The capacitance and the dielectric loss tangents of CaCO3 filled polyethylene composites were studied. Composite samples, prepared by polymerizing ethylene on the surfaces of fillers, pre-treated by polymerization catalysts, were compared to normal mechanical mixtures. Dielectric dispersion,ε′, and loss, ε″, proved to be sensitive to heating or vacuum treatment. Investigation of samples under conditions of different relative humidities showed that the dielectric dispersion is due to adsorbed water. Bothε′ and ε″ increased with decreasing frequency and the ratio of loss and dispersion was nearly constant. Dielectric data measured at different relative humidities could be represented by a single Cole-Cole plot. Samples soaked in water for different periods yielded qualitatively similar but quantitatively different Cole-Cole plots. Composite samples showed higher losses at similar humidities.
Possible interpretations in terms of a molecular relaxation model, an interfacial relaxation model, including a charged double layer mechanism, percolation theory and the universal response theory were examined, but none was able to fully explain the observed phenomena.