Biaxially oriented silica-polypropylene nanocomposites for HVDC film capacitors: Morphology-dielectric property relationships, and critical evaluation of the current progress and limitations

Ilkka Rytöluoto, Minna Niittymaki, Paolo Seri, Hadi Naderiallaf, Kari Lahti, Eetta Saarimäki, Timo Flyktman, Mika Paajanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Dielectric polymer nanocomposites are considered as one of the most promising insulation material candidates for future capacitive energy storage applications, providing tailorability of charge trapping and transport properties at the nanometric level which is a key for increased dielectric performance of biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) for metallized film capacitors in high-voltage direct current (HVDC) applications. In this study, a comprehensive investigation of morphology and dielectric performance of pilot-scale BOPP nanocomposites with hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS)-treated hydrophobic fumed silica nanoparticles was carried out, providing critical perspectives on the performance and challenges of PNCs for thin film capacitors also in a broader context. In non-oriented cast films, incorporation of nanosilica modified the crystallization kinetics and α/β-crystalline spherulitic morphology of polypropylene and reduced the accumulation of space charge under DC electric field. The nanocomposites exhibited promising dispersion characteristics in nano-scale, however, low amount of micron-sized agglomerates inherently present in commercial fumed silica persisted in the compounds which can become critical for thin film applications. Subsequently, biaxial-stretching-induced morphology development and dielectric properties of silica-BOPP nanocomposites were evaluated, highlighting the role of precursor morphology and film processing on the silica-BOPP film morphology, defects and dielectric performance. Charge trapping and transport properties of silica-BOPP films were investigated by isothermal and thermally stimulated techniques under high DC electro-thermal stresses, indicating profound modification of the trap density of states brought by nanosilica. This resulted in more homogeneous space charge distribution and reduced temperature- and field dependent DC conductivity at 100 °C in comparison to neat BOPP under moderate field stresses (<200 V/µm), while simultaneously maintaining low dielectric loss. However, the localized weak points caused by silica agglomerates still remain a challenge for the structural homogeneity and dielectric breakdown performance of thin BOPP films under extreme-field stress, hence emphasizing the need for further advancements in the agglomerate and PNC film morphology control to provide high-reliability nanodielectric capacitor thin films for practical HVDC film capacitor applications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A: Materials for Energy and Sustainability
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Jan 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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