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Voltage Stabilizer

January 14, 2011


How can Novinium get the same cable life extension without a soak period? It would seem to me that Novinium puts less fluid into the cable than one would get with a soak period.


In my first post addressing this question, I provided an abbreviated answer. We learned from the abbreviated answer that that when Novinium founders conceived the first generation of treatment fluid over two decades ago, we failed to check the relative diffusion rates of the phenylmethyldimethoxysilane (PMDMS) monomer and the condensation catalyst we had chosen to provide long life. This turned out to be a grave mistake, which Novinium has corrected. In a subsequent post on January 3, 2011 at …

Catalytic Considerations – Component I

… I provided a more comprehensive answer, but I promised five new sub-posts that would explain the functional improvement of the five kinds of ingredients in Cablecure® 732 [Ultrinium™ 732] fluid.

In this first of five sub-posts we will explore the role of voltage stabilizers and partial discharge suppressers, geranylacetone (pronounced ger-an-ILL-ass-e-tone) and ferrocene (pronounced fair-O-seen), which are included in Cablecure 732 fluid.

Ketone-type (pronounced KEY-tone) voltage stabilizers like geranylacetone have been studied in depth by several researchers. Most prominent among those researchers is Johann Wartusch. His work culminated in German patent DE 3017442 of August 3, 1983 and is described in his paper “Increased Voltage Endurance of Polyolefin Insulating Materials by Means of Voltage Stabilization” (IEEE 1980). Wartusch demonstrated that the presence of geranylacetone increased tree inception voltage over three-fold, and due to its affinity for the polymer, it persists in the insulation for many years.

EPRI studied the tree inhibition properties of ferrocene in TD-145 EPRI Project RP 7830-1, “A new class of additives to inhibit tree growth in solid extruded cable insulation” of March 25, 1976, and concluded: “Ferrocene completely suppresses treeing and increases the breakdown strength of polyethylene by [at least] 100%.” Kato and his colleagues obtained similar results and the culmination of their effort was U.S. Patent 3,956,420, Polyolefin (pronounced poly-OLE-e-fin) Composition for Electrical Insulation, May 11, 1976.

In short, geranylacetone and ferrocene are proven tree retardants that can each provide 100% improvements in the dielectric breakdown strength of polymers in which they are dispersed. Both materials persist in treated insulation for decades and both are found only in Novinium® rejuvenation fluids. The use of ferrocene in rejuvenation fluids is protected by Novinium’s U.S. patent 7,658,808 and its foreign equivalents. Other patents are pending.

Occasionally in polymeric insulation, free electrons are created by one of two known mechanisms.

1. Recombinant space charges near the tips of water trees may generate enough energy to knock electrons out of their orbitals.

2. Cosmic ray bombardment is the second source of ionization energy that can create free electrons. For a 1 mm3 cavity such ionization is likely to occur every five minutes. (See Boggs, “Partial Discharge in the Context of Distribution Cable Testing”, ICC minutes.)

Whatever the source of the free electron, in the absence of a voltage stabilizer, the electron will almost certainly be accelerated by the electrical field and may inflict damage to the surrounding polymer. Voltage stabilizers scavenge these free electrons and let them resonate within their structure. The resonation allows the excess energy of the electron to be bled off in small, non-damaging quanta. (i.e. infrared photons, which do not have enough energy to damage the polymer.) When a suitable and stable receptor for the electron (most likely a cation [pronounced KAT-eye-on] generated when the electron was knocked out of its orbital) is found, the voltage stabilizer gives up the excess electron and returns to its original state, ready to deal with the next errant electron.