XLPE is cross-linked polyethylene that has seen significant growth in the last couple of years due to the modernization and refurbishment of electrical infrastructures in major regions such as North America and Europe.

XLPE offers noteworthy advantages to insulated power cable applications compared to traditional materials due to its outstanding dielectric benefits, low smoke halogen-free, extreme temperature capabilities, and resistance to aging, chemicals, and other hazardous materials. 

Modern insulated power cables are required to handle growing electrical consumption and offer long-lasting performance benefits across the globe. Cross-linked polyethylene XLPE insulated cable applications offer both high- and low-tension applications. Some countries and regions are phasing out conventional power generation sources and turning towards more renewable power plants to fulfill the demand for electricity. 

XLPE Cable Advantages: 

  • Outstanding electrical and dielectric performance
  • Hydrophobic and improved moisture resistance compared to PVC
  • Higher rating and longer service life compared to PVC Cables
  • Does not contain chlorine nor release toxic gases 
  • Halogen-free 

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) has traditional advantages in Wire and Cable applications, however, there are notable downsides that should not be overlooked.

PVC Insulated Cable Disadvantages:

  • Difficult to recycle
  • Off-gassing carcinogenic fumes when exposed to heat during processing
  • High-voltage cables need to handle continuous heat loads of 135 °C and higher
  • Contains halogen, failing to comply with the move toward halogen-free materials
  • Poor fit for high-voltage applications due to dehydrochlorination at temperatures starting as low as 100 °C

The SI Group Wire and Cable Solutions 

The SI Group offers various antioxidant and stabilizer solutions for Wire and Cable manufacturers utilizing cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE). XLPE manufacturers understand that polyethylene compounds require a longer-lasting solution compared to traditional materials that may face aggressive oxidation degradation concerns. The SI Group portfolio of antioxidants, UV stabilizers, and compatibilizers for high and extra-high voltage XLPE compounds. 

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    A versatile phenolic antioxidant especially well suited for Wire and Cable [SS1] applications, providing heat stability during processing and end use.

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    A thioester-based secondary antioxidant that imparts excellent long-term aging in polyolefins and synthetic rubber.

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    An amine antioxidant that imparts both processing and long-term heat stability in carbon-black filled polymers.


XLPE Insulated Cable and Wire

Crosslinked polyethylene (XLPE) is increasingly used as insulation and jacketing material in medium- and high-voltage cables (voltage loads of 10-33 kV for medium, 50+ kV for high). As concerns about PVC continue to surface, manufacturers are beginning to replace PVC with XLPE as the insulating layer and jacketing materials for low-voltage cables. The below table shows how XLPE outperforms PVC in Wire and Cable applications:

    . PVC XLPE
    Low Smoke
    Flame Retardancy Some inherent flame retardancy, however more FRs are usually added for W&C grades Not inherently, FRs are usually added to jacket rather than XLPE insulation
    Recyclable Possible but difficult
    Conductor Temperature 70 °C 90 °C
    Emergency Temperature 120 °C 140 °C
    Short Circuit Temperature 160 °C 250 °C
    Approved for High Voltage Use x
    Approved for Low Voltage Use
    Cost Range $0.50/lb to $1.98/lb (for eco friendly PVC) $1.10/lb to $1.59/lb
    Service Life (Low Voltage) 25 Years
    Polymer Type Thermoplastic Thermoset
    Abrasion Resistance
    Moisture Resistance 100X PVC
    Corrosion Resistance
    Resistance to Chemical Attack
    Insulation Resistance (mΩ Km-1) 20 1000
    Shape Memory Characteristics x
    Approved for Low Tension
    Approved for High Tension x
    No Added Plasticizers Needed for Flexibility x

Rapid urbanization and refurbishment of current electrical infrastructures are facing daunting tasks in building a better, renewable future. XLPE offers halogen-free cable solutions without compromising on performance benefits. XLPE provides many opportunities to avoid devastating hazards and accidents for power transmission. XLPE cables reduce the emittance of corrosive gases. They are also low-smoke halogen-free, recyclable, able to withstand weather, and they have high voltage electrical capabilities

Explore the SI Group's extensive range of antioxidants, polymer modifiers, and UV stabilizers explicitly designed for the XLPE Cable and Wire applications. 



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