Project Lead: Gary Stevens
Technical Lead: Rhys Rhodes
CableCare is undertaken in partnership with the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), with NIA funding provided by SSE Power Distribution and SP Energy Networks. The project concerns the development of self-healing and functional water swelling materials for use as sub-sheath barrier materials in cable protection systems.
The overall aim of the project is to produce a number of sub-sheath cable repair technologies for medium voltage (MV) cables that can be adapted for commercial use by cable makers following the completion of the project. These technologies must be capable of repairing minor defects in subterranean and subsea cables in the presence of water and under pressures anticipated on the seabed.
This is being achieved by carrying out the following:
- Review currently available materials and modes of self-repair, and select materials which at appear to be suitable both technically and economically.
- Carry out a first-level analysis of candidate systems, including an assessment mechanical properties, thermal stability, and the effectiveness of the self-repair functionality. Based on this assessment, a smaller number of materials will be selected for a more extensive, second-level analysis.
- Carry out a second-level analysis of technologies that have been found to be particularly suitable for this application. This includes the assessment of the self-repair functionality over a greater range of conditions, and the development of processing techniques for incorporating the material into cable designs.
- Assess the performance of the selected materials through the development of bespoke minicables. These will also be used to demonstrate the technology to potential adopters.
Gnosys has determined that there are two materials technologies that are particularly suitable to this application. These materials have been found to perform well under highly challenging conditions and can be processed using continuous extrusion or spray-deposition techniques, which greatly simplifies the cable manufacturing process. Where opportunities have arisen, Gnosys is also seeking to develop proprietary materials with advanced repair capabilities whilst retaining simple processing routes for cable makers.