News International Sugar Journal

Electric cable insulation: Voltage breaks down plastic [Registered]

Researchers have known for some time that polymers, such those insulating wires, may break down due to deformation of the polymers. But the process had never been seen. A Duke University team has seen for the first time how soft polymers, such as wire insulation, can break down under exposure to electrical current. In a series of experiments, Duke University engineers have documented at the microscopic level how plastic deforms to breakdown as it is subjected to ever-increasing electric voltage. Polymers can be found almost everywhere, most commonly as an insulator for electrical wires, cables and capacitors. The findings by…

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