It’s easy to take electrical cables for granted. The lights turn on when you push a button. But what are the different types of electrical cables, and what do they do?
Conductor, dielectric, and sheath are the three basic components of a power cable. The conductor provides a path for current to flow through the cable. The insulation or dielectric resists the service voltage while also isolating the live conductor from surrounding things.
The coating prevents moisture from entering the cables and protects them from all external impacts such as chemical and electrochemical attacks, as well as fire.
This blog post will introduce you to the basics of electrical cables and explain the different types you might see in your home or office.
Purpose of electrical cables
The function of an electric wire is to carry electrical energy from one location to another. Cables can configure in a variety of ways depending on their intended use, always adhering to relevant standards.
A volt is the unit of measurement for an electric cable, and it is used to classify them into one or other groups:
- Low-voltage cables (up to 750 V) are common in a wide range of applications and are available with both thermoplastic and thermoset coatings. They are developed and constructed to standardized specifications.
- Low-voltage line (up to 1,000 V) cables in this section are useful in a variety of industrial power. Particularly, they’re built to international specifications.
- The voltage of medium-voltage cables ranges from 1 to 36 kV. Power stations deliver electricity to transformer stations that need them.
- High-voltage wires, starting at 36 kV. They transfer electricity from power plants to substations.
Types of electrical cables
Electrical power cables can bury in the ground, run overhead, or be uncovered as permanent wiring within structures. For instance, portable electronics, mobile tools, and machines all need flexible power cords.
Following are some of the basic types of electrical cables:
Low voltage cables
Electrical panel cables
Electric cabinet wiring using flexible cables. These electrical cables are ideal for household use, public construction, and interior wiring of electrical cabinets, control boxes, and small electrical equipment.
Power cables are commonly used in applications for power transfer in low voltage connections, industrial applications, and variable frequency drives (VFD).
Cables with armor
Cables with steel or aluminum reinforcing for mechanically aggressive applications. Armored cables are also commonly visible in areas where rodents are prevalent, as well as in installations in areas where there is a risk of fire or explosion (ATEX).
Rubber cables are available in both stationary and mobile industrial systems. However, a rubber coating on welding wires enables high current transmission between the welding machine and the electrode.
Cables without halogens
High-level security Halogen-free (LSZH) cables with low smoke and corrosive gas emissions in the event of a fire are suitable for use in wiring of electrical panels and public places, as well as facilities of all kinds in public places, independent derivations, case of emergencies circuits, public distribution networks, and mobile service.
These cables are specially intended to transport electrical energy in the harsh events that exist during a lengthy fire, ensuring supply to emergency equipment like lights, smoke exhaust fans, acoustic sirens, and water pumps, among other things. It is suggested to use them in rescue circuits in public locations.
Cables for control
Control cables for wireless mobile installations should be extremely flexible, as they are primarily for small home appliances, the interconnection of production machine parts, sending signals, and control systems.
In addition, the connection of motors or frequency converters and signal transmission can cause an external electromagnetic field, thereby, affecting the transmitted signal.
Cables for instruments
These are flexible and insulated cables used in industrial facilities to transmit communications between equipment. Particularly well-suited to optimum data transmission in high-EMI settings.
These cables are ideal for connecting solar panels as well as connecting the boards to the DC to AC inverter. They may be installed outside with complete confidence due to the design of their components and their cover, which is exceptionally resistant to solar radiation and severe temperatures.
Electric cables are most useful in a variety of applications. Including temporary light garland installations at trade shows, and connections for overhead cranes, hoists, and lifts.
Application is in underground pumps and drinking water areas such as aquariums, chlorination, drinking water fountains, or lighting, purifying, and cleaning systems in swimming pools.
Medium voltage cables
They are cables that are suitable for energy transfer and distribution in Medium Voltage networks.
Medium Voltage cable with HEPR insulation, halogen-free and flame- and/or fire-resistant. Therefore, they are ideal for energy distribution and transportation in Medium Voltage networks.
According to American standards, MV-90 Medium Voltage cable with XLPE insulation. In Medium Voltage networks, for energy transfer and distribution.
Medium voltage copper and aluminum wire for particular applications. Particularly suggested for installations where the presence of oils and chemical agents of the hydrocarbon type, or their derivatives, poses a risk.
Electric conductor types
- A bare wire conductor is a single solid-state wire that is not flexible or coated.
- Aluminum electrical conductors are also useful in some circumstances, even though aluminum is a 60 percent inferior conductor to copper.
- Copper electrical conductors are the most useful.
- A flexible copper wire conductor is a group of thin wires that are inside an insulating substance. They are malleable and adaptable.
- There is only one conductor in a single-core wire
- A cable with multiple conductors is a multi-core cable.
To conclude, overhead transmission systems or underground wires can both transmit and distribute electricity. Cable design mostly depends on the customer’s specific needs.
However, their design and manufacturing depend on the customer’s specifications for voltage, operating maximum temperature, and application purposes.
Voltage drop and short rating are also essential considerations for choosing the most cost-effective and efficient conductor size. The maximum permitted temperature rise determines the safe current carrying capacity of an underground cable.
Perhaps, choose your electrical cable manufacturers wisely if you plan for any such actions. An authentic manufacturer has adequate knowledge and they can provide safe and secure installations.