Surface recovery of silicone rubber used for HV outdoor insulation

J. W. Chang, R. S. Gorur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Results of a study performed to obtain a better understanding of the material characteristics responsible for hydrophobicity recovery leading to a high wet surface resistance in silicone rubbers used for outdoor HV insulation, are reported. The samples were obtained from new and artificially aged HV insulators using HTV silicone rubbers (3 different formulations) as weathershed and RTV silicone rubbers (2 different formulations) as a protective coating. The main experimental facilities employed consist of a salt fog chamber for artificially aging the insulators, and a scanning electron microscope (SEM) for material studies. New results of practical significance that have emerged from this study are: (l) hydrophobicity recovery, predominantly due to diffusion of low molecular weight (LMW) silicone polymer chains, occurs with only a fraction (< 20%) of the total LMW polymer content initially available in an unaged material surface, (2) LMW chain regeneration and hence surface hydrophobicity recovery occurs even after the initial supply of LMW polymer is depleted, and (3) hydrophobicity recovery is significantly affected by ambient temperature. The results show the same pattern for different formulations of HTV and RTV rubber materials studied. The X-ray Mapping feature in the SEM provides a visual indication of the diffusion process which is a noteworthy contribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1046
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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