pp 1–13 | Cite as

Microscopic reaction mechanism of the production of methanol during the thermal aging of cellulosic insulating paper

  • Yiyi Zhang
  • Yi Li
  • Hanbo ZhengEmail author
  • Mengzhao Zhu
  • Jiefeng Liu
  • Tao Yang
  • Chaohai Zhang
  • Yang Li
Original Research


Cellulose is the main component of transformer insulating paper. In this paper, the pyrolysis mechanism of cellulose is studied by means of computational chemistry. This study is aimed at exploring the generation process of the methanol from cellulosic insulating paper at the atomic level. A simulation scheme of cellulose pyrolysis with detailed reaction pathways for methanol production has been obtained that is not readily accessible by experiments. The molecular dynamics method based on reactive force field (ReaxFF) is adopted to simulate the pyrolysis of cellobiose. A model composed of 40 cellobioses simulated at 500–3000 K was established, and the force biased monte-carlo is mixed into ReaxFF to make it closer to the actual situation and ensure the reliability. The result reveals that the –CH2– group from the C5 (or \({\text{C}}_{ 5}^{{\prime }}\)) group in cellobioses grabbed the nearby H atom to form methanol. In the pyrolysis process of cellobioses, methanol is stable at the early stage but unstable even disappeared in the later stage. The pre-exponential factor A and activation energy Ea of the ReaxFF-MD simulation are consistent with previous experimental results. Thus, this study provides an effective theory of the methanol as an indicator to evaluate the aging condition of cellulosic insulating paper in the early stage at the atomic level.

Graphic abstract


Methanol Cellulose ReaxFF Pyrolysis 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51907034, 51867003, 61473272), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangxi (2018JJB160056, 2018JJB160064, 2018JJA160176), the Basic Ability Promotion Project for Yong Teachers in Universities of Guangxi (2019KY0046, 2019KY0022), the Guangxi Thousand Backbone Teachers Training Program, the Boshike Award Scheme for Young Innovative Talents and the Guangxi Bagui Young Scholars Special Funding.

Supplementary material

10570_2019_2960_MOESM1_ESM.docx (811 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 811 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Electrical EngineeringGuangxi UniversityNanningChina
  2. 2.State Grid Shandong Electric Power Research InstituteJinanChina
  3. 3.State Grid Henan Electric Power Research InstituteZhengzhouChina

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