How To Compare Types of Electrical Cables

First of all, what are electrical cables? Simply put, electrical cables are used to transmit electricity, and they are made up of two or more wires bonded together (through twisting or braiding). These wires are covered by protective and insulating material. There are many different types of electrical cables, and they are typically categorized depending on such factors as electrical conductivity, type of insulation, type of protector (or covering), weight, cost, and specific uses.

If you’re interested in electrical cables as a hobby, or would probably like to engage in some sales pertinent to this topic, then it pays to learn as much as you can about electrical cables. Here are just some of the different types of cables available in the market today:

  1. According to use. There are several uses for electrical cables. Direct-buried or underground cables, for example are meant to be buried below the ground. They are thus specially designed to have a high tolerance to such factors as soil acidity, heat and moisture. Mineral-insulated copper-clad cables have circuit integrity, which means that it can withstand extreme conditions (such as a fire) and are thus used in such equipment as fire pumps and fire alarm systems; power stations, tunnels and mines.
  2. According to material. There are so many different types of cable according to the material used as conductor. There is the aluminum cable, copper cable, teflon cable and tungsten cable, among others.
    • The aluminum cable is widely-used because aluminum is a very good conductor of electricity, highly resistant to corrosion, lightweight and very economical (easily manufactured and recycled). It is also one of the available high voltage cables, meaning it can efficiently carry power even through long distances.
    • Teflon cables have very high melting temperatures so it is usually used to provide insulation to other cables. It is considered a high-performance cable.
    • Tungsten cables are also known for its resistance to high temperatures as well as its durability even in harsh environments; it is typically used in its pure forms for electrical cables. It is can be easily formed into filament coils due to its strength and ductility.
    • Copper cables are still considered to be the best material for use as electrical connectors since it is regarded to be one of the best conductors of electricity. It is also malleable, ductile, highly resistant to corrosion and light weight.
    • PVC cables or polyvinyl chloride cables are made up of polymers of vinyl chloride.
  3. Other types of cables. There are other types of cables such as different basic cables including coaxial cables (used for different applications such as computer network connections and cable TV signal distribution), armored cables, fiber optic cables (which is composed of transparent fibers), and ribbon cables (used mostly in computer hardware such as CD drives and hard drives). 

Other factors that determine the type of electrical cables include voltage rating, type of protective covering, fiber core size, cable weight and cable diameter.

This information should help you get started in building your basic knowledge about electrical cables.


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