Polypropylene has been used in radio-frequency capacitors and has also started to be employed in cables as insulation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the electrical properties of polypropylene filled with natural clay as a nano-material. Polypropylene samples having 0%, 2% and 6% natural clay by weight were exposed to 60-Hz sinusoidal voltages at two different rates of rise. The breakdown voltage of each sample was recorded at these different ramp rates. Also, the Root-mean-squared (rms) current was measured as the voltage was increased across the test samples. The important findings of this study were (a) the breakdown strength of the natural nanoclay-filled polypropylene was higher than the unfilled polypropylene, and the optimum concentration of nanoclay appeared to be 2% by weight; (b) the current density as a function of the electric-field intensity indicated a non-linear behavior with saturation, and the saturation onset took place at a higher electric-field intensity in nanoclay-filled polypropylene, wherein 2% nanoclay seemed to be the optimum concentration as well for the onset electric field of saturation.
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