Significance and Use
Many important properties of crosslinked ethylene plastics vary with the gel content. Hence, determination of the gel content provides a means of both controlling the process and rating the quality of finished products.
Extraction tests permit verification of the proper gel content of any given crosslinked ethylene plastic and they also permit comparison between different crosslinked ethylene plastics, including those containing fillers, provided that, for the latter, the following conditions are met:
5.2.1 The filler is not soluble in either decahydronaphthalene or xylenes at the extraction temperature.
5.2.2 The amount of filler present in the compound either is known or can be determined.
5.2.3 Sufficient crosslinking has been achieved to prevent migration of filler during the extraction. Usually it has been found that, at extraction levels up to 50 %, the extractant remains clear and free of filler.
Since some oxidative degradation of the material can occur at the reflux temperature of the extractants, a suitable antioxidant is added to the extractant to inhibit such degradation.
Before proceeding with this test method, reference should be made to the specification of the material being tested. Any test specimen preparation, conditioning, dimensions, or testing parameters, or a combination thereof, covered in the materials specification shall take precedence over those mentioned in this test method. If there are no material specifications, then the default conditions apply.
1.1 The gel content (insoluble fraction) produced in ethylene plastics by crosslinking can be determined by extracting with solvents such as decahydronaphthalene or xylenes. Such extraction test methods are described herein. They are applicable to crosslinked ethylene plastics of all densities, including those containing fillers, and all provide corrections for the inert fillers present in some of those compounds.
1.2 Test Method A, which permits most complete extraction in least time, is to be used for referee tests, but two alternative nonreferee Test Methods B and C are also described. The first of these differs from the referee test method only in sample preparation; that is, it requires use of shavings taken at selected points in cable insulation, for example, rather than the ground sample required by the referee test method. Because the shaved particles are larger, less total surface per sample is exposed to the extractant, so this test method ordinarily yields extraction values about 1 to 2 % lower than the referee method. The second of the alternative test methods requires that a specimen in one piece be extracted in xylenes at a constant temperature of 110C. At this temperature and with a one-piece specimen, even less extraction occurs (from 3 to 9 % less than the referee test method) but swell ratio (a measure of the degree of crosslinking in the gel phase) can be determined.
1.3 Extraction tests can be made on articles of any shape. They have been particularly useful for electrical insulations since specimens may be selected from those portions of the insulation most susceptible to insufficient crosslinking.
1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The inch-pound units in brackets are for information only. ISO 10147 is similar to this test, but is not equivalent.
This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.