Orientation of polymer films for improvement of dielectric properties for high-energy density capacitor applications

2019-10-17T18:21:27Z (GMT) by Megan Forshey
For over 20 years, biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) has been used in capacitors as the dielectric material. BOPP has very high breakdown strength, low electric loss, and is relatively inexpensive however, it suffers from low dielectric constant and low usage temperature. The ever growing technology market requires more robust capacitors which can be used in high temperature and pulsed power applications, and the aim of this research is to meet or exceed dielectric properties of BOPP by combining specific polymer materials in layered structures, biaxially orienting the films, and heat setting the films to further improve thermal stability. Post-processing is done on custom built machines which track real-time true stress, true strain and birefringence values, allowing for a more complete picture of mechano-optical properties generated during the stretching process. These data, along with offline characterization techniques such as X-ray scattering and DSC, were coupled with dielectric property testing to help form relationships between polymer processing, morphology, and dielectric properties.

In Chapter 3, microlayer PET and PVDF (50:50 ratio) films with 32 total layers and thickness around 125 micron were provided by PolymerPlus. Films were first stretched uniaxially at varying temperatures in order to optimize processing conditions. Characterization confirmed PVDF crystal form transformation from alpha to beta form when films were stretched at 95oC, and presence of - PVDF when stretched in molten state at 185oC, sandwiched between solid PET layers. Dielectric properties were tested for films stretched at 150oC, which exhibited low dielectric constant when PVDF spherulites or smaller, broken up fibrils were present, but improved dielectric constant when PVDF morphology consisted of long, highly ordered fibrils. Uniaxial drawing helped lower dielectric loss, and it further signicantly decreased at very high strains. In this case, morphology of uniaxially drawn PET did not have a strong correlation with dielectric constant, but higher PET crystallinity and orientation likely helps to lower dielectric losses.

Polymer microlayer fims consisting of 32 layers, 50:50 ratio PET to PVDF films were also studied extensively using thermal heat setting technique. Samples with good thickness uniformity after stretching were selected for these experiments, and offline characterization techniques were applied to study morphology. Films were annealed at temperatures around PVDF melting peak, which caused transformation of PVDF polymorphs from primarily alpha to combined gamma and/or gamma' forms. When oriented at 150oC to 1.5X1, and ' -PVDF were detected in small amounts (via DSC) after annealing at 172oC, and only ' after higher temperature annealing. Stretching at 150oC to higher strains produced high amounts of '-PVDF only when annealed at 155oC for films stretched to 3.5X1, and annealed at 150oC for films stretched to 2.5X1. Offline characterization led to development of a structural model for PVDF layers alone, by de-laminating film layers. Then, morphology was correlated with dielectric properties by testing lms at room temperature, and at constant frequency, in temperature ramping experiments. Temperature ramping dielectric experiments showed that high percent crystallinity of PET may also help improve loss behavior at high temperatures. Furthermore, samples containing gamma and/or gamma'-PVDF had increasing dielectric constant with increasing temperature, however dielectric loss also greatly increased with increasing temperature. A significant conclusion was that the annealed sample without gamma or gamma'-PVDF present had only a slightly lower dielectric constant at high temperature testing, but also had much lower loss, making it a potential candidate for high temperature capacitor applications.

Other materials for potential dielectric film applications were studied as well. Two fluoropolymer films consisting of monolayers of ETFE and THV were uniaxially oriented and their morphology was characterized offline to elucidate structure-process-property relationships. Film samples produced were not large enough to be tested for dielectric properties, however morphology development during uniaxial orientation was evaluated. Both films showed nearly affine stretching behavior, and mechano-optical properties were studied during stretching at several temperatures. Combinations of X-ray scattering experiments and AFM led to proposed morphological structure models for each material at varying levels of deformation.

Finally, in collaboration with A. Schulman, Inc., PET and EVOH compounded blend and three layer PET-EVOH-PET films were oriented uniaxially and the morphology of the two was compared to each other. Potential applications include high barrier food packaging applications, due to the very high oxygen barrier but poor water vapor barrier of EVOH, which can be complimented by PET's high water vapor barrier. Uniaxial orientation of these two film systems showed that mechano-optical behavior was significantly different for blend versus layered films. Crystalline orientation factors were calculated from 1D WAXS data, which showed PET orientation was largely unaffected by increasing EVOH content in blend films, but blending decreased orientation of EVOH. PET's orientation in layered films was also largely unaffected by amount of EVOH in inner layer. EVOH's orientation factor was higher in all layered film compositions compared to neat EVOH film after stretching, suggesting that the coextrusion process is beneficial to increasing orientation of EVOH.