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Electrical conductivity of a silicone network upon electron irradiation: influence of formulation

Abstract : In this study, the electrical conductivity of a silicone elastomer filled with inorganic fillers was investigated upon electron irradiation. Neat samples consisting of the isolated polysiloxane matrix (with no fillers) were studied in parallel to identify the filler contribution to this evolution. It was shown that exposure to 400 keV electron doses induced a decrease in electrical conductivity for both the filled and neat materials. This decrease was much more pronounced with the filled samples than with the neat ones. Moreover, the activation energy of electrical conductivity (Arrhenius behaviour) doubled in the filled case, while it varied only weakly for the neat case. In light of these results, structure–property relationships were proposed on the basis of the radiation-induced crosslink processes to which this material is subject. In the framework of electronic percolation theory, it is suggested that the radiation-induced formation of SiO3 crosslinks in the polysiloxane network and SiO4 crosslinks at filler–matrix interfaces affects the percolation path of the material, which can be simply modelled by a network of resistors in series. On one hand, their densification increases the overall resistance of the percolation path, which results in the observed decrease of effective electrical conductivity. On the other hand, the steep increase in activation energy in the filled material attributes to the SiO4 crosslinks becoming the most restrictive barrier along the percolation path. In spite of the misleading likeness of electrical conductivities in the pristine state, this study presented evidence that silicone formulation can affect the evolution of electrical properties in radiative environments. To illustrate this conclusion, the use of this material in space applications, especially when directly exposed to the radiative space environment, was discussed. The decrease in electrical conductivity was associated with a progressively increasing risk for the occurrence of electrostatic discharge and consequent spacecraft failures.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - 2:06:49 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 10, 2020 - 9:08:23 PM

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A. Roggero, E. Dantras, T. Paulmier, C. Tonon, S. Lewandowski, et al.. Electrical conductivity of a silicone network upon electron irradiation: influence of formulation. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, IOP Publishing, 2016, 49 (505303), 8 p. ⟨10.1088/0022-3727/49/50/505303⟩. ⟨hal-01445882⟩

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