Amorphous siloxane polymers are designed to have a high dielectric strength for use as high-voltage insulation materials. Their surface hydrophobicity is essential and can be impaired by several factors, leading to leakage currents due to dielectric breakdown. Self-recovery is possible and generally observed over a period of several hours.
By using large-scale, all-atom molecular dynamics simulations, we have rationalized the molecular mechanism behind the self-healing hydrophobic recovery of high-voltage insulators. With this understanding, future molecular components with desirable diffusion properties have been suggested for improving the self-recovery process.