Silicone: material of choice for electrical insulation

Growing energy needs worldwide are being met by a great number of sources: from traditional production using oil, gas, coal and nuclear power, to renewable energy generated by hydro, solar and wind power. In all sectors, energy providers know they can count on the very high-performance levels and durability of Elkem Silicones for electrical insulation, which provides fire resistance, adhesion, as well as ease of processing for molding, sealing, bonding, and potting their components. 

Silicone rubber and silicone composite insulating technologies are increasingly the materials of choice for electrical power grids because they offer high mechanical and insulation properties, ensure heat and fire resistance and can be used for a wide range of cabling applications in various sectors: utilities, construction, railways, urban lighting, rapid electrical vehicle (EV) charging stations, etc. 

How is Elkem Silicones capable of serving the very diversified needs for electrical insulation?

As energy sources diversify and, in many cases, energy production (in particular renewable energy such as offshore windmills) becomes increasingly remote from its final users, it is necessary to offer a wide portfolio of insulators to meet all these needs.

This is why Elkem Silicones designs and produces custom compounds for each manufacturer’s requirements for different energy producers, with specifications that meet their productivity needs, catalyst systems, shape requirements and the color shades needed in their markets. Depending on the final application, the tracking resistance of our HTV products is classified between 3.5 and 6 kV. To achieve these exceptional levels of tracking resistance, while maintaining high levels of electrical insulation, we have been working on ATH (trihydrated alumina) properties and surface treatments, while optimizing cost-effectiveness with different ATH grades. This way, the consistency of the final ready-to-use compound is adapted to each customer’s process. 

Elkem Silicones also produces specialist compounds, such as composite insulators, which provide even greater protection, in particular in overhead high-voltage transmission lines. They are composed of glass fiber resin core rods (or core tubes) and silicone rubber sheaths and umbrella skirts, which make them particularly resistant to climatic and environmental pressure.

Silicones are also the best material for multiple voltage insulation because they comply with the most rigorous international standards and specifications.

Can Elkem Silicones electrical insulation products cover the needs of all energy producers? 

Our products are customized to cover the specific needs of all energy producers, whatever technologies they use:

  • Fossil Fuels 
    • Bluesil™ engineered elastomers provide reliable thermal protection and insulation between the power stations and the high-voltage grid lines.
    • Silcolapse™ silicone antifoaming agents used in drilling, recovery, transportation and oil & gas refining processes.
  • Biofuels
    • Silcolapse™ antifoams are used in the production of biofuels like biodiesel and ethanol.
  • Nuclear
    • Bluesil™ engineered elastomers are deployed for manufacturing radiation shields in nuclear power plants.
  • Solar
    • Bluesil™ and CAF™ sealants are used for the assembly of photovoltaic solar modules, and for sealing, bonding and potting electrical components.
  • Wind
    • Bluesil™ silicone solutions are processed for infusion molding of composite materials are used in windmill blades.
    • Silcolease™ release coatings enter into the manufacturing of composite pre-preg liners used in layup of wind power components.
  • Electric Grids
    • Bluesil™ silicone elastomers are essential in insulators and safety cables for power distribution and transmission.

Also, our wide range of Heat-Cured Rubber (HCR) Insulators offer key performance advantages:

  • Good processability 
  • Excellent dielectric properties, tracking resistance even beyond 1A4.5KV
  • Robust mechanical properties
  • High-level fire resistance, which surpasses FV-0

With its leading R&D and stable process control systems, Elkem can customize products according to the specific performance and application requirements of producers:

  • EP150 series can be transformed by compression molding or injection molding into various insulators for medium and low voltage application.
  • EP 160 series can be transformed by compression molding or injection molding into various insulators for high voltage application.

Why choose Elkem Silicones as your partner for silicone-based electrical insulation products?

For several decades, Elkem Silicones has been supplying LSR RTV & HTV (Room Temperature or High Temperature Vulcanized) products to manufacturers and utility operators for low, medium and high voltage applications. These include silicone insulators for electrical transmission and distribution, hollow core insulators for transformers, surge arresters and assorted cable accessories. 

We custom design and deliver solutions that allow each of our customers to optimize their specific processes, while complying with national and international standards (e.g. IEC 62217, IEC 62039, etc.). This understanding of diverse markets and our flexibility have been the basis for numerous partnerships worldwide with leading companies. 

Elkem Silicone experts are available worldwide to advise customers and offers complete support services through our worldwide network of Mix & Fix™ Centers, conveniently located on all continents. Other services include regulatory support, assistance to roll out productivity programs, training for teams and collaborative work on new developments.