What Is an XLPE for Electrical Power Cable?

XLPE-Cross-linked polyethylene
Fig-1: XLPE Used in Different Kind of Power Cables

What Is the Meaning of XLPE?

XLPE is a abbreviation for cross-linked polyethylene. The cross-linked polyethylene structure forms by creating of direct links or bonds between the carbon backbones of individual polyethylene chains.

The aftereffect of this to restrict the movement of the polyethylene chains with respect to each other, so when heat or different types of energy are connected the fundamental system structure can't misshape and the incredible properties that polyethylene has at room temperature are held at higher temperatures.

Construction Structure of XLPE
Fig-2: How XLPE Comes from PE 

XLPE stands for cross-linked polyethylene which also abbreviated as PEX. It is a form of polyethylene with cross-linked bonds in a polymer structure. In the above fig-2 shows the bonding structure of PE-polyethylene and the XLPE-cross-linked polyethylene.

What Is the Main Feature of XLPE?

The main feature of XLPE is as below:
  1. temperature resistance, pressure resistance;
  2. environmental stress crack resistance;
  3. resistance to uv light;
  4. chemical resistance, oxidation resistance; &
  5. room temperature and low-temperature properties;
So, we can say, XLPE helps improve low and high-temperature properties, impact, tensile strength, chemical and scratch-resistance of the base polymer. 

Uses of XLPE

Due to the benefits described above, it is predominantly used to make domestic water pipes and high tension electric cables.

These electrical properties help to manufacture electrical cables are Unarmoured or Strip Armoured or Wire Armoured or Tape Armoured type depending upon the presence or absence of Armour. 

Used in various applications such as Fire Survival, Under Water Cables, Underground burial, installation on trays and ducts.

In electric applications, cross-linking helps restrain the movement of molecules when exposed to heat thus enhancing the overall working temperature of the cables. 

XLPE cables also have a higher current rating than PVC. This makes XLPE a preferred choice of cable in situations where the operating temperatures are higher.


What is the difference between XLPE and PCV as used in Power Cable Insulation?

The maximum working temperature of cable conductor: PVC insulated Cable is 70 Centigrade, XLPE insulated Cable is 90 Centigrade.

Maximum short (lasting less than 5 seconds) temperature: PVC insulated Cable is 160 Centigrade, XLPE insulated Cable is 250 Centigrade.

Service life: Usually, the XLPE insulated cable is longer than PVC insulated cable.

Price: Usually, the XLPE insulated cable price is higher than PVC insulated cable.

Water Proof Performance in Application Environment: PVC insulated cable is better than the XLPE insulated cable.

Environment Protection aspect: For XLPE is not containing chlorine which will release toxic gases once burn, so XLPE insulated Cable is environment friendly compared with PVC insulated Cable.

Conclusion: In a long run, the XLPE insulated Cable is better than PVC insulated Cable, but the price is a little higher, but if we take all factors into consideration(such as environmental protection, service life, safety and so on), XLPE insulated cable has a high cost-performance.



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