Dow SI-LINK™ DFDF-5451 NT Faster Curing Ethylene-Silane Copolymer is a patent-pending advanced polymer with an entirely new molecular architecture for making electrical cables with unmatched performance and sustainability. It is the newest member of the SI-LINK™ Moisture-Curable Compounds family and delivers breakthrough cure speed in the crosslinking of compositions used to fabricate cables for safe and efficient delivery of electricity (specifically 3 to 40 times faster ambient cure than the incumbent alternatives, depending on formulation and cable construction). Safe, reliable, and sustainable cables are integral to a power grid that is getting more complex, larger, and increasingly relying on sustainable wind and solar power as the world electrifies, digitalizes, and decarbonizes. Electrical cables are made by coating polymeric compositions as insulation layers onto metallic conductors. DFDF-5451 is a moisture-curable ingredient of polymeric compositions that provides the crosslinked matrix fundamental to cable performance and integrity. DFDF-5451 is a drop-in on customers’ assets and eliminates expensive, high temperature curing steps. Leading applications of DFDF-5451 include photovoltaic cables for solar panels as well as cables for the grid and buildings, with extension anticipated to electrical vehicles and charging stations (plus non-electrical applications like foams for dampening, insulation and weatherproofing).
DFDF-5451 is a sustainable product made in a sustainable process that delivers unprecedented performance across the value chain starting from how it itself is made (optimized product and process), stored (exceptionally long shelf stability of 2 years for a very reactive product in end-use, such that open containers do not go bad for use later), and converted (fast and easy) into cables with unmatched performance. DFDF-5451 is made in a one-step, lower energy process versus the inefficient, two-step process for incumbent silane grafted polyethylene (inherently sub-optimal product and process). Cables made of DFDF-5451 can be cured rapidly without the need for energy-intensive hot sauna curing operations (70-90°C, high humidity) typical of many incumbent alternatives. Furthermore, DFDF-5451 enables incorporation of twice as much additional polymers as the incumbent alternatives (50 wt% or more), along with better filler- and additive-acceptance, which translates to enhanced cable design for sustainability, extreme performance (durability, flexibility, flame-retardancy, etc.) as well as lower cost.
DFDF-5451 is a product and process breakthrough that is made on existing commercial assets. Across the value chain, product performance is enhanced and costs (energy, equipment, operating) are lowered. Dow experts in silane chemistry, polyethylene materials science, process chemistry and process engineering collaborated to first design candidates using experimental and computational methods. The best lead was scaled-up in Dow’s manufacturing plant and the process optimized. DFDF-5451 has been validated by customers of Dow on production-scale cable processes in an inherently conservative industry with stringent qualifications/certifications and high barriers to entry. Dow is partnering with cable manufacturers, providing the commercial product as well as technical knowhow and hand-in-hand support. Broader marketplace awareness of DFDF-5451 has been created through technical papers and presentations: 2022 IEEE Power Engineering Society Transmission and Distribution Conference and Exposition; 2022 Polymers in Cables Conference; and Wire & Cable Technology International, July 2022, pp. 130-131.