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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013, Article ID 703940, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/703940
Research Article

Dielectric Properties of PE/Clay Nanocomposites

1École de Technologie Supérieure, Montréal, QC, Canada H3C 1K3
2Institut de Recherche d'Hydro-Québec, Varennes, QC, Canada J3X 1S1
3Dessau, Montréal, QC, Canada H3B 4V3

Received 4 February 2013; Revised 23 May 2013; Accepted 26 May 2013

Academic Editor: Alan K. T. Lau

Copyright © 2013 E. David et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Polyethylene/nanoclay specimens containing from 0 to 5% nanoclays were prepared from a commercially available premixed PE/nanoclay masterbatch containing 50% wt of nanoclay. The masterbatch was diluted to the desired concentration by adding PE along with various amounts of compatibilizer in order to achieve the best possible dispersion of the nanoclay platelets. The dielectric response of the compounded samples was investigated using a combination of time and frequency-domain spectroscopy in order to cover a wide frequency window. Both techniques were in good agreement when the time-domain data was transformed into frequency-domain data. Despite their low concentration, the addition of the dispersed nanoclays led to a significant alteration of the material dielectric response in the form of the appearance of various interfacial relaxation processes and an increase of charge carrier transport within the insulation material. Moreover, an onset of nonlinear charge transport process was observed at moderate fields for specimens containing a relatively low level of nanoclays. The high-field breakdown strength was shown to have been improved by the incorporation of the nanoparticles, particularly when the exfoliation was enhanced by the use of a maleic anhydride grafted polyethylene compatibilizer.