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Analysis of the Degradation of Polyethylene in Air Using Electrical and Physical Data



J. C. Horwath, D. L. Schweickart, Yicheng Wang


Discharge currents and degradation of polyethylene from high dc electric field stress in air were investigated. A positive point-to-plane configuration was used with thin polyethylene samples on the cathode surface. Voltage, spacing and relative humidity were independent variables. The surface chemistry and resistivity of the samples evidence changes as degradation occurred. This changing boundary condition affected the gaseous discharge. Both electrical and physical measurement techniques have been utilized to characterize the degradation. Electrical measurements include surface resistivity measurements, pulse train recording of partial discharges, and continuous current measurements. Physical measurements include X-ray photoelectron spectra (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM) roughness measurements, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy spectra.
Proceedings Title
Proc., Intl. Symp. on Gaseous Dielectrics
Conference Dates
June 2-5, 1998
Conference Location
Virginia Beach, VA


degredation, humidity effects, partial discharge, polyethylene


Horwath, J. , Schweickart, D. and Wang, Y. (1998), Analysis of the Degradation of Polyethylene in Air Using Electrical and Physical Data, Proc., Intl. Symp. on Gaseous Dielectrics, Virginia Beach, VA, [online], (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created November 30, 1998, Updated October 12, 2021