Power Cable: What are the Elements Present in It

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Power is the need of today’s era, as now life depends on several electrical appliances. The power stations can transmit the electricity through overhead transmission systems or underground cables. Yet, you will need cables of different designs for every specific usage. For example, mining requires extra mechanical strength cables, whereas power plants need flexibility with U.V. protection. Thus, it would help if you manufactured them while keeping their application area in mind.  Now, let’s learn more about what a power cable is and what factors are essential while constructing it.

What is a Power Cable?

A power cable assembles single or more conducting wires that have individual insulation. The manufacturers take these wires and bind them together with an overall sheath. 

You may have observed its large bundles or reels since power companies use them to transmit and distribute electric power. These power distributors use these cables in many ways. For example, they may install it permanently in a building, run it underground to connect the facilities, or connect them to the electrical poles exposed to the outer environment. 

Moreover, flexible power cables are the first choice to power up portable devices such as mobiles, tabs, and small tools.

Caption: Power Cable Reel

Most electrical cables are flexible enough so that you can ship them on reels, drums, or hand coils to installation locations. Flexibility influences the minimum bending radius and hence the stranding class of the cable.

Construction of Power Cables 

While constructing a power cable, you have to keep these factors in mind:

  • The voltage of the application area that determines the insulation’s thickness
  • Current Carrying Capacity determines the AWG sizes or cross-sectional area of the conducting wire.
  • Conditions such as moisture, heat, sunlight, chemical exposure, and abrasions determine the construction of the outer cable jacket.

Thus, you can decide on the main components:

Conductor

Conductors allow the electric current to pass through the cable. Metallic cores of the cable come in different types. Copper and aluminum are popular since they offer stable Current Capacity. You can choose between Class 1 (solid), Class 2 (stranded), Class 5 (flexible), and Class 6 (Extra flexible).

Insulation

Above the conductor is the insulation layer made with PVC, XLPE, or rubber. You have to choose the insulation material based on the environmental factors of the application area. Moreover, it color-codes the wires so that you can differentiate between them.

Beading/ Inner Sheathing

Called inner sheathing, it works like a binder in multi-core cables. It brings the conducting wires together and gives the wire braided shield bedding. Mostly, it is made up of PVC or foil shields.

Armoring (as needed)

You can armor a cable with G.I. Wire or G.I. Steel strip. You will need to place the ribbon on the inner sheathing. Thus, the current gets an extra path to flow in an armored building cable without destroying the whole network.

Outer Sheath

The main reason for applying an outer sheath on electrical power cables is to protect them from moisture, chemicals, and cuts. Hence, the outer sheath strengthens the cable, not electrically but mechanically.

Power cables for permanent installation

As mentioned above, powered cables can be for permanent installation.

Direct burial cable

Direct-burying cable (DBC) is a type of electrical cable that you can bury under the surface without any extra wrap, sheathing, or pipes to secure it. Moreover, many DBC cables can survive certain heat, salinity, humidity, and conduction levels, but none can tolerate them.

For example, telecom and power cables only have a thin insulation layer and water-resistant cover. DBC, on the other hand, has multiple coatings of heavy sheathing, which is fixed by rubber covers, shock-absorbent gel, covered in water-resistant tape, and hard metalcore.

NM-B

In construction, NM-B, a non-metallic electrical cable, is utilized to connect a variety of gadgets and outlets. Household appliances are the most common places to find them. Switches, tile walls, and lights can also benefit from this technology. The NM-B electrical cable’s exterior PVC jacket is robust and does not require further protection. It is unnecessary to insulate the ground wire. Thus they wrap the fiber in the paper.

Aerial cable or pre-assembled aerial cable (PAC)

For an electrical network or telecommunications, most people use the aerial cable that is insulated and hanging between utility poles. You will not need extra shielding to protect aerial wires from electric shock since they already have an insulation layer. Thus, there is no need to put them on towers or poles. Another advantage is that they do not take up as much space as overhead lines.

As they are designed as shielded cables, you can use them for telecommunications Moreover, if the cable’s insulation is not broken, it may still function as it falls. Because pylons or poles are used to install aerial cables rather than excavating, they may be more cost-effective than underground cables.

Underground Cable installation 

Caption: Underground Cable installation 

Flexible power cables 

Further, power cables can be for portable devices.

Power cord

A power cord temporarily attaches an item to the main electricity supply through a wall PowerPoint or extension cable. The phrases are used for cables with a power plug that connects to a single-phase alternating current source. 

Moreover, lightweight, ungrounded, single-insulated two-wire lamp cords are applicable in minor loads such as table or floor lamps.

Cord sets are flexible cords with male and female electrical connections on each end, removable from both the power source and the electronic devices. Each end of a cable set has molded connections. It is so that no visible live pin might cause an electric current. The female connector connects to the appliance, and the male plug attaches to the electrical outlet.

Extension cable

An extension cord, or lead per the United Kingdom, is a power generation cable with a plug and sockets on the other end.

Mainly these refer to the main power extensions, although they may also apply to various forms of cable expansions. However, some places also use an “adapter cord” if the plug and power outlet are of different kinds. Most extension cords are two to thirty feet long, while they might be up to 300 feet long while manufacturing.

Extension Cable for different appliances

Caption: Extension Cable for different appliances

Different Standards of Flexible Power Cables 

There are many sockets, plugs, and cables that engineers worldwide utilize. However, finding a suitable fit for your cable network requires some rules. However, every country has its own set of standards for the power cables that are

International Standards IEC 60320: IEC 60320 deals with 250V appliances. According to the standard, some common connector couples are C14 to C13 and C14 to C13. Also, most countries follow these standards, although they have different types of cords.

North American, NEMA 5-15P (Type B): NEMA connectors are a standard in North America and surrounding countries. As per rating, they range from 15A to 250V, yet they carry 110V. Moreover, the NEMA 5-15P plug is a widely used socket with three-wire circuits; hot, neutral, and ground.

Europe, CEE 7/7 (Type E, Type F): It is the standard that most European countries use. However, it is not valid in Denmark, Malta, Ireland, Cyprus, and Switzerland.

Other Standard: Here is the list of some countries which define their specific standards.

Power plug Black

Caption: Power plug Black

Conclusion

Power Cables distribute and transmit the power from one point to another. While manufacturing these cables, you must consider the factors to perform. Thus, the material will be different for different kinds of power cables. Here at Gloom, we offer other wiring harnesses and cable assemblies. Your connection is made with attention to detail.

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