XLPE Insulation for Cables

XLPE is the acronym for Cross linked Poly-Ethylene. It is a form of polyethylene which has crosslinks which join the individual polymer chains together. Polythene is a material that has numerous applications in the modern world. However, it has the disadvantage of having a low melting point. This downside is eliminated by "cross-linking" the polymer chains. The cross linkings increase the melting point.

XLPE has many qualities which make it extremely useful for cable insulation. It is flexible permitting smaller bending radius for the cables. It is light weight and water proof. It is also tough which minimizes the need for armouring.

XLPE cables are available for a wide range of voltage ranges from 600V to 154kV.

It is easier to handle and store compared to cables with paper insulation or lead insulation.

They are relatively maintenance free and have simple terminating and jointing procedures.

Some of the other features of XLPE are
  1. It has a high softening temperature
  2. It resists aging
  3. It is light
  4. It has resistance against stress cracking.
However, XLPE does have some disadvantages such as high cost, and the formation of water trees in the insulation due to ageing which result in partial discharge. Hence, recently, another polymer known as XLVLDPE(Cross linked Very Low Density PolyEthylene) is being used for cable insulation

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