Multi scale aging assessment of low-voltage cables subjected to radio-chemical aging: Towards an electrical diagnostic technique
Article dans une revue avec comité de lecture
In this article, the aging behavior of nuclear-grade low voltage cables, characterized by different geometries and insulation compositions, is investigated. Cables were subjected to radio-chemical aging at different dose rates (7 Gy/h, 66 Gy/h and 400 Gy/h), in order to simulate typical aging environments inside nuclear plants. The changes of insulation properties due to aging are investigated at different scales, aiming at highlighting possible correlations between molecular-scale properties and global macroscopic material behavior (e.g., mechanical and electrical ones). Microscale material behavior is investigated by means of FTIR spectroscopy and oxidation induction time (OIT) measurements, in order to evaluate material composition changes and material resistance to oxidation, respectively. On the other side, mechanical and electrical macroscopical properties are examined through tensile stress and dielectric spectroscopy measurements. It is found that aging is deeply influenced by the effect of additives (e.g. antioxidants) inside the insulation. In particular, the presence of antioxidants delays oxidation process allowing material modifications during the early aging states to be evaluated. Dielectric spectroscopy is demonstrated to properly follow all the stages of the degradation process, confirming its appropriateness as a non-destructive condition monitoring technique for cables. Finally, the evolution with aging of the dielectric response is associated with the variations of the considered chemical and mechanical properties, allowing the derivation of correlation master curves.
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