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An Overview of Insulating Materials Supporting Industrial Cable Assemblies

February 22, 2016

An Overview of Insulating Materials Supporting Industrial Cable Assemblies

Industrial cable assemblies are ought to operate under high stress conditions, containing elevated temperatures, dust, moisture content, harsh chemicals and solvents. To withstand all these unfavorable industrial conditions, individual cables must be insulated in an assembly. A good insulation not only protects cable assemblies from the harshest environments, but also enhances their service life.

This blog is meant to familiarize you with the commonly used insulation materials in industrial cable assemblies.

Thermosetting and Thermoplastic Insulation Materials

Cable assembly insulating materials are broadly categorized as thermosetting and thermoplastic. Let us understand the types of insulations under these categories.

  • Thermosetting Insulating Materials – Thermosetting insulating materials are generally chosen for high temperature applications. The material features good coefficient of friction, excellent color-ability, and good cold temperature compatibility.

The following listed are the commonly used thermosetting insulation materials in the manufacture cable assemblies.

  • Styrene-Butadiene Synthetic Rubber (SBR)
  • Butyl Synthetic Rubber
  • Cross-Linked Polyethylene Insulation
  • Ethylene-Propylene Rubber (EPR)
  • Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene Rubber (FEP)
  • Neoprene Synthetic Rubber
  • Thermoplastic Insulating Materials – The material melts when exposed to extreme heat. This allows them to be remolded repeatedly, that is not the case with thermosetting materials. Compared to thermosetting materials, thermoplastics possess better electrical properties. Also, they are light weight, easy to work with, and economical. The commonly used thermoplastic materials used in the manufacturer of industrial cable assemblies are:
  • Thermoplastic Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Thermoplastic Polyethylene (PE)

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Insulating Materials

Choosing the right insulating material is essential to enhance the overall reliability, functionality and service life of the final assembly. Several performance factors must be considered when choosing the right insulating materials. These include:

  • Dielectric constant
  • Insulation power factor
  • Insulation resistance
  • Ozone resistance
  • Toughness and flexibility
  • Tensile, compressive, and impact strengths
  • Resistance to abrasion and moisture
  • Expansion and contraction
  • Compatibility with ambient, operating, emergency overload
  • Stability of materials on exposure to oils, acids, and alkalis

Choose the best insulation material that is qualified in terms of performance, durability, compatibility with the application area, and also budget. Always remember that good insulation adds to the reliability and safety of your cable assemblies.

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