Tracking of Nuclear Cable Insulation Polymer Structural Changes Using the Gel Fraction and Uptake Factor Method

  • Miguel Correa
  • Qian Huang
  • Leonard S. FifieldEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series book series (MMMS)


Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) cable insulation samples were exposed to heat and gamma radiation at a series of temperatures, dose rates, and exposure times to evaluate the effects of these variables on material degradation. The samples were tested using the solvent incubation method to collect gel fraction and uptake factor data in order to assess the crosslinking and chain scission occurring in polymer samples with aging. Consistent with previous reports, gel fraction values were observed to increase and uptake factor values to decrease with radiation and thermal exposure. The trends seen were also more prominent as exposure time increased, suggesting this to be a viable method of tracking structural changes in the XLPE-insulated cable material over extended periods. For the conditions explored, the cable insulation material evaluated did not indicate signs of anomalous aging such as inverse temperature effect in which radiation-induced aging is more severe at lower temperature. Ongoing aging under identical radiation conditions and at lower temperature will further inform conclusions regarding the importance of inverse temperature effects for this material under these conditions.


Cable-aging XLPE Gel fraction Uptake factor Crosslinking Inverse temperature effect 


  1. 1.
    K.T. Gillen, R.A. Assink, R. Bernstein, Condition monitoring approaches applied to a polychloroprene cable jacketing material. Polym. Degrad. Stab. 84, 419–431 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    K.T. Gillen, R.A. Assink, R. Bernstein, M. Celina, Condition montioring methods apllied to degradation of chlorosulfonated polyethylene cable jacketing materials. Polym. Degrad. Stab. 91, 1273–1288 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    K.T Gillen, R.A Assink, R Bernstein, Nuclear energy plant optimization (NEPO) final report on aging and condition monitoring of low voltage cable materials (Report SAND2005-7331, Sandia National Laboratories, 2005)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    K. Anandakumaran, W. Seidl, P.V. Castaldo, Condition assessment of cable insulation systems in operating nuclear power plants. IEEE Trans. Dielectr. Electr. Insul. 6(3), 376–384 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. Boguski, G. Przybytniak, Benefits and drawbacks of selected condition monitoring methods applied to accelerated radiation aged cable. Polym. Test. 53, 197–203 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    K.T. Gillen, R. Bernstein, R.L. Clough, M. Celina, Lifetime predictions for semi-crystalline cable insulation materials: I. Mechanical properties and oxygen consumption measurements on EPR materials. Polym. Degrad. Stab. 91(9), 2146–2156 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Verardi, L.; Fabiani, D.; Montanari, G. In The influence of accelerated aging procedures on the correlation of electrical and mechanical properties of LV nuclear power plant cables, 2014 IEEE conference on electrical insulation and dielectric phenomena (CEIDP), IEEE: 2014; pp 506–509Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    D. Andjelkovic, N. Rajakovic, Influence of accelerated aging on mechanical and structural properties of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation. Electr. Eng. 83(1), 83–87 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    M. Celina, G.A. George, Characterisation and degradation studies of peroxide and silane crosslinked polyethylene. Polym. Degrad. Stab. 48, 297–312 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    ASTM, Determination of Gel Content and Swell Ratio of Crosslinked Ethylene Plastics, Test Standard ASTM D2765-11, ASTM International, 2011Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel Correa
    • 1
  • Qian Huang
    • 1
  • Leonard S. Fifield
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA
  2. 2.Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA

Personalised recommendations