An electrical cable is used to transmit electrical power. This cable is composed of several electrical conductors that are bound together by a sheath. With many different types and sizes available, it is imperative to choose specific cable types based on several factors including function. The main components of a cable are insulation, protective jacket, or armor, and conductors. The primary factors that determine a wire and cable and material include how they will be used and under what conditions.
- Environmental conditions such as temperature, sunlight exposure, and water dictate the form and composition of a cable jacket.
- The cable current capacity does not remain the same, but is constantly changing and adapting due to ground and air temperature, the method used to law the cable, and how deep it is buried.
- The thickness of a cable’s insulation is determined by working voltage.
The Purpose of Cable Armor
The armor used in power cables is constructed of steel wire and steel tape, which increases the tensile of the cable. The armor is not used to protect the cables from any physical impact. Cable armor may create more problems in the event of some form of physical stress. The armor itself may aggravate the condition.
Armor as a Moisture Deterrent
Cable armor does not protect electric cables from moisture of any kind and should not be used in moist areas. Armored cables should never be exposed to water as this can destroy the armor and eventually will cause the entire cable to be vulnerable and exposed.
Expected Longevity of Power Cables
It is impossible to determine exactly how long a cable will last based on several variable factors. Different types of power cables can be purchased from several different manufacturers. Each specific type of power cable is defined by its own capacity, usage, and durability and other specific characteristics that may determine its lifespan. Installation techniques play a major role in determining how long a cable will continue to be functional. Proper installation is critical to extending a cable’s lifespan.
The Best Conductor for High Voltages
When it comes to conductivity, there are two types of metals that are commonly used with high voltages. Copper and aluminum are the two metals considered the best conductors for different reasons. Both metals have their own unique characteristics.
- Copper is much stronger than aluminum, but is much less flexible. It also has a higher melting point and can contain some impurities that may affect conductivity. It functions better under short circuit conditions.
- Aluminum is a good conductor of electricity and has a low electric resistivity. It is also lightweight, economical and is a good metal for high voltage.
Electrical Projects Demand Safety Steps
The first step before beginning any electrical installation project is to consult the local building inspector to ensure that all work complies with local regulations and codes. The voltage from electricity is dangerous and causes serious injuries or death. Respect electricity’s power and take all precautions to prevent accidents from careless handling of electricity.