XLPE is used to describe cross-linked polyethylene. It shares some properties of polyethylene like high chemical resistance and remarkable moisture resistance. Its high thermal insulation qualities make it suitable for use in both high voltage and temperature conditions.
Common applications of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) are in building plumbing (or pipework) systems, as insulation for high voltage cables, and as an alternative for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and copper tubing in water pipes.
Improved Properties Cross-Linked Polyethylene (XLPE)
Compared to ordinary polyethylene, cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) has enhanced properties that give it an added advantage in performance.
XLPE wire with its improved properties doesn’t melt easily and can withstand higher temperatures of up to 120°C for an extended time without losing its mechanical and chemical properties.
The young modulus is also increased as well as its resistance to abrasion and environmental stress. The cross-link of the polymer structure changes the thermoplastic into a thermoset, hence the resultant improvement in XLPE properties as discussed.
Insulated XLPE wire can be used under harsh conditions where its strength will be pushed to the limit. XLPE insulation is known to last longer compared to PVC insulation, which is only suitable for low tension applications.
Here is an overview of the desired properties of XLPE insulated cable;
- Excellent electrical, thermal and physical properties;
- Excellent moisture and flame resistance,
- Excellent resistance to crush, and heat deformation.
Why is XLPE Cross-Linked?
Cross-linking XLPE insulation cables can best be described as vulcanizing the rubber with the addition of littles amounts of chemical additives to help rearrange the molecular structure into a lattice that hinders the movement of molecules in the presence of heat.
This is done to elevate the stability of the XLPE cable at high temperatures. Cross-linking polyethylene also improves in XLPE wire current rating for short circuits and normal loading conditions.
With XLPE cable insulation, the problem of accelerated aging as a result of electrical, environmental and mechanical stress is taken care of as well. So, they could be used in the open air or buried (for underground distribution) with no cause to worry.
Applications of XLPE (Cross-Linked Polyethylene)
The list of XLPE applications is endless and every industry where it’s been utilized takes advantage of one or more of its unique properties. In mines, for instance, it’s the ability to withstand extremely high pressure and temperature and still maintain its toughness that makes it a suitable material.
What Are the Advantages of XLPE Insulated Cables?
XLPE insulated cables are ideal for transmitting higher voltage without hindrance or compromise to its effectiveness. Thanks to their remarkable insulation properties, XLPE insulated cables surpass other alternative insulation materials like Silicon rubbers, and even Ethylene Propylene Rubber, EPR.
In addition to their improved chemical properties which is responsible for their amazing moisture, chemical and oil resistance, XLPE insulated cables also possess astounding mechanical properties including but not limited to impact resistance, elongation, and of course, elevated tensile strength.
Using XLPE insulated cables saves miners a lot of time and money during installation, repairs and maintenance of piping systems and networks.
Electrical cables are sometimes needed to transmit high voltage electricity from one point to another where power is needed. In the course of transmitting such high amounts of voltage continuously, it’s not unusual to experience sparking, shocking and heat that could cause fire or other potential hazards.
Likewise, these wires and cables are sometimes passed either under or above ground where they are affected by the elements.
These concerns then calls for adequate insulation to curb any of the above-mentioned hazards. XLPE wire and cables are made to withstand any of these scenarios without losing its mechanical properties and performance integrity.
XLPE Are Good Insulators for Wires!
XLPE insulation or tubing is a perfect insulator for power cables and is fast phasing out other conventional options. XLPE cable insulation provides ample protection for bare copper wires to safely transmit power without resistance from weather, moisture, and heat.
Why Do XLPE Power Cables Require Less Maintenance?
Bare copper wires perform excellently when insulated with cross-linked polyethylene – and efficiency is also ramped up! The improved performance presented in XLPE power cables is fast gaining popularity and XLPE power cable is enjoying wide acceptance across many industries.
Their improved water-tree resistance make XLPE power cables also makes them ideal for use in electric works or projects. XLPE power cables don’t melt when subjected to high temperature and their improved mechanical properties also allows XLPE power cables carry more load per unit area without fracture or tearing.
More About Cross-Linked Polyethylene!
Beyond the vast applications of XLPE in electric insulation, XLPE is also used in radiant heating of homes. Its flexible nature and ability to withstand heat and still maintain its mechanical properties allows XLPE tubing to convey radiant heat conveniently wherever it’s needed.
Polyexcel offer remarkable XLPE and other polymer-based products for all industries applications. They offer years of experience and practical knowledge on the manufacturing and production of Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE). Visit the Polyexcel website for more information this versatile compound and many others.