PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) is a synthetic plastic material which is the most common material used for cable insulation and outer jacket. It’s widely used for both control and low voltage power cables.
PVC cables are available in various temperature ratings including V-75 (75°C), V-90 (90°C) and V-90HT. The higher ratings can continually withstand higher temperatures, but only in certain conditions where they are mechanically protected. PVC tends to soften at high temperatures which can increase the risk of mechanical damage and subsequent safety hazards. In the case of a fire, PVC emits toxic fumes and smoke which can become very hazardous to persons in a confined space.
LSF denotes Low Smoke and Fume – a special type of PVC cable insulation which is designed to emit much less noxious fumes and smoke in the case of a fire or high temperature situation. It’s often used in public areas and confined spaces such as underground railway stations, where the potential likelihood of toxic fume inhalation is higher.
XLPE is an abbreviation for Cross(X)-Linked PolyEthylene – a polymeric insulation material primarily used in power cables. It offers a higher temperature rating than PVC – typically 90°C – but doesn’t soften like PVC at these temperatures, so is much safer and capable of carrying higher currents.
SDI stands for Single Double Insulated. It’s simply a single conductor with two separate layers of insulation for additional protection.
SWA stands for Steel Wire Armoured – power cable with an additional layer of steel or aluminium material to offer additional mechanical protection. It’s mechanically very tough and can be buried directly underground or used in applications where severe mechanical stress is present.
Other name you may met, DSTA stands for double of steel tape armored; CTS stands for copper tape screen; LSZH/LSOH stands for low smoke zero halogen. Keep one eye on those you are not familiar with and collect them altogether for use on rainy days.
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