The energy distribution of trapped charges in polymers based on isothermal surface potential decay model

Jianying Li, Fusheng Zhou, Daomin Min, Shengtao Li, Rong Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Space charge formation in polymeric materials can cause some serious concern in real operation, because it has significant influence on the performance of polymers. For example, space charge in some insulating materials can severely distort the electric field, even lead to materials degradation. On the contrary, in the case of its applications, space charge stored in electrets can greatly improve their properties. It is therefore important to understand trapped charge distribution in materials as it is considered to be a novel indicator for effective evaluation of aging status and electric withstanding strength of insulating materials. In this paper, a model based on isothermal surface potential decay (ISPD) is proposed to study the distribution of trapped charges by considering the physical mechanism of the detrapping process. By measuring the ISPD characteristics of polymeric materials and fitting the data according to the assumption of shallow and deep traps, the distribution of trapped charges is obtained, which may be related to the change of aggregation structure of polymers. In order to verify the model, it is used to analyze different ISPD decay curves of polypropylene (PP) and low density polyethylene (LDPE), as well as the ISPD data of PP electrets with/without pressure expanding treatment. The results show that the proposed ISPD model is effective and convenient. Two peaks are observed on the curve of the trapped charge density versus the trap level. The obtained distribution of the trapped charges in polymers can reveal the different nature of electron/hole traps and the different transportation behavior of hole/electron carriers, i.e., the electron-type traps show an inter-chain character while the character of hole-type traps is intra-chain. In addition, the distribution of trapped charge is further related to aggregation structure of PP and LDPE, as well as PP electrets with/without pressure expanding treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7116370
Pages (from-to)1723-1732
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes



  • aggregation structure
  • isothermal surface potential decay (ISPD)
  • Space charge
  • trapped charge density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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