DC Conductivity Measurements of LDPE: Influence of Specimen Preparation Method and Polymer Morphology

  • M. Karlsson
  • Xiangdong Xu
  • K. Gaska
  • Henrik Hillborg
  • Stanislaw Gubanski
  • U.W. Gedde
Keywords: DC, Conductivity, LDPE, Morphology,


DC conductivity measurements are important for gaining fundamental understanding of conduction mechanisms of insulation materials, as well as in the development of HVDC power system components, such as extruded cable systems. In this study, the influence of sample processing on the morphology and DC conductivity of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) has been studied. Direct compression moulding of LDPE pellets is commonly used in research laboratories for obtaining plaque samples, whereas extrusion is an additional commonly used technique for dispersion of particles in nanocomposites prior to the compression moulding process. In this study LDPE plaques have been obtained by either compression moulding directly from pellets, or by extrusion followed by compression moulding. The morphology obtained in the first case consisted of banded spherulites, whereas the latter method yielded a morphology of small axialites. The difference in sample processing had also an impact on the DC conductivity. The DC conductivity at 22 ­ºC and 3.3 kV/mm was of the order of 4xE-18 S/m for the plaques obtained by extrusion and compression moulding whereas the plaques obtained by direct compression moulding exhibited a conductivity of 1xE-16 S/m. In addition, the reproducibility of the performed DC conductivity measurements was also verified in a round robin test performed between the Royal Institute of Technology and Chalmers Technical University.


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