Dielectric Loss and Electrical Conductivity Behaviors of Epoxy Composites Containing Semiconducting ZnO Varistor Particles

Li Lei, Chaoxin Chen, Haoran Nie, Xudong Wu, Daniel Q. Tan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Polymer nanodielectrics render a great material platform for exhibiting the intrinsic nature of incorporated particles, particularly semiconducting types, and their interfaces with the polymer matrix. Incorporating the oxide fillers with higher loading percentages (>40 vol%) encounters particular challenges in terms of dispersion, homogeneous distribution, and porosity from the process. This work investigated the dielectric loss and electrical conduction behaviors of composites containing semiconducting ZnO varistor particles of various concentrations using the epoxy impregnation method. The ZnO varistor particles increased the dielectric permittivity, loss, and electrical conductivity of the epoxy composites into three different regimes (0–50 vol%, 50–70 vol%, 70–100 vol%), particularly under an electric bias field or at higher temperatures. For lower loading fractions below 50 vol%, the dielectric responses are dominated by the insulating epoxy matrix. When loading fractions are between 50 and 70 vol%, the dielectric and electric responses are mostly associated with the semiconducting interfaces of ZnO varistor particles and ZnO–epoxy. At above 70 vol%, the apparent increase in the dielectric loss and conductivity is primarily associated with the conducting ZnO core forming the interconnected channels of electric conduction. The foam-agent-assisted ZnO varistor particle framework appears to be a better way of fabricating composites of filler loading above 80 vol%. A physical model using an equivalent capacitor, diode, and resistor in the epoxy composites was proposed to explain the different property behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 17 Sep 2022


  • ZnO varistor
  • dielectric permittivity
  • composites
  • particle interconnect
  • epoxy impregnation


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