·Table of Contents
·Materials Characterization and testing
Advanced Analytical techniques for Monitoring Composition Fluctuations of a Dielectric Elastomer Processed by ExtrusionJulio Roberto Bartoli
Depto.Eng.Metalúrgica e Materiais - Universidade de S.Paulo/USP, Brasil;
Instituto de Química da Universidade Estadual de Campinas/UNICAMP;
Centro de Ciencia e Tecnologia (LCFIS)-Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, R.J.
Geraldo R. de Almeida
Faculdade de Engenharia Industrial/FEI, S.Bernardo do Campo.
Dielectric polymer materials such as the EPDM or EPR rubbers are normally used for the electric insulation of high voltage cables[7,8,9,10] due to their good chemical, mechanical and electrical properties, as cable dielectrics for up to 230 kV. The dielectric strength of these materials is one of the most significant properties for the evaluation of their performance, as a function of the operation conditions (electric stress and temperature) and of the environment[11,12]. Previous work demonstrated that cable failure under high electrical fields, as characterised by dielectric breakdown, does not occur at random: perforations are concentrated in the so called welding regions of the insulation described further and shown in Figure 1. This suggested that there may be some non-uniformity in the insulation, perhaps in its chemical composition. Several physico-chemical techniques, such as: photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS), x-ray fluorescence (XRF), mass spectrometry (MS and GC/MS) and thermogravimetry (TGA), were used to detect and to quantify some of the compound rubber constituents and to verify the uniformity throughout the finished cable insulation.
Materials and sample preparation:
Figure 1 shows an exploded view of the manufactured cables investigated in this study, a high voltage cable (138 kV - 400 mm2) insulated with an EPDM (Nordel 2722 by Du Pont) rubber compound. The main rubber compound additives are: kaolin (Al2O3·2SiO4), Pb3O4, ZnO, a quinoline derivative antioxidant and paraffin. Cable insulation is applied over the conductor by extrusion of the compound, through entry ports orthogonal to the cable axis (extruder cross-head). There are two entry ports, at 180° from each other, as shown in Figure 1-A. These two regions are here named upper and lower inlet regions (UIR and LIR, respectively). Starting from these regions the polymer will flow, surrounding the electrical conductor and as the fluxes meet, two regions of junction are characterised: the external (EWR) and the internal (IWR) welding regions with respect to the extrusion machine. The procedure to obtain samples for all analysis is illustrated in sequence through Figures 1-b to 1-d. The sector enclosed between the UIR and the EWR (0° to 90°) is the region of the cable wherein additive concentrations were determined. The cable was cut in longitudinal slices along its axis, with a thickness of 1 mm as shown in Figure 1-D. On the whole, 12 distinct areas were sampled referring to the three radial distances: external, central and internal layers, at four angles (0°, 30°, 60°, 90°) as illustrated in Figure 1-E.
Fig 1: Exploded view of the high-voltage cable for measurement mapping. The procedure to obtain samples (A, B, C and D) and the regions analysed (E) are illustrated.
Binary mixtures of EPDM with the antioxidant or lead oxide were prepared in a mixer, in the laboratory. Calibration standards were obtained by mixing appropriate amounts of the antioxidant or lead oxide and EPDM.
Methods and instrumentation:
The physical and chemical techniques: PAS, XRF, MS, GC/MS and TGA, were used for the monitoring of the EPDM compound constituents. PAS and XRF are non destructive sample techniques.
PAS spectrometry: the photoacoustic spectra of the samples in the 260-800 nm (UV/visible) region were measured using a commercial (EDT, model OAS-400) photoacoustic spectrometer. This instrument consists of a 300 W high pressure xenon-arc lamp, monochromator, mechanical rotating sector, PAS cell and a detection system consisting of two lock-in amplifiers. All spectra were scanned at 50 nm/min at a spectral half-band pass of 8 nm and with a time constant of 1 sec and 20 Hz chopping frequency. Rubber samples used in this analysis were cut to 13 x 4 mm, 1 mm thick from pressed rubber mats (calibration) or from finished cable insulation. The wavelength ranges of the absorption bands for Pb3O4 is 540-550 nm, ZnO is 380-390 nm and for the antioxidant are 300-310 nm and 350-360 nm.
XRF spectrometry: the X-ray fluorescence spectra of the samples were measured using a Philips spectrometer (model Pm 9901) for Pb and Zn, to detect Pb3O4 and ZnO from the rubber compound, respectively. The measurements conditions were: 25 kV and 7 mA, W source and LiF crystal monochromator, 10 seconds cumulative counting. The detection angles used were: Pb at 33,92° (La 1) and background at 35,0°; Zn at 41,74° (Ka 1) and background at 40,24°. A Rigaku spectrometer was used for the Si and Al measurements to detect kaolin from the rubber compound. The measurements conditions were: 50 kV and 20 mA, Cr source, DTED monochromator, 20 second cumulative counting. The detection angles used were: Si at 108,16° and Al at 142,77°. The rubber samples diameter were 38 mm (25 mm effective) and thickness of 2 mm (thickness for signal saturation).
Mass and GC/MS spectrometry: the mass spectra were measured using Varian-MAT spectrometer (model 311-A). A probe for direct sample insertion was used to volatilise paraffin from the rubber samples at temperature of 200° C. The HP 5995 Gas Chromatograph coupled to Mass Spectrometer was also used to detect paraffin from previous rubber compound distillation (6 h at 180 °C, dissolved in CHCl3).
Thermogravimetrical analysis (TGA): the rubber samples were pyrolised at 800°C (N2 atmosphere) using a Du Pont TGA equipment (model 1090) in order to determine the total amount of inorganic material of the rubber compound samples (kaolin + Pb3O4 + ZnO).
Statistical analysis of the measurements data were done using Analysis of Variance (95% of confidence), two or three classifications, with replication. Signal intensities of the various samples were used to calculate Xl , defined in the four-parameter case of the Beta distribution:
Xl = (I-Imin) / (Imax-Imin)
Thus, Xl is the normalised measured signal intensity variation for a given sample region. This is calculated as the ratio between Imax-Imin (I is the signal intensity at a given area and Imin is the minimum intensity for the set under examination) and Imax-Imin (a scale parameter, where Imax is the maximum intensity for the same set). Xl may vary between 0 and 1 (or 100%),depending on the specific sample analysed being closer to the minimum or maximum values found.
PAS spectroscopy analysis.
Pb3O4 and antioxidant determination in EPDM compound:
For several binary mixtures of EPDM with lead oxide (Pb3O4) or antioxidant it was measured the Photoacoustic (PA) signal as a function of concentration. Figure 2 shows the PA spectra of Pb3O4 in EPDM. In the upper part of the figure, the PA spectrum of Pb3O4 is also shown. As can be seen in the insert of Figure 2, there is a simple linear correlation between the extrapolated intersection points at l = 543 nm and concentration of Pb3O4.
|Fig 2: PAS of Pb3O4 in EPDM compound: 1.2% (A), 2.4% (B), 3.4% (C), 4.8% (D), 5.2% (E), 7.0% (F), 9.1% (G) and in powder form (H). Plot (insert) of signal amplitude versus Pb3O4 concentration in EPDM compound.|
The spectra of the binary (Antioxidant-EPDM) mixtures were obtained at twelve different concentrations, from 0 to 2.0%, as shown in Figure 3. There is a strong absorption which peaks at l < 260 nm and two well defined shoulders at 303 and 355 nm. Signal intensity was measured at those two wavelengths, starting from the base line of each spectrum, and plotted as a function of antioxidant concentration, as shown in the insert of Figure 3. These figures show that the PA signal intensity increases (not linearly) over the range of antioxidant content from 0 to about 1.8% w/w (see Figure 3). When the concentrations exceeds 1.8% w/w, the PA signal amplitude decreases with concentration. Spectral shape changes were not detected in the concentration range studied, and thus the intensity maximum between 1.0 and 2.0% w/w cannot be attributed exclusively to saturation effects. This behaviour is still to be clarified. At this point we suggest that the solubility of antioxidant in the matrix has a maximum around 1.0% w/w at room temperature; the signal intensity decrease would be a result of phase separation. The range of antioxidant content between 0.5 and 1.0 is normally used in EPDM-based elastomeric mixtures in high-voltage cable insulation.
|Fig 3: PAS of antioxidant in EPDM compound: 0%(A), 0.2%(B), 0.4%(C), 0.6%(D), 0.8%(E), 0.9%(F), 1%(G), 1.1%(H), 1.3%(I), 1.5%(J), 1.7%(K), 2%(L). Plot (insert) of signal amplitude vs. antioxidant concentration in EPDM|
It may be readily appreciated from Figures 2 and `3 that this procedure is able to determine antioxidant concentration in elastomeric mixtures at the 1.0% level, with a relative standard deviation of 0.04. This indicates thus that binary mixtures may be analysed using the photoacoustic method.
Topoanalysis of rubber additives in finished cables:
Photoacoustic spectra were taken from selected areas of a finished, manufactured cable insulation, as described in Figure 1. The spectra are given in Figure 4 and show two "knees": one at 540-550 nm, associated with the presence of Pb3O4; the other, at 380 nm, corresponds to absorption by ZnO, as can be seen in the same figure, from the spectrum of ZnO in powder from at 380 nm; absorption shoulders assigned to the antioxidant which should occur at about 320 and 360 nm are not clearly discernible.
|Fig 4: PA spectra for different areas in the cable: (CEN, 0°), (INT, 0°), (EXT, 0°). The spectrum of ZnO in powder form is also shown.|
Spectra from the different areas sampled have similar shapes. They show small but definite intensity differences. These intensity differences were analysed as follows: signal intensity was measured from each spectrum, at 303 and 355 nm; moreover, the height of the 380 and 540-550 nm "knees" was measured, using the intersection of the extrapolated lines, as in Figure 2. Figures 5 and 6 give a visual description of the measured intensity changes calculated using the Beta distribution, already defined.
Measurements at 380 and 540-550 nm are dependent on ZnO and Pb3O4 concentration, respectively. Readings at 303 and 355 nm are associated with other components, including any contribution from antioxidant. The Xl changes at the various l do not follow a single, definite pattern. However, there are some irregularities. First, the graphs (Figures 5 and 6) obtained at 303 and 355 nm do superimpose very well; there is also appreciable overlap among the four curves for the internal samples ant the three curves (303, 355 and 380 nm) corresponding to external samples. Least overlap is obtained at the central region.
|Fig 5: Signal intensity changes at 303 and 355 nm in the External, Central and Internal layers of the finished cable.||Fig 6: Intensity changes of Pb3O4 and ZnO in the External, Central and Internal layers of the finished cable.|
There are significant statistical differences (95% confidence) between the minimum and maximum amounts of concentration measured for all elements in the interior of the cable dielectric compound. ZnO and Pb3O4 showed relative concentrations variations of 13.8% and 8.7%, respectively. Variations until 20% were found in the PAS signal for the antioxidant at different points of the measured cable section. However, the signal intensity attributed to the antioxidant is reduced after the sequential steps of compound processing.
XRF spectroscopy analysis.
Pb3O4 and ZnO determination in EPDM compound:
|Fig 7: XRF Signal intensity of Zn (top) and Pb (low) versus their respective concentrations in EPDM compound. Plot (insert) of XRF intensity of Zn and Pb versus specimen thickness.|
The appropriate specimen thickness was determined considering the emission intensity ratio for a given thickness (Ih) and an infinite thickness (Ioo). It is suggested an "infinite" specimen thickness (Ih/Ioo > 0.999) for XRF quantitative analysis to avoid the minimum effect of this parameter in the measurements. The plot insert in Figure 7 shows the ratio Ih/Ioo as a function of the thickness (h), either for Zn or Pb. It is observed the signal saturation for h ³ 1.2 mm, where Ih/Ioo > 0.999. Therefore a standard thickness of 2 mm was used for all specimens cut from the finished cables.
Topoanalysis of rubber additives in finished cables:
XRF measurements were taken from selected areas of a finished, manufactured cable insulation, as described in Figure 1, at three radial lengths but only two angular regions: 0° (UIR) and 90° (EWR). Figure 8 shows the statistical results (Beta distribution) of the XRF measurements for the elements: Pb (as Pb3O4) and Zn (as ZnO) of the EPDM dielectric compound (finished cable), Si and Al are not presented here but they showed similar concentration variations. The reduced variables of the Beta distribution were calculated for the XRF emission intensities averages (n = 6), as defined in the Experimental Section. The maxima amounts, related to signal intensity or concentration, are found in the central or intermediate regions of the cable dielectric section. The Pb3O4 and ZnO presented the same variation in the EWR, welding region, but not in the UIR, inlet region of the polymer melt.
|Fig 8: Variations of Pb and Zn concentrations (Beta distrbution) observed in the finished cable at two angular (0° and 90°) and three radial (external, central and internal) regions.|
There are significant statistical differences (95% confidence) between the minima and maximum amounts of concentration measured for all elements, including Si and Al (as kaolin), in the interior of the cable dielectric compound. Zn and Pb showed relative concentrations variations of 3.6% and 3.1%, respectively. Si and Al showed relative variations of 5.7% and 4.9%, respectively. This difference between Si and Al is not statistically significant as should be expected because the variation of kaolin must be the same either using Si or Al as control. The discrepancy between the relative variations of the XRF emissions and PAS signals attributed to the metallic oxides (ZnO and Pb3O4) could be due to the fact that the set and samples dimensions were not the same for each analysis. Furthermore, XRF is a more absolute method than PAS. The large differences observed using PAS could be related to variations on the thermal properties of the material, including the polymeric matrix. The thermal properties of the matrix could affect the PAS signal but not the XRF emission. The rubber samples from the dielectric cable used for PAS had 1/10 of the surface used for XRF, thus reducing the sample surface the material heterogeneities are more evident.
The variations or concentrations fluctuations of the inorganic constituents of the rubber compound could be associated to the compound preparation and processing. Compound preparation is characterised by a dispersive mixing ("banbury" mixer, before extrusion) and a distributive mixing (single screw extruder). The reasons for these fluctuations are:
The inhomogeneities observed in the extruded dielectric rubber from its inorganic constituents could cause local differences on the material structure, physical or chemical, and consequently on its dielectric properties. The electrical permitivity of the inorganic constituents (ZnO~10, Pb3O4~20, kaolin~5) are higher than the EPDM based rubber (~2.5). Some points of the rubber could have an effective electrical field which could be increased from 1.3 to 2.5 times the average electrical field.
Mass spectrometry and GC/MS analysis were also taken from the selected areas of the cable in order to determine the distribution of the low molar mass constituents, paraffin and antioxidant, of the rubber compound. Lower amounts of paraffin than its original concentration were found in all cable dielectric regions and gradients of concentrations were also observed from the inner (-40%) to the outer (-20%) regions. The mass spectrometry showed that the molar mass of the paraffin vary in all regions of the dielectric, being the paraffin of lower mass (< 480 a.m.u.) more incident at the outer regions of the cable. Rheological effects on extrusion of the rubber compound could cause the fractionation of the paraffin chains, as the inlet melt regions present higher shear rates than the welding regions of the dielectric. The diffusion of paraffin inside the dielectric could be related to differences on the mass diffusion coefficient of paraffin, due to the variation of melt viscosity with the shear rate (non Newtonian flow). Other aspects that could affect the paraffin diffusivity is the degree of crosslinking (vulcanisation) of the rubber compound.
The loss of paraffin mass could increase the porosity or decrease the apparent density of the rubber compound. This could create microvoids on the rubber and could reduce the local permitivity (voids ~1.0). The effective electrical field could vary from 1.3 (spherical voids) to 1.5 (cylindrical voids) the average electrical field and it could cause partial electrical discharges which starts the breakdown mechanism. The loss of paraffin mass in the cable dielectric was found more significant at the inner regions, close to the conductor, were the electrical gradient is higher.
|© AIPnD , created by NDT.net|||Home| |Top||