ERJ staff report (PR)
Cologne, Germany – Lanxess is highlighting the role of its ethylene-vinyl acetate synthetic rubber (EVM) in Germany’s wind power programme – part of the country’s efforts to become independent of nuclear energy and fossil fuels.
The company’s halogen-free Levapren EVM is being used in large wind turbines mainly because it helps reduce the risk of fire near the generators, according to the Cologne-based synthetic rubber supplier.
Strong electrical currents flow through large wind turbines at over 500V. If a fire breaks out, it is much more difficult to extinguish as the components that house the generators are very high up in the air.
EVM is used inside the nacelles of the wind turbines, specifically in the cable sheathing because is easy to process, and contains no halogens, explains Jörg Stumbaum, technical marketing manager at Lanxess.
“Furthermore, EVM elastomers can accommodate a high content of halogen-free flame retardants, such as aluminium hydroxide, and the polar rubber raw material does not swell in the presence of lubricating greases.” added Stumbaum.
A problem with using halogen-based materials, such as PVC cable sheathing, is that on burning they release hydrochloric acid that attacks the metal parts.
“Even stainless steel is not immune to its effects,” said Stumbaum. “When technical installations burn, the greatest damage usually is caused not by the heat of the flames, but by the corrosive effect of the combustion gases.”