Wire Wisdom – Anixter- Jan/Feb 2020 – Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) Insulated Wire and Cable

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) Insulated Wire and Cable

EPDM rubber was developed in the early 1960s as chemical compa- nies and chemists set out to produce unique synthetic elastomers. After its first initial discovery, the DuPont chemical company was the first to re- fine the rubber into the product that we know today.The Ethylene Propyl- ene Diene Monomer compound is created by chemically cross-linking the elastomer.

EPDM wire and cable products are nearly identical with many of the physical properties of natural rubber insulations and jacketing compounds with an added property of provid- ing a weather-resistant jacket. EPDM compounds have much better resis- tance to heat, light and ozone as com- pared to unsaturated rubbers like nat- ural rubber, SBR, PCP (Neoprene®) or Polychloroprene. As such, EPDM can be formulated to be resistant to temperatures as high as 150°C, and, properly formulated, can be used outside for many years or decades

without degradation.The one major problem with EPDM compounds is that they are extremely poor in appli- cations where oil is present. EPDM is not to be used in applications where hydrocarbons, such as kerosene, gas- oline and hydrogenated solvents, are present.

EPDM insulation and jackets are compounded with fillers such as car- bon black and calcium carbonate and with plasticizers such as paraffinic oils, and have useful rubbery prop- erties only when crosslinked. Cross- linking typically is performed via continuous vulcanization (CV) with sulfur, but is also accomplished with peroxides (for better heat resistance) or with phenolic resins. High-energy electron beam radiation (irradiated or E-Beam) is used for producing high-quality EPDM wire and cable products.

EPDM has good low-temperature properties, with elastic properties to temperatures as low as -40°C.As the demand for UV-resistant wire and ca- ble increased, so did the use of EPDM for both hook-up wire and electrical cables. EPDM offers great flexibility, durability and is resistant to mois- ture. It also performs well in high temperatures and in high-voltage ap- plications. Typically, EPDM wire and cable is used for high-temperature applications (125° to 150°C), such as appliances.Another use of EPDM compounds is in the manufacturing of medium-voltage test leads. EPDM insulated products can be used as appliance wire and as lead wire for motors, ballasts, transformers, coils or solenoids, where high temperature and/or high voltage is required. Com- mon standards include UL 3284, UL 3374; CSA 1254 from sizes 18 AWG to 4/0.

Common Types of EPDM Wire or Cable

• EPDM Lead Wire, UL 3340, UL 3374, UL 3399
UL 3284 & UL 3340 (Anixter 5MF part numbers)

• EPDM are common insulators for welding cables (Anixter 5J part numbers)

• Appliance wire UL 3399

Contact an Anixter expert at an- to learn more.