Space charges tend to accumulate on the surface and at the interface of ethylene–propylene–diene terpolymer (EPDM), serving as high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable accessory insulation, which likely induces electrical field distortion and dielectric breakdown. Direct fluorination is an effective method to modify the surface characteristics of the EPDM without altering the bulk properties too much. In this paper, the surface morphology, hydrophobic properties, relative permittivity, and DC conductivity of the EPDM before and after fluorination treatment were tested. Furthermore, the surface and interface charge behaviors in the HVDC cable accessory were investigated by the pulsed electroacoustic (PEA) method, and explained from the point of view of trap distribution. The results show that fluorination helps the EPDM polymer obtain lower surface energy and relative permittivity, which is beneficial to the interface match in composite insulation systems. The lowest degree of space charge accumulation occurs in EPDM with 30 min of fluorination. After analyzing the results of the 3D potentials and the density of states (DOS) behaviors in EPDM before and after fluorination, it can be found that fluorination treatment introduces shallower electron traps, and the special electrostatic potential after fluorination can significantly suppress the space charge accumulation at the interface in the HVDC cable accessory.
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