OK

Arc Resistance

Electrical Property of Polymers to Determine Conductivity


Arc ResistanceWhen electric current travels across an insulator's surface, this surface is damaged over time and then becomes conductive. Arc resistance is a measure of the time required to make an insulating surface conductive under a high voltage / low current arc in carefully controlled laboratory conditions.

Or in other terms, it is the ability of the plastic material to resist the action of a high voltage electrical arc.

It is used for differentiation among similar material with respect to their resistance to the action of high voltage low current to the surface of the insulation. By this action a conductive path is made due to thermal & chemical decomposition and erosion.

Since this electrical property is usually stated in terms of time required to form plastic material electrically conductive, the values are therefore reported in seconds (s).


Applications include:

  1. Preliminary screening of plastic material
  2. Quality control testing after field experience and other types of simulated service arc tests to establish a correlation
  3. Detecting the results of changes in formulation


Check out more on Arc Resistance:

 » Arc Resistance Values of Several Plastics
 » How to measure Arc Resistance?
 » Arc Resistance of Types of Thermoplastics & How to improve it?


How to measure Arc Resistance?


The most generally used standard tests to calculate arc resistance is ASTM D495 (of course there exists several other methods as well, but they are not discussed here). For example, ASTM-D495 evaluates dry, uncontaminated samples, Test Method ASTM D 2132, D 2303, and D 3638 involve wet, contaminated specimens.

Arc Resistance Test
Schematic High Voltage, Low Current Dry Arc Resistance Test



ASTM D495-14 - Standard Test Method for High-Voltage, Low-Current, Dry Arc Resistance of Solid Electrical Insulation


This test method covers, in a preliminary fashion, the differentiation among similar materials w.r.t their resistance to the action of a high-voltage, low current arc close to the surface of insulation. This arc tends to form a conductive path in that location or may cause the material to become conducting due to the localized thermal and chemical decomposition and erosion.

The arc resistance of a material is determined by this method by measuring the total elapsed time of operation of the test until failure occurs.

There are four general types of failure which have been observed:

  • Many inorganic dielectrics become incandescent, at which point they are capable of conducting the current. However, when cooled, they return to their earlier insulating condition
  • Some organic compounds burst into flames without formation of a visible conducting path in the substance
  • Some organic compounds fail by tracking (i.e. a thin wiry line is formed between the electrodes)
  • Some compounds experience carbonization of the surface until sufficient carbon is present to carry the current

Generally, this method is not used in product design or material specifications. However, the results obtained in the test are values only used to distinguish materials of nearly identical composition such as identification, quality control and development.


Arc Resistance of Thermoplastics & How to improve it?


Arc resistance depends on the type of thermoplastic materials.

  • Thermoset phenolics tend to carbonize easily and therefore have relatively poor arc resistance
  • Alkyds, melamine and fluorocarbons are excellent arc resistance materials

The arc resistance of thermoplastics can be improved substantially by the addition of reinforcements such as fiber glass, minerals and other inorganic fillers.

Find commercial grades matching your electrical properties target using "Property Search - Arc Resistance" filter in Omnexus Plastics Database:

Omnexus Plastics Database - Property Search


Arc Resistance Values of Several Plastics


Click to find polymer you are looking for:
A-C     |      E-M     |      PA-PC     |      PE-PL     |      PM-PP     |      PS-X

Polymer Name Min Value (sec) Max Value (sec)
ABS - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene 60.0 120.0
ABS Flame Retardant 60.0 60.0
ABS High Heat 45.0 85.0
ABS High Impact 45.0 85.0
ABS/PC Blend - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene/Polycarbonate Blend 0.00 120.0
ASA - Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate 60.0 120.0
CA - Cellulose Acetate 50.0 300.0
CP - Cellulose Proprionate 175.0 190.0
ECTFE - Ethylene Chlorotrifluoroethylene 50.0 50.0
FEP - Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene 165.0 180.0
HDPE - High Density Polyethylene 100.0 180.0
HIPS - High Impact Polystyrene 20.0 100.0
HIPS Flame Retardant V0 60.0 120.0
LCP Glass Fiber-reinforced 124.0 182.0
LCP Mineral-filled 145.0 183.0
LDPE - Low Density Polyethylene 130.0 160.0
PA 11, Conductive 70.0 130.0
PA 11, Flexible 70.0 130.0
PA 11, Rigid 70.0 130.0
PA 12 (Polyamide 12), Conductive 70.0 130.0
PA 12, Fiber-reinforced 70.0 130.0
PA 12, Flexible 70.0 130.0
PA 12, Glass Filled 70.0 130.0
PA 12, Rigid 70.0 130.0
PA 6 - Polyamide 6 118.0 125.0
PA 6-10 - Polyamide 6-10 120.0 120.0
PA 66 - Polyamide 6-6 130.0 140.0
PA 66, 30% Glass Fiber 60.0 135.0
PA 66, Impact Modified, 15-30% Glass Fiber 85.0 135.0
PA 66, Impact Modified 95.0 125.0
PAR - Polyarylate 125.0 125.0
PBT - Polybutylene Terephthalate 124.0 125.0
PBT, 30% Glass Fiber 10.0 130.0
PC (Polycarbonate) 20-40% Glass Fiber 30.0 120.0
PC - Polycarbonate, high heat 110.0 120.0
PCTFE - Polymonochlorotrifluoroethylene 350.0 400.0
PE - Polyethylene 30% Glass Fiber 140.0 140.0
PEEK - Polyetheretherketone 40.0 40.0
PEEK 30% Glass Fiber-reinforced 30.0 40.0
PEI - Polyetherimide 128.0 128.0
PEI, 30% Glass Fiber-reinforced 85.0 85.0
PEI, Mineral Filled 140.0 140.0
PESU - Polyethersulfone 20.0 120.0
PESU 10-30% glass fiber 75.0 75.0
PET - Polyethylene Terephthalate 75.0 125.0
PET, 30% Glass Fiber-reinforced 94.0 125.0
PETG - Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol 75.0 125.0
PFA - Perfluoroalkoxy 180.0 180.0
PMP 30% Glass Fiber-reinforced 120.0 120.0
POM - Polyoxymethylene (Acetal) 200.0 220.0
POM (Acetal) Impact Modified 120.0 120.0
POM (Acetal) Low Friction 126.0 183.0
PP - Polypropylene 10-20% Glass Fiber 75.0 100.0
PP, 10-40% Mineral Filled 100.0 130.0
PP, 10-40% Talc Filled 100.0 130.0
PP, 30-40% Glass Fiber-reinforced 60.0 75.0
PP (Polypropylene) Copolymer 135.0 180.0
PP (Polypropylene) Homopolymer 135.0 180.0
PP, Impact Modified 135.0 180.0
PPA – 30% mineral 119.0 121.0
PPA, 33% Glass Fiber-reinforced 119.0 121.0
PPA, 33% Glass Fiber-reinforced – High Flow 0.00 0.00
PPA, 45% Glass Fiber 124.0 126.0
PPE - Polyphenylene Ether 53.0 80.0
PPE, 30% Glass Fiber-reinforced 120.0 120.0
PPS - Polyphenylene Sulfide 124.0 124.0
PPS, 20-30% Glass Fiber-reinforced 120.0 127.0
PPS, 40% Glass Fiber-reinforced 34.0 34.0
PPS, Glass fiber & Mineral-filled 116.0 182.0
PS (Polystyrene) 30% glass fiber 40.0 85.0
PS (Polystyrene) Crystal 60.0 80.0
PSU - Polysulfone 60.0 120.0
PSU, 30% Glass finer-reinforced 100.0 100.0
PTFE - Polytetrafluoroethylene 200.0 300.0
PVC Rigid 60.0 80.0
PVDF - Polyvinylidene Fluoride 50.0 70.0
SAN - Styrene Acrylonitrile 100.0 150.0
SAN, 20% Glass Fiber-reinforced 60.0 75.0


Commercially Available Electrically Conductive Polymer Grades





Disclaimer: all data and information obtained via the Polymer Selector including but not limited to material suitability, material properties, performances, characteristics and cost are given for information purpose only. Although the data and information contained in the Polymer Selector are believed to be accurate and correspond to the best of our knowledge, they are provided without implied warranty of any kind. Data and information contained in the Polymer Selector are intended for guidance in a polymer selection process and should not be considered as binding specifications. The determination of the suitability of this information for any particular use is solely the responsibility of the user. Before working with any material, users should contact material suppliers in order to receive specific, complete and detailed information about the material they are considering. Part of the data and information contained in the Polymer Selector are genericised based on commercial literature provided by polymer suppliers and other parts are coming from assessments of our experts.

Copyright SpecialChem SA
Back to Top