Influence of γ-irradiation and temperature on the mechanical properties of EPDM cable insulation

    Research outputpeer-review


    The mechanical properties of EPDM polymers, degraded as a result of extensive thermal and radiochemical aging treatment, are studied. The focus is given to dose rate effects in polymer insulation materials extracted from industrial cables in use in Belgian nuclear power plants. All studied mechanical characteristics such as the ultimate tensile stress, the Young's modulus, and the total elongation (or elongation at break) are found to be strongly affected by the irradiation dose. The ultimate tensile stress and Young's modulus are clearly exhibiting the dose rate effect, which originated from oxidation mediated interplay of polymer cross-linking and chain scission processes. The change of crossover between these two processes is found to be gradual, without critical dose rate or temperature values. On the contrary, the total elongation is observed not to be sensitive neither to irradiation temperature nor to the dose rate. Both cross-linking and chain scission seem to affect the total elongation in a similar way by reducing the average polymers chain length. This idea is confirmed by the model which shows that all total elongation data as a function of irradiation time can be reproduced by varying a single parameter, the pre-exponential factor of the irradiation rate constant.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-155
    Number of pages5
    JournalRadiation Physics and Chemistry
    StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016

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