Abrasion Resistance - Ability of material or cable to resist
Alternating Current - An electric current that continually
reverses its direction giving a definite plus and minus wave form at fixed intervals.
Alternating Current Resistance - The resistance offered by any
circuit to the flow of alternating current.
Ambient Temperature - Any all encompassing temperature within a
American Wire Gage (AWG) - The standard system used for
designating wire diameter. Also referred to as the Brown and Sharpe (B&S) wire gage.
Ampacity - (See current-carrying capacity).
Anneal - To subject to heat with subsequent cooling. When
annealing copper; the act of softening the metal by means of heat to render it less
Anti-Oxidant - A substance which prevents or slows down oxygen
decomposition of a material.
Anti-Ozonant - A substance which prevents or slows down
material degradation due to ozone reaction.
Armor - Mechanical protection usually accomplished by a
metallic layer of tape, braid or served wires. Normally found only over the outer sheath.
Armored Cable - A cable provided with a wrapping of metal,
usually steel wires, flat tapes, or interlocked tapes, primarily for the purpose of
ASTM - Abbreviation for American Society for Testing and
AWG - Abbreviation for American Wire Gage, a standard system
used for designating wire diameter. Also referred to as the Brown and Sharpe (B&S)
B&S Gage - Brown and Sharpe wire gage used for copper
conductor (same as American Wire Gage).
Binder - A helically applied tape or thread used for holding
assembled cable components in place until additional manufacturing operations are performed.
Boot - A protective covering over any portion of a cable or
conductor in addition to its jacket or insulation.
Braid - A fibrous or metallic group of filaments interwoven in
cylindrical form to form a covering over one or more wires.
Breakdown (Puncture) - A disruptive discharge through
insulation due to failure under electrostatic stress.
Breakdown Voltage - The voltage at which the insulation between
two conductors, or a conductor and ground will break down.
Building Wire - Wire used for light and power in permanent
installations utilizing 600 volts or less. Usually in an enclosure and which will not be
exposed to outdoor environments.
Bunch Stranding - A method of stranding where a single
conductor is formed from any number of wires twisted together in the same direction, such
that all strands have the same lay length, but no specific geometric arrangement.
Butt Joint - A splice or connection formed by placing the ends
of two conductors together and joining them by welding, brazing or soldering.
Butt Wrap - Tape wrapped in an edge- to -edge manner with no
over-lapping between adjacent turns.
Cable Core - A cable core is the portion of an insulated cable
lying under the protective covering or coverings.
Cable Filler - The material used in multiple conductor cables
to occupy the spaces formed by the assembly of components, thus forming a core of the
Capacitance (Capacity) - That property of a system of
conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential
difference exists between the conductors.
Capacitive Coupling - Electrical interaction between two
conductors caused by the capacitance between them.
Capillary Action - The phenomenon of liquid rising in a small
interstice due to surface tension.
Carbon Black- A black pigment. It imparts useful ultraviolet
protective properties, and so is frequently suspended into plastic and elastomeric
compounds intended for outside weather exposure.
Charging Current - The current produced when a d-c voltage is
first applied to conductors of an unterminated cable. It is caused by the capacitive
reactance of the cable, and decreases exponentially with time.
Chlorinated Polyethylene (CPE) - A synthetic rubber jacketing
Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene (CSPE) - A synthetic rubber
jacketing compound manufactured by Du Pont under trade name of Hypalon.
Circular Mil - A unit of area equal to the area of a circle
whose diameter is 1 mil (0.001 inch). Used chiefly in specifying cross-sectional areas of
Coating - A material applied to the surface of a conductor to
prevent environmental deterioration, facilitate soldering or improve electrical
Cold Flow - Any permanent deformation due to pressure or
mechanical force, without the aid of eat softening.
Cold Joint - A soldered joint made with insufficient heat.
Cold Test - Any test to determine the performance of cables
during or after subjection to a specified low temperature for a specified time.
Cold Work - The hardening and embrittlement of metal by
repeated flexing action.
Color Code - A color system for circuit identification by use
of solid colors tracers, braids surface Printing, etc.
Compact Stranded Conductor - A unidirectional or conventional
concentric conductor manufactured to a specified diameter, approximately 8 to 10% below
the nominal diameter of a noncompact conductor of the same cross-sectional area.
Concentricity - In a wire or cable, the measurement of the
location of the center of the conductor with respect to the geometric center of the
Concentric - lay Conductor - Conductor constructed with a
central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically laid wires. Several types are
Compact round conductor - A conductor constructed with a
central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically laid wires and formed into
final shape by rolling, drawing, or other means.
Conventional concentric conductor - Conductor constructed with
a central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically laid wires. The direction of
lay is reversed in successive layers and generally with an increase in length of lay for
Equilay conductor - Conductor constructed with a central core
surrounded by more than one layer of helically laid wires, all layers having a common
length of lay, direction of lay being reversed successive layers.
Rope-lay conductor - Conductor constructed of a bunch-stranded
or a concentric-stranded member or members, as a central core, around which are laid one
or more helical layers of such members.
Unidirectional conductor - Conductor constructed with a central
core surrounded by more than one layer of helically laid wire, all layers having a common
direction of lay, with increase in length of lay for each successive layer.
Unilay conductor - conductor constructed with a central core
surrounded by more than one layer of helically laid wires, all layers having a common
length and direction of lay.
Concentric Stranding - A method of stranding, wherein a single
conductor is formed from a central wire surrounded by one or more layers of helically
layed wires. Each layer is applied with an opposite direction of lay. The first layer has
six wires, and each additional layer has six more wires than does the previous one. Thus
the second layer has twelve wires, the third layer has eighteen wires, etc.
Conductivity - A term used in describing the capability of a
material to carry an electrical charge. Usually expressed as a percentage of copper
conductivity -- copper being one hundred (100%) percent. Conductivity is expressed for a
standard configuration of conductor.
Conductor - A wire or combination of wires not insulated from
one another, suitable for carrying an electric current.
Conductor Core - The center strand or member about which one of
more layers of wires or members are laid helically to form a concentric-lay or rope-lay
Continuous Vulcanization - Simultaneous extrusion and
vulcanization of wire coating materials. It is abbreviated CV.
Contrahelical - A term meaning the application of two or more
layers of spirally twisted, served, or wrapped materials where each successive layer is
wrapped in the opposite direction to the preceding layer.
Cord - Small, flexible insulated cable usually size l0AWG or
Core - Any portion of a cable over which some other cable
component, such as a shield, jacket, sheath or armor, is applied.
Corona - A luminous discharge due to ionization of the gas
surrounding a conductor around which exists a voltage gradient exceeding a certain
Corona Resistance - The time that insulation will withstand a
specified level field-intensified ionization that does not result in the immediate
complete breakdown of the insulation. Also called voltage endurance.
Corona Test - A test to determine the ability of a cable to
withstand the formation of corona under an increasing applied voltage, and to extinguish
corona when a corona-producing voltage is reduced.
Crazing - Minute lines appearing in or near the surface of
materials, such as ceramics and plastics usually resulting as a response to environment.
Crazing cannot be felt by running a fingernail across it. If the fingernail catches, it is
a crack, not crazing.
Creep - The dimensional change with time of a material under
load. At room temperature, it is sometimes called cold flow.
Creepage - Electrical leakage on a solid dielectric surface.
Crimp Termination - A wire termination that is applied by
physical pressure of terminal to wire.
Cross Linking - The establishment of chemical bonds between
polymer molecule chains. It may be accomplished by heat, vulcanization, irradiation or the
addition of a suitable chemical agent.
Cross Sectional Area - The area of the cut surface of an object
cut at right angles to the length of the object.
Cross Sectional Area of a Conductor - The sum of cross
sectional areas of all the individual wires composing the conductor. It is generally
expressed in circular mils.
Crush Resistance Test - A test to determine the ability of a
cable to resist damage from radial compression, such as might be encountered in service.
Cure - (See Vulcanization.)
Current-carrying Capacity - The maximum current an insulated
conductor or cable can continuously carry without exceeding its temperature rating. It is
also called ampacity.
Cut-through - Resistance of solid material to penetration by an
object under conditions of pressure, temperature, etc.
Cut-through Resistance - The ability of a given material to
withstand penetration by a solid object of specified dimensions and weight, which is
permitted to free fall onto this material from a specified height.
CV (Continuous Vulcanization) - Simultaneous extrusion and
vulcanization of wire coating materials.
Cycle - One complete sequence of variations in an alternating
current. The number of cycles occurring in one second is called the frequency.
Decibel - Unit to express differences of power level. It is
used to express power loss in cables.
Density - The weight per unit volume of a substance.
Derating Factor - A factor used to reduce a current carrying
capacity of a wire when used in other environments from that for which the value was
Dielectric breakdown - The voltage at which a dielectric
material is punctured; which is divisible by thickness to give dielectric strength.
Dielectric Constant - That property (K) of an insulating
material which is the ratio of the parallel capacitance (C) of a given configuration of
electrodes with the material as the dielectric, to the capacitance of the same electrode
configuration with a vacuum as the dielectric.
Dielectric Strength - The voltage which an insulating material
can withstand before breakdown occurs, usually expressed as a voltage gradient (such as
volts per mil).
Dielectric Tests - 1). Tests which consist of the application
of a voltage higher than the rated voltage for a specified time for the purpose of
determining the adequacy against breakdown of insulating materials and spacings under
normal conditions. 2). The testing of insulating materials by application
of constantly increasing voltage until failure occurs.
Direction of Lay - The lateral direction, designated as
left-hand or right-hand, in which the wires of a member or units of a conductor run over
the top of the member or conductor as they recede from an observer looking along the axis
of the member or conductor.
Dissipation - Unusable or lost energy, as the production of
unused heat in a circuit.
Drain Wire - An uninsulated wire, usually placed directly
beneath and in electrical contact with a grounded shield, which is used for making ground
Drawing - In the manufacture of wire, pulling the metal through
a die or series of dies for reduction of diameter to specified size.
Durometer - A measurement used to denote the hardness of a
substance (usually of thermosetting and thermoplastic materials).
Eccentricity - A measure of the lack of coincidence of
longitudinal axes of a circular cross-sectional wire and its surrounding circular
cross-sectional insulation. It is expressed as the percentage ratio of the distance
between wire and insulation centers to the difference between wire and insulation radii.
Elastic Deformation - A change in a substance whereby it
reverts to its original dimensions on release of an applied stress.
Elastomer - A material that at room temperature returns rapidly
to approximately its initial dimensions and shape after substantial deformation by a weak
stress and release of the stress.
Elongation - The fractional increase in length of a material
stressed in tension.
Embossing - A means of marker identification by means of
thermal indentation leaving raised lettering on the sheath material of cable.
Environmental Stress Cracking Resistance -The ability of a
material to resist crack formation and crack propagation when subjected to stress within a
Equilay Conductor - (See Concentric-lay Conductor.)
Ethylene Propylene Rubber - A synthetic rubber insulation based
upon ethylene propylene hydrocarbon.
Extrusion - The process of continuously forcing either a
plastic or elastomer and a conductor or core through a die, thereby applying an insulation
or jacket to the conductor or core.
Fatigue Resistance - The ability of a repeatedly deformed
material to resist crystallization and accompanying failure.
Fault Current - The maximum electrical current that will flow
in a short-circuited system prior to the actuation of any current-limiting device. It is
far in excess of normal current flow and is limited only by a system's generating capacity
and a cable's impedence.
Fibrous Filler - A material used to fill interstices in cables
made from fibers, such as jute, polypropylene, cotton, glass, etc.
Filler - Any material used in multiconductor cables to occupy
interstices between insulated conductors or form a core into a desired shape (usually
circular). Also, any substance, often inert, added to a plastic or elastomer to improve
its properties or decrease its cost.
Film - Thin, plastic sheeting having nominal thickness usually
not greater than 0.010 inch.
Flame Resistance - The ability of a burning material to
extinguish its own flame, once its flame-initiating heat source is removed.
Flame Retardance - Ability of a material to prevent the spread
of combustion by a low rate of travel so the flame will not be conveyed.
Flexing Test - Any test to determine the ability of a cable to
withstand repeated bending and twisting.
Flex Life - The number of bends or twists, of specified type,
that a cable will withstand before failure.
Ground - A conducting connection, intentional or accidental,
between an electric circuit or equipment and the earth or some conducting body serving in
place of the earth.
Ground Potential - Zero potential with respect to the ground or
Grounded Neutral - A circuit operates with grounded neutral
when the neutral is metallically connected to ground and there is a provision for
immediate removal of a faulted element.
Grounding Conductor - A conductor used to connect equipment or
the grounded circuit of a wiring system to a grounding electrode or electrodes; usually
Hard-drawn Wire - As applied to aluminum and copper, wire that
has been cold drawn to final size so as to approach the maximum strength obtainable.
Heat Endurance - The time of heat aging that a material can
withstand before failing a specific physical or electrical test.
Heat Resistance - Ability of a substance to maintain physical
and chemical identity and chemical identity and electrical integrity under specified
Heat Shock - A test to determine stability of a material by
sudden exposure to a high temperature for a short period of time.
Helix - A spiral winding.
Hertz - (Abbrev. H) A term rapidly replacing cycles-per-second
as an indication of frequency.
High Voltage Time Test - A high-voltage time test is an
accelerated life test on a cable sample in which voltage is the factor increased.
Hygroscopic - Attracting or absorbing moisture from the ambient
Hypalon - Du Pont trademark for chlorosulfonated polyethylene
(CSPE) synthetic rubber.
ICEA - Insulated Cable Engineers Association (Formerly lPCEA).
An Association of Engineers of most cable manufacturers.
Irradiation - The exposure of a material to high energy
emissions. In insulations for the purpose of favorably altering the molecular structure.
Excessive exposure can be detrimental to the physical and electrical properties.
Jacket - A material covering over a wire insulation or an
assembly of components, usually an extruded plastic or elastomer.
Jumper - A short length of conductor used to make a connection
between terminals, around a break in a circuit, or around an instrument.
Lap Splice - A permanent joint formed in a short overlapping
region of two parallel conductors or tapes. Also called parallel splice.
Lay - The distance along a cable occupied by one complete helix
of a strand or conductor. The direction of lay (left or right hand) is the direction of
the helix looking away from an observer. Also to arrange the wires or members of a
conductor either by twisting them or by forming them into one or more layers helically
Length of Lay - The axial length of one turn of the helix of a
wire or member.
Marker Tape - A narrow strip of fabric, paper or plastic laid
longitudinally within a cable; it bears printed information such as the specification to
which the cable was made and the name of the cable's manufacturer.
Marker Threads - Colored strings laid parallel and adjacent to
the strands of an insulated conductor to reveal information such as the conductor's
manufacturer, the specification to which it was made, or its thermal capability.
Messenger Wire - A metallic supporting member either solid or
stranded which may also perform the function of a conductor.
Migration - The loss of plasticizer from a plastic, usually due
to heat or aging. It is undesirable since it will make the plastic hard and brittle. It is
also called leaching.
Mil - Unit of measure equal to 1/1000 of an inch.
Mining Cable - A flame retardant cable especially constructed
to withstand rough handling and exposure to moisture for underground use in the
environment of a mine or tunnel, or surface use where exposed to sunlight and extremes of
Moisture Absorption - The amount of water that an insulation or
jacket, which is initially dry, will absorb under specified conditions. It is expressed as
the percentage ration of the absorbed water's weight to the weight of the jacket or
NEMA Standards - Property values adopted as standard by the
National Electrical Manufacturers Association.
Neoprene - Trade name for polychloroprene, used for jacketing
Nitrile Rubber - A rubbery copolymer of butadiene and
acrylonitrile. It is usually compounded and vulcanized.
Nominal - Name or identifying value of a measurable property by
which a conductor or component or property of a conductor is identified, and to which
tolerances are applied.
Nordel - Du Pont trademark for EPDM synthetic rubber.
Oxygen Bomb Test - A test to determine the ability of
conductors and insulations to withstand physical and electrical change when immersed in
pure oxygen gas of specified temperature and pressure for a specified time.
Plastic - Any solid material employing organic matter of a high
molecular weight as a principal constituent, which can be shaped by heat and pressure
during manufacturing or processing into a finished article.
Plasticizer - A substance incorporated into a material to
increase its workability or flexibility.
Plating - Any thin metallic coating applied over a metallic
Polychloroprene - Chemical name for neoprene A rubber-like
compound used for jacketing where wire and cable will be subject to rough usage, moisture,
oil, greases, solvents and chemicals.
Polyester - A resin generally used as a thin film in tape form.
Polyethylene - A thermoplastic material composed of polymers of
Polymer - A material formed by the chemical combination of
monomers having either the same or different chemical composition.
Polypropylene - A thermoplastic polymer of propylene.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - A thermoplastic material composed of
polymers of vinyl chloride, which may be rigid or elastomeric, depending on specific
Pothead - An insulator used in making a sealed joint between an
underground cable and an overhead line.
Potting - Applying a hydrostatic seal and mechanical
reinforcement by means of a thermosetting liquid, which cures either at room temperature
or at a slightly elevated temperature.
Quad - A structural unit employed in cables, consisting of four
separately insulated conductors twisted together.
Resistance - Property of a conductor that opposed the current
flow produced by a given difference of potential. The ohm is the practical unit of
Rope-lay Conductor - (See Concentric-lay Conductor.)
Rubber - A material that is capable of recovering from large
deformations quickly and forcibly, and can be, or already is, modified to a state in which
it is essentially insoluble (but can swell) in boiling solvent.
Rupture - In the breaking strength or tensile strength tests
the point at which a material physically comes apart as opposed to yield strength,
Screen - (See Shield.)
Secondary Insulation - Any extremely high resistance material
which is placed over primary insulation to protect it from abrasion.
Semi-conductor - A solid material characterized by
comparatively high resistivities.
Serve - Any helical wrapping applied over a wire or cable core.
It may consist of wires, fibers, yarns or tapes.
Served Wire Shield - A barrier to the passage of interference
formed by a helical wrapping of wires over a cable core. It is also called spiral shield.
Sheath - The material, usually an extruded plastic or
elastomer, applied outermost to a wire or cable. Very often referred to as a jacket, or an
impervious metal covering usually lead.
Shield - Any barrier to the passage of interference - causing
electrostatic or electromagnetic fields, formed by a conductive layer surrounding a cable
core. It is usually fabricated from a metallic braid, foil or wire serving.
Shield Coverage - The amount of cable core surface area which
is covered by a shield. It is expressed as a percentage of the cable core's total surface
area. It is also called braid coverage when applied to a braided shield.
Shielding - The practice of confining the electrical field
around a conductor to the primary insulation of the cable by putting a conducting layer
over and/or under the insulation. (External shielding is a conducting layer on the outside
of the insulation. Strand or internal shielding is a conducting layer over the conductor
Skeleton Braid - A braid of widely separated wires or fibers,
used to reinforce a jacket, bind a cable core, or prevent the passage of electrostatic or
Soft Wire - Wire that has been drawn or rolled to final size
and then heated to remove the effects of cold working.
Spark Test - A test designed to locate pin-holes in an
insulated wire by application of an electrical potential across the material for a very
short period of time while the wire is drawn through an electrode field.
Specific Dielectric Strength - The dielectric strength per
millimeter of thickness of an insulating material.
Specific Gravity - The density (mass per unit volume) of any
material divided by that of water at a standard temperature.
Specific Inductance Capacitance - That property of a dielectric
material which determines how much electrostatic energy can be stored per unit volume when
unit voltage is applied.
Specific Resistance - The resistance of a unit conductor having
a length of one foot and across-sectional area of one circular mil.
Spiral Wrap - A term given to describe the helical wrap of a
tape or thread over a core.
Splice - A joint used for connecting two lengths of conductor
or cable with good mechanical strength as well as good conductivity.
Stabilizer - Any ingredient added to plastics to preserve their
physical and chemical properties.
Static - Electrical discharges in the atmosphere such as
lightning, corona, etc.
Strand - One of the wires of any stranded conductor.
Stranded Conductor - A conductor composed of a group of wires,
usually twisted, or of any combination of such groups of wires.
Strand Lay - The distance of advance of one strand of a
spirally stranded conductor, in one turn, measured axially.
Stress Cone - A conical section built up of insulating tapes or
a pennant to relieve the stress at the terminal end of the cable.
Tank Test - A voltage dielectric test where the specimen to be
tested is submerged in a liquid (usually water) and a voltage potential applied between
the conductor and the liquid as ground.
Tape Wrap - A term denoting a spirally or longitudinally
applied tape material wrapped around the wire, either insulated or uninsulated, used as an
insulation or mechanical barrier.
Tear Strength - The force required to initiate or continue a
rip in a jacket or other insulation under specified conditions.
Temperature Rating - The maximum temperature at which a given
insulation or jacket may be safely maintained during continuous use, without incurring any
Tensile Strength - The longitudinal stress required to break a
specimen of prescribed dimension divided by the original cross-sectional area at the point
of rupture (usually expressed in pounds per square inch).
Termination - 1). The load connected to the output end of a
transmission line. 2). The provisions for ending a transmission line and connecting to a
bus bar or other terminating device.
Thermal Conductivity - Ability of material to conduct heat.
Thermal Endurance - The time in hours at a selected temperature
for an insulating material or system of material or system of materials to deteriorate to
some predetermined level of electrical, mechanical, or chemical performance under
prescribed conditions of test.
Thermal Expansion (Coefficient of) - The fractional change in
length (sometimes volume) of a material for a unit change in temperature.
Thermal Rating - The maximum and/or minimum temperature at
which a material will perform its function without undue degradation.
Thermoplastic - A classification of resin that can be readily
softened and reformed by heating and be rehardened by cooling.
Thermoset - 1). To cure through chemical reaction by heat to a
point of not being resoftened by subsequent heating. 2). A resin which cures by chemical
Tinned Wire - Copper wire that has been coated during
manufacture with a layer of tin or solder to prevent corrosion or facilitate soldering.
Tolerance - A specified allowance for error from a standard or
given dimension, weight or property.
TPR - A trade name of Uniroyal Inc. for their thermoplastic
Triad - Any grouping of three conductors or three assemblages
of conductors, generally twisted together and found within a cable.
Triplex - Three single conductors twisted together, usually
three single conductor cables twisted without over-all covering. Do not use for three
conductors laid parallel on a reel.
Ultra Violet Degradation - The degradation caused by long time
exposure of a material to sunlight or other ultraviolet rays containing radiation.
Unidirectional Conductor - (See Concentriclay Conductor.)
Unilay Conductor - (See Concentric-lay Conductor.)
Volt - Unit of electromotive force. It is the difference of
potential required to make a current of one ampere flow through resistance of one ohm.
Voltage Drop - The voltage developed between the terminals of a
circuit component by the flow of current through the resistance or impedance of that part.
Voltage Rating - The maximum voltage at which a given cable or
insulated conductor may be safely maintained during continuous use in a normal manner. It
is also called working voltage.
Vulcanization - An irreversible process during which a rubber
compound through a change in its chemical structure (for example, cross-linking), becomes
less plastic and more resistant to swelling by organic liquids and elastic properties are
conferred, improved, or extended over a greater range of temperature.
Water Absorption - The ratio of the weight of water absorbed by
a given material under specified conditions, to the weight of that material when dry. It
is generally expressed as a percentage.
Wicking - The longitudinal flow of a liquid in a wire or cable
construction due to capillary action.
Wire Gage - Any of several standard systems for designating
wire sizes. As an example, see American Wire Gage.
Work Hardening - The increased stiffness and brittleness
accompanying plastic deformation of metal.
Yield Strength - The lowest stress at which a material undergoes plastic deformation. Below this stress, the material is elastic; above it, viscous.
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