What are electrical cables?
Electric cables are one of the main elements in modern life since they are responsible for conducting the electric current. Practically nowadays everything works with electricity, from lighting, the electronic devices that accompany us every day, to more complex components such as industrial machines.
Parts of electrical cables
Although there are different types of electrical cables, they all have the same construction: electrical conductor, insulator, cover and in some cases they have a mesh between the insulator and the cover.
Conductor: It is the central part of the cable and is responsible for conducting electricity.
Insulator: Covers the conductor and prevents electricity from leaking through unwanted elements.
Mesh: This is usually used in telecommunications and serves to avoid interference both from the cable to the outside and from the outside to the cable.
Cover: This has to be a resistant material since it covers all the components of the exterior.
Parts electric cable
What is the difference between a cable and a wire?
Physically there is a great difference and it is by this method that we can identify a cable from a wire, since the wires have a single conductor, while the electrical cables have several conductive wires inside. Having more than one wire makes the cable more flexible.
Cable and wire
Types of electrical cables
We can find many types of cables, some more common than others, since on occasions we have to use special cables for specific jobs. This time we will only deal with the common cables that exist.
unipolar and multipolar
As its name implies, the unipolar cables are characterized by having a single conductor, while the multipolar cables can have several insulated conductors on the same cover.
Single core cable
Despite the fact that this type has the characteristics of a wire since it has a single wire, it is commonly called coaxial cable. These are usually used for video signals and television signals.
This type has a conductive wire at its core and an armored mesh that is used as ground to avoid interference.
These usually have two interlocking cables and can have more than one pair within the same cover, a clear example are UTP cables that are usually used in computer systems such as internet use, security cameras and data networks.
They are also known as double cables and are characterized by having two parallel cables. They are mainly used to supply a low electrical current such as in homes.
These electrical cables have the characteristic of having a metallic mesh between the insulation of the cables and the cover. This serves to avoid interference.
These cables are laid in parallel which results in a flat cable. Their name is due to the resemblance to the flat shape of a ribbon and they are mainly used in computers.
This is a variant of coaxial cable and the only difference is that it has two conductors instead of one.
There is also a variety of cables for specific uses such as: marine cables, buried cables (underground), for instrumentation, metal, etc.
Because they are not always used in the same conditions we can find different cable diameters, these different sizes are known as gauge, for this there is a gauge classification that is taken as a reference and is the AWG (American Wire Gauge) .
It should be noted that the larger the number of gauge, the thinner the cable.
Due to the great variety of applications of electric cables we can also find different types of insulating materials. They are mainly classified into thermosets and thermoplastics, each classification has different materials.
XLPE: Crosslinked Polyethylene
MICC: Isolated with mineral
Eva: Ethinyl vinyl acetylene