Polyethylene is used as high-voltage electrical insulation in cable, and fails when subjected to the combination of water environment and electrical field. The three-dimensional microstructure of water trees, which are precursors to dielectric breakdown, has been revealed with laser scanning confocal optical microscopy. Two-dimensional images which represented optical serial sections were recorded in digital form, and reconstructed in a computer to produce three-dimensional views of the microstructure. Both stereo pairs and computed tomographic reconstructions were made. The material was stained with a fluorescent dye and the fluorescent image was compared to the standard unstained image. The dye was found to increase the signal-to-noise ratio and improve the quality of the image significantly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Materials Science(all)