recommended by professional organization standards such as IEEE C57.106.

1.4 This test method may be used to obtain the dielectric breakdown of silicone fluid as specified in Test Method D 2225, provided that the discharge energy into the sample is less than 20 mJ (milli joule) per breakdown for five consecutive breakdowns.

1.5 Both the metric and the alternative inch-pound units are acceptable.

1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

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Book of Standards Volume: 10.03
Developed by Subcommittee: D27.05
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.1520/D1816-04
ICS Code: 29.040.10