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Glossary of Terms


Abrasion Resistance: Ability of material or cable to resist surface wear.

ABS: Abbreviation for American Bureau of Shipping.

Alternating Current: An electric current that continually reverses its direction giving a definite plus and minus wave form at fixed intervals.

Armor: Mechanical protection usually accomplished by a metallic layer of tape, braid or galvanized steel wires.

Armored Cable: A cable provided with a wrapping of metal, usually steel wires, flat tapes, or interlocked tapes, primarily for the purpose of mechanical protection.

ASTM: Abbreviation for American Society for Testing and Materials.

Attenuation: The power drop or signal loss in a circuit, expressed in decibels (DB).

Generally attenuation increases (signal level decreases) with both frequency and cable length.

AWG: Abbreviation for American Wire Gauge. A standard measurement used for the size of a conductor.



B&S Gauge: Brown and Sharp wire gauge used for copper conductor (same as American Wire Gauge).

Binder: A helically applied tape used for holding assembled cable components in place.

Braid: A metallic group of wires interwoven to form a covering.

BV: Abbreviation for Bureau Veritas.



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 desired shape.

Capacitance (Capacity): That property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors.

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: A synthetic rubber jacketing compound.(CPE)

Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene (CSP): A synthetic rubber jacketing compound manufactured by Du Pont under trade name of Hypalon.

Circular Mil: A unit of area of a circle whose diameter is 1 mil (0.001 inch). Used chiefly in specifying cross sectional areas of round conductors.

Conductor: A wire or combination of wires not insulated from one another, suitable for carrying an electric current.

Conductor Core: The centre strand or member about which one of more layers of wires or members are laid helically to form a concentric-lay or rope-lay conductor.

Corona: A luminous discharge due to ionization of the gas surrounding a conductor around which exists a voltage gradient exceeding a certain critical value

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-Linked: Setting up the chemical links between the molecule chains. A form of polyethylene material whose molecules are more closely linked to produce a greater balance of physical and electrical properties (XLPE-compound)

Cross Sectional Area of a Conductor: The sum of cross sectional areas of all the individual wires composing the conductor.

Crosstalk: Interference caused by audio frequencies. Undesired electrical currents in conductors caused by electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling from other conductors or from external sources. Also, leakage of optical power from one optical conductor to another.

CSA: Abbreviation for Canadian Standards Association.

Current Rating: The maximum continuous electrical flow of current recommended by a given wire in a given situation, expressed in amperes.

CV (Continuous Vulcanization): Simultaneous extrusion and vulcanization of wire coating materials.



D.C.: Abbreviation for direct current (d-c), Electricity that flows in one direction only.

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 established.

Dielectric Constant: That property (K) of an insulating material which is the ratio of the parallel capacitance (C) of a given configuration of electrode with the material as the dielectric, to the capacitance of the same electrode configuration with a vacuum as the dielectric.

DNV: Abbreviation for Det Norske Veritas

Drain Wire: An un-insulated wire usually placed directly beneath and in electrical contact with a grounded shield, which is used for making ground connections.



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 jacket material of cable.

EMC: Electromagnetic Compatibility

EPR: Ethylene-propylene copolymer rubber. The copolymer is chemically cross-linked.

E-Rubber: Registered Proprietary Elastomeric Rubber compound



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 excess of normal current flow and is limited only by a system’s generating capacity and the cables’ impedance.

Filler: Any material used in multi-conductor 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.

Flame Resistance: The ability of 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 flame will not be conveyed



Gauge: A term used to denote the physical size of the wire.

GL: Abbreviation for Germanischer Lloyd

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.

Grounding Conductor: A conductor used to connect equipment or grounded circuit of a wiring system to a grounding electrode or electrodes; usually colored green.



Halogen: Group of very toxic, strong oxidizing and very chemically reactive elements

Hard-drawn Wire: Solid wire that has been cold drawn to its final size. Often stiff and inflexible.

Heat Shock: A test to determine stability of a material by sudden exposure to a high temperature for a short period of time.

Hypalon: Du Pont’s trade name for their chlorosulfonated polyethylene, an ozone resistant synthetic rubber (90 degrees Celsius)

Hygroscopic: Attracting or absorbing moisture.

Hz: Abbreviation for Hertz.



IEC: European Standardization agency; International Electrotechnical Commission.

IEEE: Abbreviation for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Impedance: Resistance to flow of an alternating current at a particular frequency, expressed in ohms. It is a combination of resistance R and reactance X, measured in ohms.

Inductance: An influence exerted by a charged body or by a magnetic field on adjacent bodies without apparent communication.



Jacket: An overall covering of a cable, called also sheath-which protects against the environment and stress.



KV: Abbreviation for kilovolt=1000volts

KVA: Abbreviation for kilovolt ampere=1000volts x amperes.

KW: Abbreviation for kilowatt=1000watt.



Laminated Tape: A tape consisting of two or more layers of materials bonded together.

Loop resistance: The total resistance of two conductors in closed circuit, measured round trip from one end.

LR: Abbreviation for Lloyds Register of Shipping.

LSFLEX: Registered Proprietary cross-linked LSZH compounds.

LSZH: Abbreviation for Low Smoke Zero Halogen.



MCM: Cross section of greater AWG-sizes, 1 MCM=1000 circular mils=0.5067mm2

Mutual Capacitance: Capacitance between two conductors when all other conductors are connected together to shield and ground.

Mylar: Du Pont trademark for polyester material.



Neoprene: A synthetic rubber of thermosetting material with good resistance to oil, chemical, and flame, known as polychloroprene-mostly used as jacketing

Nylon: A group of polyamide polymers, used for wire and cable jacketings with good chemical and abrasion resistance.

Nitrile Rubber: A rubbery copolymer of butadiene and acrylonitrile.



Ohm: The electrical unit of resistance. The value of resistance through which a potential difference of one volt will maintain a current of one ampere.



Pair: Two insulated wires twisted together in a certain lay-length to build a single circuit of transmission line.

Polychloroprene: Chemical name of neoprene. A rubber like compound for jacketing and also for insulating where cables are subject to rough usage, oils, moisture, solvents, greases and chemicals.

Polyethylene (PE): This material is basically pure hydrocarbon resins with excellent dielectric properties, ie. Low dielectric constant, low dielectric loss across the frequency spectrum, mechanically rugged and resists abrasion and cold flow. The insulating material derived from polymerization of ethylene gas.

Polyolefin: A group of thermoplastics based upon the unsaturated hydrocarbons, known as olefins. When combined with butylene or styrene polymers, the form compounds such as polyethylene and polypropylene.

Polypropylene (PP): A thermoplastic similar to polyethylene but stiffer and having higher softening point (temperature) excellent electrical properties.

Polyurethane (PUR): Class of polymers known for good abrasion and solvent resistance.

A copolymer of urethane is similar in properties to neoprene, usually used as a coldcuring moulding compound.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): This is a group of thermoplastic compounds composed of polymers of polyvinyl chloride or its polymer, vinylacetate, in combination with certain stabilizers, fillers, plasticizers, pigments etc. widely used for wire and cable insulations and several jackets.

Polyester: A resin generally used as a thin film of tape form.

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 an electric circuit which determines for a given current the rate at which electric energy is converted into heat and has a value, is measured by ohms.



Separator: A layer of insulating material which is placed between a conductor and its dielectric, between a cable jacket and the component it covers, or between various components of a multiple-conductor cable.

Spark test: A test designed to locate pinholes 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.

Semi-conductor: A solid material characterized by comparatively high resistivities.

Sheath: The material, usually an extruded plastic or elastomer, applied outermost to a wire or cable. Very often referred to as a jacket, or a impervious metal covering usually lead.

Shield: Any barrier to the passage of interference-causing electromagnetic fields, formed by a conductive layer surrounding a cable core. It is usually fabricated from a metallic braid, foil or wire serving.

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 itself)

Specific Gravity: The density (mass per unit volume) of any material.

Stranded Conductor: A conductor composed of a group of wires, usually twisted, or of any combination of such groups of wires.



Teflon: Du Pont Company trade name for flurocarbon resins. FEP. PFA and TFE are typical materials.

Tefzel: Du Pont trade name for a flurocarbon material typically used a wire wrap insulation.

Temperature Rating: The maximum temperature at which an insulating material may be used in continuous operation without loss of its basic properties.

Twisted Pair: A cable composed of two small insulated conductors twisted together without common covering.

Tensile strength: The longitudinal stress required a break a specimen of prescribed dimension divided by the original cross sectional area at the point of rupture.

Thermoset: To cure through chemical reaction by heat to a point of not being re-softened by subsequent heating. A resin which cures by chemical reaction.

Tinned Wire: Copper wire that has been coated during manufacture with a layer of tin or solder to prevent corrosion or facilitate soldering.

Triad: Any grouping of three conductors or three assemblages of conductors generally twisted together and found within a cable.



UL: Abbreviation for Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.

USCG: Abbreviation for United States Coast Guard



Voltage Drop: The amount of voltage loss from original input to point of electrical device.

Voltage Rating: The highest voltage that may be continuously applied to a wire in conformance with standards.

Vulcanization: A irreversible process during which a rubber compound through a change in its chemical structure (for example, cross-linking, become less plastic and more resistant to swelling by organic liquids and elastic properties are conferred, improved, or extended, or extended over a greater range of temperature.



Wall Thickness: The thickness of the applied insulation or jacket/sheath.



XLPE: Cross linked polyethylene.