MPPE Insulation Redefines Wire and Cable

Posted on Monday, November 3, 2014 by Kimberly Versaw

MPPE, which stands for Modified Polyphenylene Ether, is a thermoplastic just like its PVC competition, and can be repeatedly heated and formed into any shape while hot.  MPPE insulation was first used in the automotive industry, to offer an eco-friendly and performance enhancing alternative to PVC used in 60% of the vehicles.  The reduced weight was an important feature to improve fuel efficiency of their vehicles.  This new material quickly garnered attention in the industry for its benefits and application uses beyond those in the automotive industry.

Compared to PVC, mPPE is smaller, lighter, and has superior dielectric strength.  The smaller and lighter assets allow manufacturers like Alpha Wire to produce wire and cable products that are smaller, but still hold the same or even better electrical properties.  When used on hook-up wire and multi-conductor cable, mPPE results in a smaller and lighter wire or cable.  How is this possible you ask?

  • MPPE Insulation has a superior dielectric strength, allowing a reduced wall thickness to be made possible while still maintaining the same electrical properties.
  • MPPE insulation’s specific gravity of 1.03 is 25% to 50% lower than other insulation materials, such as PVC, FEP and XLPE.  Not only does this help with the reduced wall thickness, the low specific gravity enables mPPE insulated wire and cable to be up to 65% lighter than standard PVC.

On top of all these performance benefits, mPPE insulation gets even better from an ecological perspective.  Plastics present significant disposal issues: its harmful additives leak into the groundwater in landfills and produce toxic gases when burned.  PVC can be recycled but it is not always technically feasible and rarely cost effective.  Other common wire insulations present similar, if less severe, problems.  On the other hand, mPPE is thermoplastic and more easily recycled as it does not contain the aforementioned hazardous materials.  This insulation can be shredded and reused without the need to add in any virgin material, making it 100% recyclable.  This assists design engineers in achieving compliance with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and RoHS Directives for the elimination of hazardous substances and recyclability.  MPPE also provides minimized environmental impact since it does not contain halogens, phthalates, or heavy metals.

As you know, mPPE insulation’s capabilities and possibilities are seemingly endless.  In the next blog we will discuss the medical and semiconductor industries and how mPPE insulation can be used to enhance performance and minimize environmental impact in those industries.

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