To understand the space charge characteristics of ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) used in MV/HV power cables under thermal stress, the space charge profile is measured by the pulsed electro-acoustic method under 20 kV/mm at 120 and 160 °C. The complex permittivity and physicochemical properties at the different ageing stages are measured and analyzed for an understanding of the effects of thermal ageing on space charge characteristics. The trap properties of EPR during thermal ageing is calculated and analyzed based on the space charge decay model. The results show that both the ageing time and temperature can affect the space charge characteristics of EPR. The space charge characteristics of EPR can be ascribed to the trapping sites caused by the complex chemical and physical structures during thermal ageing. Under the thermal oxygen process, the polar groups and ions increase because of the EPR molecular chain breakages, and the charge injection from the electrodes increases. Based on the decay model of space charge and isothermal decay current theory, the distribution of trap levels in EPR at different ageing stages is obtained. The trap distribution under different ageing process can be explained by the theory of trap filling.
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