West Penn Wire Blog

3 Things that Make Cables Flexible

Posted by Samantha Flannery on Jan 21, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Certain AV Installations require flexible cables, especially in stage applications. Having cable flexibility also ensures that the cable can withstand to transit, coil up and pack away and redeploy when necessary.. Flexibility also ensures that the cable can withstand repeated pulling, flexing, and bending.

Read below to learn more about the three factors that can impact a cable’s flexibility

 

Shielding

Shielding on a cable should provide 100% coverage. Foil shields can offer this but they also can crack unfold when flexed which causes gaps or lost continuity when the foil breaks.

Braids offer a flexible resolution and are represented as a percentage. By nature, braided shields have small gaps so it’s impossible to have 100% coverage. However, increase coverage is obtainable if using a cable with multiple layers of braids to reach up to 98% coverage.

Cables are available with a combination of foil and braided designs. This can be a good choice if you want to take advantage of the coverage of a foil while having the flexibility of a braid.

Conductors

Conductors in a flexible cable are usually stranded, and the more strands in the cable, the greater the flexibility.

Cable specifications sheets will show the number of strands used. However, more strands can lead to increased costs and production times. Also, stranding can impact the electrical properties of a cable so it’s important to compare spec sheets to compared performance against the project’s requirements. Lower-gauge conductors have less insertion than higher-gauge conductors, so stranded cables exhibit more attenuation than solid copper conductors.

Compounds

Some compounds used in cable construction for insulation and jacketing offer more flexibility than others. However, rubbery-type compounds can come with some downsides. These jackets tend to have burn ratings, and they don’t pass the safety ratings. Therefore, if you are running them in a build they need to be checked against the local fire code for requirements. Also, the rubber material resists sliding which can create issues

Flexible cables require special connectors as well. Make sure the connectors being used are designed for stranded conductors. Also, choose a more robust design that can be installed and uninstalled repeatedly.


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Topics: Low Voltage Cables, shielded cable, Solid Cable

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