• nanocomposite;
  • low-density polyethylene;
  • magnesium oxide;
  • space charge;
  • electric breakdown


To understand the basic electric properties of nanosized magnesium oxide (MgO)/low-density polyethylene (LDPE) nanocomposites under an applied DC voltage, the DC breakdown strength and space charge up to the breakdown under a DC ramp voltage were investigated. Compared to that of the LDPE sample, the sample containing a MgO nanofiller (hereafter, called a nanocomposite) had a higher DC breakdown strength. In the case of the LDPE sample, the homo charges, which contained a large negative charge and a small positive charge, were only observed near the electrodes just prior to breakdown. However, in the case of the nanocomposite sample, the positive charge increased as the average field increased until the average field reached a certain value. After that, the positive charge decreased as the average field increased until breakdown occurred. The field enhancement rate (=maximum field/average field) of the nanocomposite sample increased with the average field, until it became saturated. After peaking, the field enhancement rate of the nanocomposite sample decreased as the average field increased. These observations suggest that, instead of the MgO nanofiller suppressing the electronic avalanche, it suppresses the conduction current, which was determined by the space charge, leading to the higher DC breakdown strength. Copyright © 2010 Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.