A New Kinetic Modeling Approach for Predicting the Lifetime of ATH-Filled Silane Cross-Linked Polyethylene in a Nuclear Environment

Sarah Hettal, Sébastien Roland, Konsta Sipila, Harri Joki, Xavier Colin (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This study focuses on the degradation of a silane cross-linked polyethylene (Si-XLPE) matrix filled with three different contents of aluminum tri-hydrate (ATH): 0, 25, and 50 phr. These three materials were subjected to radiochemical ageing at three different dose rates (8.5, 77.8, and 400 Gy·h−1) in air at low temperatures close to ambient (47, 47, and 21C, respectively). Changes due to radio-thermal ageing were investigated according to both a multi-scale and a multi-technique approach. In particular, the changes in the chemical composition, the macromolecular network structure, and the crystallinity of the Si-XLPE matrix were monitored by FTIR spectroscopy, swelling measurements in xylene, differential scanning calorimetry, and density measurements. A more pronounced degradation of the Si-XLPE matrix located in the immediate vicinity of the ATH fillers was clearly highlighted by the swelling measurements. A very fast radiolytic decomposition of the covalent bonds initially formed at the ATH/Si-XLPE interface was proposed to explain the higher concentration of chain scissions. If, as expected, the changes in the elastic properties of the three materials under study are mainly driven by the crystallinity of the Si-XLPE matrix, in contrast, the changes in their fracture properties are also significantly impacted by the degradation of the interfacial region. As an example, the lifetime was found to be approximately halved for the two composite materials compared to the unfilled Si-XLPE matrix under the harshest ageing conditions (i.e., under 400 Gy·h−1 at 21C). The radio-thermal oxidation kinetic model previously developed for the unfilled Si-XLPE matrix was extended to the two composite materials by taking into account both the diluting effect of the ATH fillers (i.e., the ATH content) and the interfacial degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1492
JournalPolymers
Volume14
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • analytical kinetic model
  • ATH fillers
  • chain scissions
  • interfacial degradation
  • lifetime prediction
  • radio-thermal oxidation
  • silane cross-linked polyethylene

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