Abrasion Resistance - Ability of a wire, cable or

Abrasion Resistance - Ability of a wire, cable or
Abrasion Resistance - Ability of a wire, cable or material to resist surface wear.
AB Switch – a coaxial cable switch capable of switching one cable to one of two branch cable, A or B
AC – 1) alternating current, 2) a UL cable type with flexible metal tape armor
ACAR – aluminum conductor, aluminum-reinforced cable
Accelerated Life Test - An accelerated life test is a test in which certain factors such as voltage,
temperature, etc. to which a cable is subjected are increased in magnitude above normal operating
values to obtain observable deterioration in a reasonable period of time and thereby afford some measure
of the probable cable life under operating voltage, temperature, etc.
Accelerator - A chemical additive which hastens a chemical reaction under specific conditions. A.C.
Resistance - The total resistance offered by a device in an alternating resistance
ACCR – aluminum conductor, composite reinforced aerial cable. Contains ceramic strength member to
reduce sag at high temperatures (up to 210°C)
ACSR – aluminum conductor, steel reinforced. A bare composite of aluminum and steel wires, usually
aluminum around steel
Acceptance Testing – after installation and before the cable is placed in regular service the specified test
voltage is applied for 15 consecutive minutes
Activator - A chemical additive used to initiate the chemical reaction in a specific current circuit due to
inductive and capacitive effects, as well as the direct current chemical mixture.
Active Current - In an alternating current, a component in phase with the voltage; the working component
as distinguished from the idle or wattles component.
Active Pressure - In an A.C. circuit, the pressure which produces a current, as distinguished from the
voltage impressed upon the circuit.
Address – the location of a terminal, a peripheral device, a node, or any other unit or component in a
network, or process control system
Adhesive-bonded – cables bonded by adding an adhesive coating to the surface of the cable
components, then joining and curing the adhesive to form a cable. See Bonded Cables.
Admittance - The measure of the ease with which an alternating current flows in a circuit. The reciprocal
of impedance.
Adhesion - The state in which two surfaces are held together by interfacial forces which may be chemical
or mechanical in nature.
Aerial Cable – a cable suspended in the air on poles or other overhead structure
AF – audio frequency
AFCI – Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter; A protective device that detects arcing and then turns the circuit off.
AGC – Automatic Gain Control
Aging - The irreversible change in properties or appearance of a material with time and under specific
conditions (usually accelerated representations of environmental states, such as high temperature,
oxygen or other carious conditions).
AIA – Aluminum Interlocked Armor; a type of cable sheath
Air Core Cable – a cable in which the interstices in the cable are not filled with a moisture barrier
Aircraft Wire – an electrical wire primarily designed for the extreme conditions (temp, altitude, solvents,
fuels, etc) of airborne equipment
Alloy - A metal formed by combining two or more different metals to obtain desirable properties.
ALS – a type of cable consisting of insulated conductors enclosed in a continuous, closely fitting
aluminum tube
Alternating Current (AC) - Electric current that continually reverses its direction; it is expressed in cycles
per second (hertz or Hz).
Alternating Voltage - The voltage developed across a resistance or impedance through which alternating
current is flowing.
Ambient Temperature - Any all encompassing temperature within a given area.
Ampacity - The maximum current an insulated wire or cable can safely carry without exceeding either the
insulation or jacket material limitations (Same as Current Carrying Ampacity).
Ampere - The unit of current. One ampere is the current flowing through one ohm of resistance at one volt
Ampere's Law - The magnetic intensity at any point near a current carrying conductor can be computed
on the assumption that each infinitesimal length of the conductor produces at the point of an infinitesimal
magnetic density. The resulting magnetic intensity at the point is the vector sum of the contributions of all
the elements of the conductor.
Amplifier – a device used to boost the strength of an electronic signal
Amplitude – the maximum value of a varying wave form
Anneal - Relief of mechanical stress through heat and gradual cooling Annealing copper renders it less
Annular Conductor - A number of wires stranded in three reversed concentric layers around a core.
Annunciator Wire – usually single solid copper, sometimes twisted pair or triplexed for open wiring of bell
circuits and other low-voltage systems
Anode - The electrode through which a direct current enters the liquid gas or other discrete part of an
electrical circuit the positively charged pole of an electrochemical cell.
ANSI - The American National Standards Institute
Antenna Lead-in Wire - (not coaxial) parallel twin lead construction, plastic jacketed with fixed 300 ohm
impedance for connecting a remote antenna to a receiver
Antenna Rotor Cable – multiconductor flat or round cable used to supply power to a motorized antenna
and control wires for changing direction of rotation
Anti-Oxidant - A substance which prevents or slows down oxygen decomposition (oxidation) or a material
exposed to air.
Anti Ozonant - A substance which prevents or slows down material degeneration due to ozone reaction.
Arc - 1.) A Luminous glow formed by the flow of electric current through ionized air, gas or vapor between
separated electrodes or contacts. 2) A portion of the circumference of a circle.
Arc Over Voltage - The minimum voltage required to create an arc between electrodes separated by gas
or liquid insulation under specified conditions.
Area of conductor - The size of a conductor cross-section, measured in circular mils square inches, etc.
Armor - A braid or wrapping of metal, usually steel, used for mechanical protection. Generally placed over
the other sheath.
ASA - The American Standards Association.
ASME - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
ASP - Aluminum Steel Polyethylene. Provides mechanical and electrical protection.
ASTM - The American Society for Testing and Materials.
Attenuation - Power loss in an electrical system. In cables, generally expressed on DT per unit length,
usually 1000ft.
Audio Frequency - Frequencies within the range of human hearing (approximately 20 Hz to 20 kHz).
AWG - American Wire Gage. A wire diameter specification. The smaller the AWG
number, the larger the wire diameter.
Balanced Circuit - A circuit so arranged that the impressed voltages on each conductor of the pair are
equal in magnitude but opposite in polarity with respect to ground.
Balanced Line – a cable having two identical conductors with the same electromagnetic characteristics in
relation to other conductors and to ground
Balium - A device for matching an unbalanced coaxial transmission line to a balanced two-view system.
Band Marking - A continuous circumferential band applied to a conductor at regular intervals for
Band Width - The difference between the upper and lower limits of a given band of frequencies. It is
expressed in hertz. The range of frequencies that a transmitted communications signal occupies or that a
receiving system can accept. For example, it takes more bandwidth to download a photograph in a
second than to download a page of text. Virtual reality and three-dimensional audio/visual presentations
require even more.
Bare Conductor - A conductor having no covering. A conductor with no coating or insulation on the
Baseband – a signaling technique in which the signal is transmitted in its original form and not changed
by modulation
Basket-weave Armor – constructed of metal wires forming a braided outer covering
Beldfoil – Belden trademark for a highly effective electrostatic shield using reinforced metallic foil
Belt – layer of insulation on a conductor or layers, or layers of jacket on a cable
Belted-type Cable – multiple conductor cable having a layer of insulation over the assembled insulated
Binder - A tape or thread used for holding assembled cable components in place.
Blown jacket - Outer cable covering applied by controlled inflation of the cured jacket
tube then pilling the cable through it.
BNC connectors – most common miniature cable, easy connection/disconnection offered by their bayonet
Bond - An attachment at and interface between an adhesive and an adherent or between materials
attached together.
Bond Strength - Amount of adhesion between surfaces, e.g., in bonded ribbon cable.
Booster - An amplifier inserted into a cable to increase the signal amplitude in order to compensate for
signal loss due to attenuation. This extends the transmission range of the cable. Transformers may be
employed to boost ac voltages. The term booster is also applied to amplifiers used in television receiving
antenna systems.
Boot - A protective covering over any portion of a cable or conductor in additions to its jacket or
Braid - A group of textile or metallic filaments interwoven to form a tubular flexible structure which may be
applied over one or more wires, or flattened to form a strap.
Braid Angle - The angle between a strand of wire in a braid shield and the longitudinal axis (i.e. axis along
the length of the center) of the cable it is wound around.
Braid Carrier - A spool or bobbin on a braider which holds on group or strands or filaments consisting of a
specific number of ends. The carrier revolves during braiding operations.
Brand Ends - The number of strands used to make up one carrier. The strands are wound side by side on
the carrier bobbin and lie parallel in the finished braid.
Branch Joint – a cable joint used for connecting one or more cables to a main cable
Brazing - The joining of ends of two wires, rods or groups of wires with a nonferrous filler metal at
temperature above 800F (427C).
Breakdown - A disruptive discharge though the insulation.
Breakdown of Insulation - Failure of an insulation resulting in a flow if current through the insulation. It
may be caused by the application of too high voltage or by defects or decay.
Breakdown Voltage - The voltage at which the insulation between two conductors will fail and allow
electricity to conduct or 'arc'.
Breakout - The point at which a conductor or conductors are separated from a multiconductor cable to
complete circuits at various points along the main cable.
Buffer Tube – a loose, crush-resistant polymer tube applied over optical fibers to provide mechanical
Building Wire - ire used for light power 600 Volts or less, usually not exposed to outdoor environment.
Bunch Stranding - Conductors twisted together with the same lay and direction without regard to
geometric pattern.
Bundle (fiber optic) - A number of fibers grouped together, usually carrying a common signal.
Buried Cable - A cable installed directly in the earth without use of underground conduit. Also called
"direct buried cable".
Bus - Wire used to connect two terminals inside of and electrical unit.
Butt - joining of two conductors end to end, with no overlap and with the axes in line.
Butt Splice - A splice wherein two wires from the opposite ends butt against each other, or against a stop,
in the center of a splice.
Butt Wrap - Tape wrapped around an object or conductor in an edge-to-edge condition.
Cable - A group of individually insulated conductors or subcomponents twisted helically.
Cable Assembly - A completed cable and its associated hardware ready to install.
Cable, Belted – a multiconductor cable having a layer of insulation over the assembled insulated
Cable Clamp – a device used to give mechanical support to the wire bundle or cable to the rear of a plug
or receptacle
Cable Core – the portion of an insulated cable lying under a protective covering
Cable Core Binder – a wrapping of tapes or cords around the conductors of a multiple-conductor cable
used to hold them together
Cable Filter (Filler) - The material used in multiple conductor cable to occupy the spaced forced by the
assembly of components, thus forming a core of the desired shape (normally cylindrical).
Cable Joint – a complete insulated splice, or group of insulated splices, contained within a single
protective covering or housing, in some designs, the insulating material may also serve as the protective
Cable Sheath – the protective covering applied to cables
Cable Support – a device to mount a cable on a supporting member
Cabling - The grouping or twisting together of two or more insulated conductors or subcomponents to
form a cable.
Cabling Factor - Used in the formula for calculating the diameter of and unshielded, unjacketed cable. DKd, where D is the cable diameter, K is the factor and d is the diameter of one insulated conductor.
Caged Armor - A construction using wires within a jacket to increase mechanical protection and tensile
strength. This construction is sometimes used in submarine cables.
Capacitance - Storage of electrically separated charges between two plates having different potentials.
The value depends largely on the surface area of the plates and the distance between them.
Capacitance Coupling – electrical interaction between two conductors caused by the potential difference
between them
Capacitance Direct - The capacitance measured directly from conductor to conductor through a single
insulating layer.
Capacitance Mutual - The capacitance between two conductors with all other conductors including shield,
sort circuited to ground.
Capacitance, Unbalanced to ground - An inequality of capacitance between the wires of two or more pairs
which result in a transfer of unwanted signal from one pair to others.
Capacitor – two conducting surfaces separated by a dialect material; the capacitance is determined by
the area of the surface, type of dielectric and spacing between the conducting surfaces
Carrier - The basic woven grouping of a braided shield consisting of one or several parallel ends.
Cathode - Negative pole of an electric source.
Cathodic Protection -The control of the electrolytic corrosion of an underground or underwater metallic
structure by the application of an electric current through a sacrificial anode in such a way that the
structure is made to act as a cathode of an electrolytic cell.
CATV Cable – general term for all cable used for community antenna TV service and feeders, distribution
and house drops
Cellular Polyethylene - Expanded or "foam" polyethylene consisting of individual closed cells suspended
in a polyethylene medium.
Center to Center - Distance See Pitch
Certificate of Compliance (C of C) - A certificate which shows that the product being shipped meets
customer's specifications.
Certified Test Report (CTR) - A report providing actual test data on a cable. Tests are normally run by a
Quality Control Department, which shows that the product being shipped conforms to test specifications.
Characteristic Impedance - The impedance that, when connected to the output terminals of a
transmission line of any length, makes the line appear infinitely long. The ratio of voltage to current at
every point along a transmission line on which there are no stranding waves.
Charge - The quantity of electricity held statically in a condenser or on an insulated conductor.
Charging Current -The current produced when a DC voltage is first applied to conductors of an unterminated cable. It is caused by the capacitive reactance of the cable, and decreases exponentially with
Charging Time - The time required for the voltage between two conductors of a cable to acquire a value
equal to 98.2% of the magnitude of an instantaneously applied DC voltage change.
Chemical Stripping – removal of insulation by chemical means
Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene (CSPE) - A rubbery polymer made by treating polyethylene with chlorine
and sulfur dioxide It is suitable compounded and cross linked for application as jacket or as insulation
Manufactured by E.I. DuPont under trade name of Hypalon.
Circuit -The complete path through which a current flows or part of the complete path such as one
Circuit Sizes - A popular term for building wire sizes 14 through 10 AWG.
Circular Mil - The area of a circle one mil (.001") in diameter, 7.546 x 10-7 sq. in. Used in expressing wire
cross sectional area.
Cladding - A method of applying a layer of metal over another metal whereby the junction of the two
metals in continuously welded.
Coat - To cover with a continuous layer of compound (such as varnish) for purposed of
fishing, protection, or enclosing. Usually comprises variable depending on the nature of the substance
degrees of impregnation.
Coating - A material applied to the surface of a conductor to prevent environmental deterioration, facilitate
soldering or improve electrical performance.
Coaxial Cable - A cable consisting of two cylindrical conductors with a common axis, separated by
Cold Flow - Permanent deformation of the insulation due to mechanical force or pressure (not due to heat
Cold Test - any test to determine the performance of cables during or after subjection to a specified low
temperature for a specified time.
Color Test / Code- a system for circuit identification through use of solid colors and contrasting tracers.
Common Axis Cabling - in multiple cable constructions, a twisting of all conductors about a "common
axis" with two conductor groups then selected as pairs. This practice yields smaller diameter
constructions that does a separate axis construction, but tends to yield greater susceptance to EMI and
Common Mode (Noise) - caused by a difference in "ground potential". By grounding at either end rather
than both ends (usually grounded at source) on can reduce this interference.
Compact Stranded Conductor - a unidirectional or conventional conductor manufactured to a specific
diameter, approximately 8 to 10% below the nominal diameter of a non-compact conductor of the same
cross sectional area.
Compatibility - the ability of dissimilar materials to exist in mutual proximity or contract without changing
their physical or electrical properties.
Composite Cable - a cable consisting of two or more different types or sizes of wires.
Composite (Clad) Wire – a wire having a core of one metal with a fused outer shell of a different metal
Composite Conductor – a conductor consisting of two or more types of wire, each type of wire being plain,
clad, or coated-stranded together to operate mechanically and electrically as a single conductor
Compound - an insulating or jacketing materials made by mixing two or more ingredients.
Compressed Strand Conductor – intermediate in size between standard concentric conductors and
compact conductors
Concentric Stranding - a central wire surrounded by one or more layers of helically wound strands in a
fixed round geometric arrangement.
Concentricity - in a wore or cable, the measurement of the location of the center of the conductor with
respect to the geometric center of the surrounding insulation.
Conductance - the ability of a conductor to carry electric current. It is the reciprocal of resistance and is
measure in ohms.
Conductivity - the capability of material to carry electrical current-usually expressed as a percentage of
copper conductivity (copper being 100%)
Conductor - an un-insulated wire suitable for carrying electrical current.
Conductor Shield (Strand Shield) – provides a smooth, continuous and void-free interface between
conductor and insulation.
Conduit - a tube or trough in which insulated wired and cable are run.
Connector - a device used to physically and electrically connect two or more conductors.
Contract - the part of a connector which actually carried the electrical current, and is touched together or
separated to control the flow.
Continuity Check - a test to determine whether electrical current flows continuously throughout the length
of a single wire or individual wires in a cable.
Continuous Vulcanization - simultaneous extrusion and vulcanization of rubber-like wires in a cable.
Control Cable - a multicolor cable made for operation in control or signal circuits.
Copolymer - a polymer formed from two or more types of Monomers.
Copper Braid Shield – copper wire ranging from size 32 to 40 AWG braided into a mesh around the cable
Copper-Clad - steel with a coating of copper welded to it, as distinguished from copper plated. Same as
Copperweld - the trade name of Felxo Wire Division (Copperweld Steel Corp.) for their copper-clad steel
Copper Tape Shield – applied over a semiconducting polymer insulation shield, increases insulation life
by maintaining uniform electrical stress throughout the cable insulation and provides low end-to-end
resistance of the shield system.
Cord - a small, flexible insulated cable.
Corona - a discharge due to ionization of air around a conductor due to a potential gradient exceeding a
certain critical value.
Corona Effect - in wiring, the effect produced when two wires of other conductors having a great
difference of voltage are placed near each other.
Corona Loss - A loss or discharge which occurs when two electrodes having a great difference of
pressure are placed near each other.
Corona Resistance - The time that the insulation will withstand a specific level of field-intensified
ionization that does not result in the immediate complete breakdown of the insulation.
Corona Test - A test to determine the ability of cable to withstand the formation of the corona under an
increasing applied voltage and the extinguish corona when a corona-producing voltage is reduced.
Corrosion - The deterioration of a material by chemical reaction or galvanic action.
CPE - jacketing compound based on chlorinated polyethylene.
Crazing - the minute crack on the surface of plastic materials.
CRCS - an acronym for continuous rigid cable support. Synonymous with tray.
Creep - The dimensional change with time of a material under load.
Creepage - Electrical leakage on a solid dielectric surface.
Cross-linked - inter-molecular bonds between long chain thermoplastic polymers by chemical or electron
bombardment means. The properties of the resulting thermosetting material are usually improved.
Crosstalk - A type of interference caused by signals from one pair or cable being coupled into adjacent
pairs or cables. Can occur with audio, data, or RF signals.
C.S.A - Abbreviation for Canadian Standards Association, the Canadian version of the
Underwriters Laboratories.
Cure – to change the properties of a polymeric material into amore stable, usable condition by the use of
heat, radiation, or reaction with chemical additives
Curl - The degree to which a wire tends to form a circle after removal from a spool. An indication of the
ability of the wire to be wrapped around the posts in long runs.
Current - the rate of flow of electricity in a circuit, measured in amperes.
Current-Carrying Capacity - the maximum current an insulated conductor or cable can
continuously carry without exceeding its temperature rating. It is also called ampacity.
Current Penetration - the depth a current of a given frequency will penetrate into the surface of a
conductor carrying the current.
Cut-Through - Resistance of solid material to penetration be an object under conditions of pressure,
temperature, etc.
CV (Continuous Vulcanization) - simultaneous extrusion and vulcanization of wire coating material.
Cycle - The complete sequence of alteration or reversal of the flow of an alternation electric current.
Decibel (dB) - A unit to express differenced of power level. Used to express power gain in amplifiers or
power loss in passive circuits or cables.
Delay Line - A transmission line or equivalent device designed to delay a wave or signal for a specific
length of time.
Derating Factor - A multiplier used to reduce the current carrying capacity of conductors in more adverse
environments, such as higher temperature, or where multiple conductors are together in one conduit.
Dielectric - An insulating (non-conducting) medium. It is the insulating material between conductors
carrying a signal in a cable. In coaxial cables it is between the center conductor and the outer conductor.
In twisted pair cables it is conductors plus any surrounding air or other material. The insulation between
Dielectric Absorption - That property of an imperfect dielectric whereby there is an accumulation of
electric charges within the body of the material when it is placed in an electric field.
Dielectric Breakdown - The voltage at which a dielectric material is punctured, which is divisible by
thickness to give dielectric strength.
Dielectric Constant (K) - Also called relative permittivity. That property of a dielectric which determines the
amount of electrostatic energy that can be stored by the material when a given voltage is applied to it.
Actually, the ratio of the capacitance of a capacitor using the dielectric to the capacitance of an identical
capacitor using a vacuum (which has a dielectric constant of 1) as a dielectric. A number which indicates
the quality of a material to resist holding an electrical charge when placed between two conductors.
Dielectric Strength - The voltage that insulation can withstand before it breaks down.
Usually expressed as "volts per mil".
Dielectric Test - a test in which a voltage higher than the rated voltage is applied for a specific time to
determine the adequacy of the insulation under normal conditions.
Direct Burial Cable - A cable installed directly in the earth.
Direct Capacitance - The capacitance measured directly for conductor to conductor through a single
insulation layer.
Direct Current (DC) - An electric current which flows in only one direction.
Direct Current Resistance (D.C.R) - The resistance offered by any circuit to the flow of direct current.
Directional Coupler – a passive device used in a cable system to divide or combine unidirectional RF
power sources
Dissipation Factor - The tangent of the loss angle of the insulating material (Also referred to as loss
tangent, tan S and approximate power factor.
Disturbed Conductor – a conductor that receives energy generated by the field of another conductor or an
external soured such as a transformer
Double Foot - Combined length of one linear foot of paired material; i.e., one double foot is equal to one
foot of positive material plus one foot of negative material. Usually used in determining thermocouple wire
loop resistance.
Drain Wire - In a cable, the un-insulated wire in intimate contact with a shield to provide for easier
termination of such a shield to a ground point.
Drawing - In wire manufacturing, pulling the metal through a die or series of dies to reduce diameter to a
specified size.
Drum Packed - The method of coiling wire into fiber drums for shipment.
Duct - An underground or overhead tube for carrying electrical conductors.
Duofoil - Belden trademark for a shield in which metallic foil is applied to both sides of a supporting plastic
Duplex Insulated - In the thermocouple industry, a combination of dissimilar metal conductor of a
thermocouple or thermocouple extension wire.
Eccentricity - Like concentricity a measure of the center of a conductor's location with respect to the
circular cross section of the insulation. Expressed as a percentage of displacement of one circle within
the other.
ECTFE - Ethylene chloro - trifluoroethylene (Halar) is a Solvay Solexis trademark for this material, used
as an insulator or jacketing material.
EIA - Abbreviation for Electronic Industries Association
Elastomer - A rubber like substance, material that will return to its original dimensions after it has been
stretched or distorted
Electricity - the flow of electric current along a conductor which takes the form of free electrons from one
atom to the next.
Electromagnetic - Pertaining to the combined electric and magnetic fields associated with movements of
electrons through conductors
Electromotive Force (e.m.f.) - Pressure or voltage. The force which causes current to flow in a circuit.
Electronic Cable Shield – provides and efficient way to manage electromagnetic inference (EMI)
Electrostatic - Pertaining to static electricity or electricity at rest. A constant intensity electric charge.
Electro-tinned – electrolytic process of tinning wire using pure tin
Elongation - The fractional increase in length of a material stressed in tension.
Embossing - a marker identification by means of thermal indentation leaving raised lettering on the sheath
material of cable.
Emergency Overload - load which occurs when larger than normal currents are carried through a cable or
wire over a certain period of time.
EMI - abbreviation for Electromagnetic Interference
Endosmosis – the penetration of water into a cable by osmosis; aggravated and accelerated by DC
voltage on the cable
Energize - to apply rated voltage to a circuit or device in order to activate it.
Equilay - more than one layer of helically laid wire with the direction of lay reversed for successive layers,
both with the length of lay the same for each layer.
Etched Wire - a process applied to fluroplastic wire in which the wire is passed through
a sodium bath to create a rough surface to allow epoxy resin to bond the fluroplastic.
ETFE - Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (Teflon)
Ethylene Propylene Rubber (EPR) - an ozone resistance rubber consisting primarily of ethylene
propylene copolymer (EPM) or ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM).
ETPC - abbreviation for electrolytic tough pitch copper. It has a minimum conductivity of
External interference - the effects of electrical waves or fields which cause sounds other than the desired
signal (static).
Extruded Cable – cable that is insulated by applying insulation material in a continuous extrusion process
Extrusion - the process of continuously forcing both a plastic or elastomer and a conductor core through a
die, thereby applying a continuous coating of insulation or jacket to the core or conductor.
Fatigue Resistance - resistance to metal crystallization which leads to conductress or wires breaking from
FEP - fluorinated Ethylene Propylene is a "Teflon" fluorocarbon resin and is a registerd trademark of the
DuPont Compnay. This is a melt extrudable fluorocarbon resin.
Fiber - A single, separate optical transmission element characterized by core and cladding.
Fiber Dispersion - (fiber optic) pulse spreading in a fiber cause by differing transit times of various modes.
Fiber Optics - Light transmission through optical fibers for communication and signaling. A technology
that transmits information as light pulses along a glass or plastic fiber. Optical fiber carries much more
information than conventional copper wire and is generally not subject to interference. Most telephone
company long-distance lines are optical fiber.
Fiber Tubing – a loose, crush-resistant cylinder applied over individual fibers to provide mechanical
protection. Also called buffer tube.
Fibrous Coverings – commonly used on high-temperature cables due to their excellent heat resistance.
Field - An area through which electric and/or magnetic lines of force pass.
Field Coil – a suitable insulated winding mounted on a field pole to magnetize it
Field Molded Splice – a joint in which the solid dielectric joint insulation is fused and cured thermally at the
job site
Filled Cable - a telephone cable construction in which the cable core is filled with a material that will
prevent moisture from entering or passing through the cable.
Filler - Nonconducting components cabled with the insulated conductors or optical fibers to impart
roundness, flexibility, tensile strength, or a combination of all three, to the cable.
Fine Stranded Wire – stranded wire with component strands of 36 AWG or smaller
Flame Resistant - The ability of a material not to fuel a flame once the source of heat is removed.
Flammability - the measure of the material ability to support combustions.
Flammability Test - A test to determine the ability of a cable to resist ignition when placed neat a source
of heat of flame and to self-extinguish when removed from this source.
Flat braid - a woven braid of tinned copper strands rolled flat at time of manufacture to a specified time.
Flat Cable - a cable with two smooth or corrugated but essentially flat surfaces.
Flat Conductor - a wire having a rectangular cross section as opposed to round or square conductors.
Flat Conductor Cable - a cable with a plurality of flat conductors.
Flex Life - the measurement of the ability of a conductor or cable to withstand repeated bending.
Flexible - the quality of a cable or cable component which allows for bending under the
influence of outside force, as opposed to limpness which is bending due to the cable's own weight.
Flexibility - The ability of a cable to bend in a short radius. The ability of a cable to lay flat or conform to a
surface as with microphone cables.
Floating - Referring to a circuit which has no connection to ground.
Fluoropolymers – extrudable thermoplastics used in a variety of low-voltage insulating situations. Teflon
is most common type used.
Foamed Plastic - insulations having a cellular structure.
Foil – a thin, continuous sheet of metal
Foil Shield – usually constructed of aluminum foil, provide excellent protection from electromagnetic
FR-1 - a flammability rating established by Underwrites Laboratories for wires and cables that pass a
specially designed vertical flame test. The designation has been replaced by VW-1.
Frequency - The number of times a periodic action occurs in one second. Measured in
Fuse Wire - Wire made from alloy that melts at a relatively low temperature.
Fused Conductors – individual strands of heavily tinned copper wire stranded together and then bonded
together by induction heating
Fused Spiral Tape - a PTFE Insulated hookup wire. The spiral wrapped conductor is passed through a
sintering oven where overlaps are fused together.
Galvanized Steel Wire – steel wire coated with zinc
Galvanometer - an instrument used for detecting or measuring small electrical current.
Gang Strip – stripping all or several conductors simultaneously
Gas Filled Cable - a self-contained pressure cable in which the pressure medium is an inert gas having
access to the insulation.
Gauge - a term used to denote the physical size of a wire
Giga - a numerical prefix denoting one billion.
Ground - a conducting connection between an electrical circuit and the earth or other
large conductions body to serve as an earth thus makes a complete electrical circuit.
Ground Conductor – a conductor in a transmission cable or line that is grounded
Ground Plane – expanded copper mesh which is laminated into some flat cable constructions as a shield
Guy – a tension wire connected to a tall structure and another fixed object to ass strength to the structure
Halar - a trade name of Allied Chemical for their copolymer of ethylene and chlorotriflurorethylene.
Abbreviation ECTFE
Hard Drawn Copper Wire - Copper wire that has not been annealed after drawing.
Harness - an arrangement of wires and cables, usually with many breakouts, which have been pulled
together or pulled into a rubber or plastic sheath, used to interconnect an electric circuit.
Hash Mark Stripe - a non-continuous helical stripe applied to a conductor for identification.
Heat Distortion - Distortion or flow of a material of configuration due to application of heat.
Heat Endurance - the time of heart aging that a material can withstand before failing a
specific physical or electrical test
Heat Resistance - ability of a substance to maintain physical and chemical identity and electrical integrity
under specified temperature conditions.
Heat Seal - a method for sealing by thermal fusion.
Heat Shock - a test to determine stability of a material by sudden exposure to a high
temperature for a short period of time.
Heat Sink – a device that absorbs heat
Helical Stripe - a continuous, colored spiral stripe applied to a conductor for circuit
Helix – spiral winding
Henry - Unit of inductance such that the induced voltage in volts is numerical equal to the rate of change
in current in amperes per second.
Hermetically Sealed - a gaslight enclosure that has been completely sealed by fusion or other
comparable means.
Hertz (Hz) - a term replaced cycles-per-second as a unit of frequency.
High Bond Insulation – insulation exhibiting great bond strength to the conductors.
High Temperature – refers to wire or cable with a temperature rating of 125°C or higher.
High-Voltage Power - generally, a wire or cable with an operating voltage of over 35,000 volts.
Hinge Cable – a cable connected between a hinged or swinging device and a stationary object
Hi Pot - a test designed to determine the highest voltage that can be applied to a conductor without
electrically breaking down the insulation.
Holding Strength – ability of a connecter to remain assembled to a cable when under tension
Hook-up Wire - a single insulated conductor used for low current, low voltage (usually
under 600 volts) applications within enclosed electronic equipment.
Hot Tin Dip - a process of passing bare wire through a bath of molten tin to provide a
Housing – a metallic or other enclosure for an insulated splice
Hybrid Cable – multiconductor cable containing two or more types of components
Hygroscopic - capable of absorbing and retaining moisture.
Hypalon - DuPont's trade name for their chlorosulfonated polyethylene, an ozone
resistant synthetic rubber.
Hz - Abbreviation for Hertz; a measure of frequency or bandwith equal to one cycle per second.
IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission, similar to the ISO in structure and scope.
IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. An international professional society that issues
its own standards and is a member of ANSI and ISO
Impedance - The total opposition that a circuit offers to the flow of alternating current or any other varying
current at a particular frequency.
Impedance Match – a condition whereby the impedance of a particular cable or component is the same
as the impedance of the circuit, cable or device to which it is connected.
Impedance Matching Stub - a section of transmission line or a pair of conductors cut to match the
impedance of a load
Impedance Matching Transformer – a transformer designed to match the impedance of one circuit to that
of another
IMSA - International Municipal Signal Association Specifications for Fire Alarm Cable.
Induced Current - an electrical current set up in a circuit by butting line of force; a current caused by
electromagnetic induction.
Inductance - The property of wire which stores electrical current in a magnetic field around the wire. By
coiling wire, the effect can be intensified. It is measured in Henrys
Inductive Coupling - crosstalk resulting form the action of the electromagnetic field of one conductor on
the other.
Instrumentation Cable – generally used to transmit a low-power signal from a transducer to a PLC or DCS
process control computer or to a manually operated control panel.
Insulated Splice – a splice with dielectric medium applied over the connected conductors and adjacent
cable insulation
Insulating (Isolating) Joint – a cable joint which mechanically couples and electrically separates the
sheath, shield and armor on contiguous lengths of cable.
Insulation - A material having good dielectric properties which is used to separate close electrical
components, such as cable conductors and circuit components.
Insulation Level 100% - Cable for use on grounded systems or where the system is provided with relay
protection such that ground faults will be cleared as rapidly as possible but in any case within one minute.
Insulation Level 133% - Cable for use on grounded systems or where the faulted
section will be de-energized in a time not exceeding one hour.
Insulation Resistance ( I.R.) - That resistance offered by and insulation to an impressed DC voltage,
tending to produce a leakage current through the insulation.
Insulation Thickness - The wall thickness of the applied insulation.
Interlocked Armor – interlocking construction protects the cable from damage during and after installation;
may be applied directly over the insulation or over an inner jacket.
Interconnecting Cable - the wiring between modules, between units, or the larger portions of a system.
Interference - and undesired electrical signal induced into a conductor by electrical or
electromagnetic means.
Interstices - voids or valleys between individual strands in a conductor by electrical or
electromagnetic means.
Ionization - The formation of ions. Ions are produced when polar compounds are dissolved in a solvent
and when a liquid, gas, or solid is caused to lose or gain electrons due to the passage of an electric
ISA - Instrument Society of America
ISO - International Standards Organization
Jacket - Pertaining to wire and cable, the outer protective covering that may also provide additional
JAN Specification - Joint Army-Navy specifications (forerunner of present Military Specification).
Jitter – the slight movement of a transmission signal in time or phase that can introduce errors and loss of
synchronization in high-speed synchronous communications
Joint – that portion of the conductor where the ends of two wires, rods or groups of wires are joined by
brazing, soldering, welding or by mechanical means
Jumper Cable - a short flat cable interconnecting two wiring boards or devices
Kapton – DuPont’s trademark for polyimide
Kevlar – a high-strength DuPont polymer used as a cable messenger or strength member
K-Fiber – a polymaramid-based material used for jacketing high temperature cables
Kilo - A numerical prefix denoting 1000.
KV - Kilovolt (1000 volts)
KVA - Kilovolt ampere.
KW - Kilowatt.
Kynar - Penwalt trade name for polyvinylidene flouoride. Typically used as insulation for wire wrap wire.
Lacquer - a liquid resin or compound applied to textile braid to prevent fraying, moisture absorption, etc.
Laminated Tape - a tape consisting of two or more layers of different materials bonded together.
LANCE - Local Area Network for Controller Ethernet
LANS - Local Area Networks System (integration of computer and communication).
System that wires together all computers and peripherals in an office so they can talk to each other.
Large Pair Count Cables – in cables having more then 25 pairs, the pairs are arranged in groups, each
containing a max of 25 pairs and wrapped with distinctively colored binder threads to permit distinction
between groups.
Lay - The length measured along the axis of a wire or cable required for a single strand
(in stranded wire) or conductor (in cable) to make one complete turn about the axis of the conductor or
cable. In a twisted pair cable, the lay length is the distance it takes for the two wires to completely twist
around each other.
Lay Direction - the twist on the cable as indicated by the top strands whole looking along the axis of the
cable away from the observer. Described as "right hand" or "left hand".
Leaching and Non-Leaching - in a leaching wire the plasticizer will migrate when exposed to heat. A nonleaching wire will retain its plasticizer under extreme temperature conditions and remain flexible after
Lead Sheath – used to protect insulated cable from moisture in locations such as conduits, ducts and
Leakage Current - the undesirable flow of current through or over the surfaces of an insulation.
Life Cycle - a test to determine the length of time before failure in a controlled, usually accelerated,
Limits of Error - the maximum deviation (in degrees or percents) of a thermocouple or thermocouple
extension wire from standard emf-temperature to be measured.
LOCA - abbreviation for Loss of Coolant Accident, a system malfunction associated with nuclear
generation stations.
Local Area Network - a baseband or broadband interactive bi-directional
communication system for information exchange on a common transmission line.
Longitudinal Shield - a tape shield, flat or corrugated, applied longitudinally with the
axis of the core being shielded.
Longitudinal Wrap - tape applied longitudinally with the axis of the core being shielded.
Loop Resistance - the total resistance of two conductors measured round tip from one
Loose Buffer – provides a high level of isolation for the fiber from external mechanical forces that might be
present on the cable; a loose buffer tube is constructed where the fiber is contained in a water-blocked
polymer tube that has an inner diameter considerably larger than the fiber itself.
Loss Factor - the product of the dissipation and dielectric constant of an insulation
Low Noise Cable - cable configuration specifically constructed to eliminate spurious
electrical disturbances caused by capacitance changes of self-generated noise induced
by either physical abuse or adjacent circuitry.
Low Loss Dielectric - an insulation material that has a relatively low dielectric loss,
such as polyethylene or Teflon.
Low Tension - low voltage, as applied to ignition cable.
Magnetic Wire – insulated wire used in the windings of motors, transformers and other electromagnetic
Magnetic Field - the region within which a body or current experiences magnetic forces.
Magnetic Flux - the rate of flow of magnetic energy across or through a surface (real or
Magnetic Noise - caused my change in current level, e.g., AC powerline (created
magnetic field around that cable) this magnetic field causes the magnetic noise.
Marker Tape – a tape placed parallel to the conductors under the sheath in a cable, imprinted with the
manufacturer’s name and the specification to which the cable is made
Marker Thread – a colored thread placed parallel and adjacent to the strand in an insulated conductor
which identifies the manufacturer and sometimes the specification to which the wire is made
Mastic – a meltable coating used on the inside of some shrink products which when heated flows to help
create a waterproof seal
MC Metal-Clad Cable - NEC type designation for power and control cables enclosed in a smooth metallic
sheath, welded and corrugated metallic sheath, or an interlocking taper armor.
MCM - one thousand circular mils
Medium Frequency – the band of frequencies between 300 and 3,000 kilohertz
Megarad - a unit for measuring radiation dosage, Equal to one million rads.
Megger – a special ohmmeter for measuring very high resistance; primarily used for checking the
insulation resistance of cables
Megohm - one million ohms.
Member - a group of insulated wires to be cabled with other stranded groups into
multiple-membered cable.
Messenger- the linear supporting member, usually a high strength steel wire, used as the supporting
element of a suspended aerial cable. The messenger may be an integral part of the cable, or exterior to it.
Mho - the unit of conductivity. The reciprocal of an ohm.
Mining Cable – generally designed to be used as flexible feeder cables for circuits between the main
power source and mine load centers, or as equipment trailing cables.
Molded Plug – a connector molded on either end of a cord or cable
Mono Filament – a single strand filament as opposed to a braided or twisted filament
Motor Lead Wire – wire that connects to the fragile magnet wire found in coils, transformers and stator or
field windings
Multiconductor Cable - more than one conductor within a single cable complex.
Multiplex – the use of a common physical channel in order to make two or more logical channels, either
by splitting of the frequency band (frequency-division multiplex), or by utilizing this common channel at
different points in time (time-division multiplex)
Multiplexer – equipment that permits simultaneous transmission of multiple signals over one physical
Mutual Capacitance - capacitance between two conductors when all other conductors
including ground are connected together and then regarded as an ignored ground.
Mutual Inductance - the ratio of voltage induced on one conductor to the time tae of current change in the
separate conductor causing this induction.
MW - radio hookup wire with polyvinyl insulation and plain or nylon jacket, braid, or shield. 1000V.
Mylar - DuPont trademark for a polyester material used in the form of a tape.
National Electric Code (NEC) - a consensus standard published by The National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA) and incorporated in OSHA regulations.
NBFU - National Bureau of Fire Underwriters. NBS - National Bureau of Standards.
NEC - See National Electric Codes.
NEMA - National Electrical Manufacturers Association.
Neoprene - trade name for polychloroprene synthetic rubber, used for jacketing when
suitable compounded
Network – a series of nodes connected by communications channels
Nickel Cade Copper Wire – a wire with a layer of nickel on a copper core where the area of the nickel is
approximately 30 percent of the conductor area
Noise - in a cable or circuit, any extraneous signal which tends to interfere with the
signal normally present in or passing through the system
Nominal O.D. - the desired diameter for a cable that is established within a +/- tolerance.
Non-Contaminating - type of PVC jacket material whose plasticizer will not migrate into
the dielectric of a coaxial cable and thus avoids contaminating and destroying the
Non-Contaminating PVC - a polyvinylchloride formulation, which does not produce
electrical contamination through plasticizer migration.
N Series – screw connectors; offer dual-crimp, low-cost commercial and 75-ohm versions in a variety of
styles and materials; standard coaxial connector for many coaxial cable based local area networks
Nylon - a group of polyamide polymer which is used for wire and cable jacketing.
O.D. - outside diameter
Off-center - conductor displaced within the cross-section of its insulation.
Off-gassing - percentage of a specified gas releases during the combustion of insulation or jacketing
OFHC - abbreviation for oxygen-free high conductivity copper. It has no residual
deoxidant, 99.95% minimum copper content and an average annealed conductivity of
Ohm - The unit of electrical resistance. The value of resistance through which a potential difference of
one volt will maintain a current of one ampere.
Oil Aging - cable aged in an accelerated manner by placement in an oil bath and heated to a pre-set
temperature for a stated time.
Oil-Filled Cable - a self-contained pressure cable in which the pressure medium is low viscosity oil having
access to the insulation.
Open Circuit – a break in an electrical circuit so that there can be no current flow
Optical Cross-Connect – a cross-connect unit used for circuit administration; provides for the connection
of individual optical fibers with optical fiber patch cords.
Optical Encoder – a device whose position is determined by a photoelectric device and converted to an
electrical output
Optical Fiber – any filament or fiber, made of dielectric materials, that is used to transmit light signals;
optical fiber usually consists of a core, which carries the signal and cladding, a substance with a higher
refractive index than the core, which surrounds the core and serves to reflect the light signal
Outdoor Termination – a cable termination intended for use where it is not protected from direct exposure
to either solar radiation or precipitation
Out-gassing - the dissipation of gas from a dielectric evidencing decomposition.
Output – the useful power or signal delivered by a circuit or device
OVE - approval agency of West Germany; Osesterreichischer Verband fur
Outer Shield (Insulation Shield) – outside of the cable’s insulation, protects the insulation from the
damaging effects of corona
Overall Diameter - finished diameter over wire and cable
Overcoat Conductor - individual strands of tin copper stranded together and then covered with a tin
Overlap - the amount the trailing edge laps over the leading edge of a tape wrap.
Oxygen index - percentage of oxygen necessary to support combustion of a specified material.
Ozone - a highly active form of oxygen produced by the passage of electric dischargesor sparks through
the air or oxygen.
Pair - two insulated wires of single circuit associated together.
Pairing - the union of two insulated single conductors through twisting.
Parallel Cable - two insulated conductor's side-by-side in a cable.
Parallel Stripe - a stripe applied longitudinally on a wire or cable parallel to the axis of the conductor
Patch Cable – a cable with plugs or terminals on each end of the conductors to connect circuits of
equipment together
Payoff – the process of feeding a cable or wire from a bobbin, reel, or other package
Peak Voltage - the maximum instantaneous voltage.
Percent Conductivity - conductivity of a material expressed as a percentage of that of
Periodicity - The uniformly spaced cable impedance variations that result in addition of
the reflections of a signal. The distance between them is the half wavelength most
affected. Multiples of that frequency is also affected. Even very slight variations, which
appear over and over in a construction or installation, can have major effects on signal
integrity because of periodicity.
Permittivity - see dielectric constant
Pick - distance between two adjacent crossover points of braid filaments. The
measurement in picks per inch indicates the degree of coverage.
Pitch - Nominal distance from center-to-center of adjacent conductors within a cable.
When conductors are flat, pitch is usually measured from the reference edge of a
conductor to the reference edge of the adjacent conductor. Spacing.
Pitch Diameter - diameter of a circle passing through the center of the conductors in
any layer of multiconductor cable.
Planetary Cabler - a cabler of laying down any number of shielded, over braided or
jacketed singles, pairs, called groups or any combination of them in a sequence.
Planetary Twister - a twisting machine whose payoff spools are mounted in rotating
cradles that hold the axis of the spool in a fixed direction as the spools are revolved so
the wire will not kink as it is twisted.
Plastic Deformation - change in dimensions under the load that is not recovered when
the load is removed.
Plasticizer - a chemical agent added to plastics to make them softer and more pliable
Plenum - A compartment or chamber to which one or more air ducts are connected and
that forms part of the air distribution system. A description for a cable that passes the
UL 910 CMP flame test requirements.
Plenum Cable - cable approved by Underwriters Laboratories for installation in
plenums without the need for conduit.
PLTC - NEC type designation for Power-Limited Tray Cable for use in class 2 or 3
Power-Limited circuits; instrumentation supervisory control, and thermocouple extension.
Ply – the number of individual strands or filaments twisted together to form a single thread
Polarization – the orientation of a flat cable or a rectangular connector
Polyester - Polyethylene terephthalate which is used extensively in the production of a
high strength moisture resistant film used as a cable core wrap.
Polythylene - A thermoplastic material having excellent electrical properties. Low
dielectric constant, a stable dielectric constant over all frequencies, very high insulation
resistance. In terms of flexibility, polyethylene can be rated stiff to very hard, depending
on molecular weight and density - low density being the most flexible and the highdensity, high-molecular
weight formulation being very hard. Moisture resistance is rated excellent.
Polymer - A substance made of many repeating chemical units or molecules. The term
polymer is often used in place of plastic, rubber, or elastomer.
Polyolefin - Any of the polymers and copolymers of the ethylene family of
hydrocarbons, such as polyethylene and polypropylene.
Polypyopylene - A thermoplastic similar to polyethylene but stiffer and having a higher
softening point (temperature). This material is primarily used as an insulation material.
Typically, it is harder than polyethylene. This makes it suitable for thin wall insulations.
The dielectric constant is 2.25 for solid and 1.55 for cellular designs.
Polyuretane (PUR) – used primarily as a cable jacket material. Has excellent oxidation, oil and ozone
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - A general purpose thermoplastic used for wire and cable
insulation and jackets.
Porosity - multiple air voids in an insulation jacket wall.
Position Coding – identification of conductors by their location, possible only when conductors are located
in assigned positions with relation to each other throughout the entire length of a cable
Power Factor - the ratio of resistance to impedance. The ratio of the actual power of an
alternating current to apparent power. Mathematically, the cosine of an angle between
the voltage applied and the current resulting.
PPE - Portable Power Elastomer. Same as Type W except is a thermoplastic elastomer
insulation and jacket whereas Type W is all thermoset.
Pre-Bond - stranded wire which has been fused, topcoat tinned, or overcoat tinned.
Primary Insulation - the first layer of nonconductive material applied over a conductor,
whose prime function is to act as electrical insulation.
Printing Wiring – a printed circuit intended to provide point-to-point electrical connections.
Progpagation Delay - Time required for a signal to pass from the input to the output of
a device.
Proof Testing – at any time during the period of guarantee, the cable circuit may be removed from service
and tested at a reduced voltage for five consecutive minutes
Propagation Time - time required for a signal to pass from the input to the output of a
Protective Covering – a field-applied material to provide environmental protection over a splice or
housing, or both
PTFE - abbreviation for Polytetrafluoroethylene.
Pulse - A current or voltage which changes abruptly from one value to another and
back to the original value in a finite length of time. Used to describe one particular
variation in a series of wave motions.
Pulse Cable - a type of coaxial cable constructed to transmit repeated high voltage
pulses without degradation.
PVD - Polyvinylidene fluoride (Kynar).
Quad - a four conductor cable.
Quadders - three-bay machines which can twist four wires together and cable braided
and shielded wires with varying lay lengths.
QPL - Qualified parts list.
Rad - the unit of radiation dose which is absorbed, equal to 100 ergs/gram.
Rated Temperature - The maximum temperature at which an electric component can
operate for extended periods without loss of its basic properties.
Rated Voltage - The maximum voltage at which an electric component can operate for
extended periods without undue degradation or safety hazard.
Reactance - A measure of the combined effects of capacitance and inductance on an
alternating current. The amount of such opposition varies with the frequency of the
current. The reactance of a capacitor decreases with an increase in frequency; the
opposite occurs with an inductance.
Reference Junction - the junction of a thermocouple which is as a known reference
temperature. Also known as the "cold" junction, it is usually located at the emf
measuring device.
Reflection Loss - The part of a signal which is lost due to reflection of power at a line
Registration - Alignment of one object with relation to another. In flat cables it involves
aligning conductors with contacts or solder pads. Also called register.
Resin - an organic substance of natural or synthetic origin characterized by being polymeric in structure
and predominantly amorphous. Most resins, through not all, are of
high molecular weight and consist of long chain or network molecular structure.
Resistance - In dc circuits, the opposition a material offers to current flow, measured in
ohms. In ac circuits, resistance is the real component of impedance, and may be higher
than the value measured at dc.
Retractile Cable - a cable that returns by its own stored energy from an extended
condition to it original contracted form.
RFI - Radio Frequency Interference.
RG/U - RG is the abbreviation for radio guide, a military designation for a coaxial cable,
and U stands for universal.
Ribbon Cable - A flat cable made with parallel round conductors in the same plane.
Also referred to as planar and/or flat cable. Any cable with two or more parallel conductors in the same
plane encapsulated by insulating material.
Ridge maker - one or more ridges running laterally along the outer surface of the plastic insulated wire for
purposes of identification.
Ringing Out - The process of locating or identifying specific conductor paths by means
of passing a current through selected conductors.
Rise Time - the time required for the initially zero potential existing on a transmission
line (which is terminated in its characteristics impendence) to change from 10% to 90%
of its full DC value after a DC potential source is instantaneously applied.
RMS or rms - Root-mean-square.
Rockwell Harness - a test for determining hardness in which a hardened steel ball or diamond point is
pressed into the material under test.
Roentgen - the amount of radiation that will produce on electrostatic unit of ion per cubic centimeter
Rope Lay Conductor - a conductor composed of a central core surrounded by one or more layers of
helically laid groups of wire.
Rope Strand - A conductor composed of groups of twisted strands.
Round Conductor - a conductor whose cross section is substantially circular.
Rulan - DuPont's trade name for their flame-retardant polyethylene insulating material.
Rupture - in the breaking strength or tensile strength tests, the point at which the
material physically comes apart, as opposed to elongation, yield strength, etc.
SAE - Society of Automotive Engineers.
SBR - A copolymer of styrene and butadiene. Also GR-S or Buna-S. Most commonly used type of
synthetic rubber.
SDN - small diameter multi-conductor control cable with a neoprene jacket and nylon sheath over
polyethylene insulation.
Sector Conductor – a stranded conductor whose cross-section is approximately the shape of a sector of a
Secondary insulation - a high resistance dielectric material which is placed over primary insulation to
protect it from absorption.
Segmental Conductor – a round, stranded conductor composed of three or four sectors slightly insulated
from one another.
Self Extinguishing - The characteristic of a material that extinguishes its own flame after the igniting flame
is removed.
Self-Supporting Cable - any assemblage of conductors which incorporates a steel rope of steel sheath for
added tensile strength, thus enabling it to be suspended between widely spaced supports.
Semi-Conducting Tape - a tape of such resistance that when applied between two
elements of a cable, the adjacent surfaces of the two elements will maintain substantially the same
Semiconductor - In wire industry terminology, a material possessing electrical conductivity that falls
somewhere between that of conductors and insulators. Usually made by adding carbon particles to an
insulator. Not the same as semiconductor materials such as silicon, germanium, etc. Used for making
transistors and diodes.
Semiconducting Jacket – a jacket having a sufficiently low-electrical resistance so that its outer surface
can be kept at substantially ground potential
Semi-Rigid PVC - a hard semi-flexible polyvinylchloride compound with low plasticizer
Semisolid – an insulation cross-section having a partially open space between the conductor and the
insulation perimeter
SEMKO - approval agency for Sweden .
Separable Insulated Connector – an insulated device to facilitate cable connections and separations
Separator - a layer of insulating material such as textile, paper, polyester, etc. Used to
improve stripping qualities, flexibility, mechanical or electrical protection to the components.
Series Circuit – a circuit in which the components are arranged end to end to form a single path for
Serve - a filament or group of filaments such as fibers or wires, wound around a central
Served Wire Armor - spiral wrap of soft galvanized steel wires wrapped around a cable
to afford mechanical protection and increase the cable pulling tension characteristics.
SEW, SEWF - Silicone Rubber insulated equipment wire (CSA).
SF - Silicone rubber insulated fixture wire, solid or 7 strand conductors, 200C.
SFF - same as SF, except flexible stranding, 150C.
Sheath - the outer covering or jacket of a multi-conductor cable.
SHD-GC - portable mine power cable, three or four individually shielded conductors, with grounding
conductors, 500V.
Shield - A tape, serve or braid (usually copper, aluminum, or other conductive material)
placed around or between electric circuits or cables or their components, to prevent signal leakage or
Shield Coverage - The optical percentage of a cable actually covered by shielding
Shielded Insulated Splice – an insulated splice in which a conducting material is employed over the full
length of the insulation for electric stress control
Shield Effectiveness - The relative ability of a shield to screen out undesirable
interference or prevent signal leakage out of the cable. Frequently confused with the
term shield coverage.
Shielding, Power Cable – a conducting layer applied to increase safety, control dielectric stresses and
prevent partial discharges
Shield Percentage - The percentage of physical area of a circuit or cable actually
covered by shielding material.
Shock Test - a test to determine the ability of a cable to withstand a violent physical
concussion such as might occur during handling or use.
Shore Hardness - an instrument measure of the surface hardness of an insulating or
jacket material.
Short Circuit Current – cable must be able to carry current in an emergency, there is no limit to the
amount of short-circuit current that a cable can handle without damage
Shrinking Ratio – ratio between the expanded diameter and recovered diameter of shrinkable products
Shrink Temperature – temperature that affects complete recovery of a heat shrinkable product from the
expanded state
SHV connector – high-voltage connectors rated to 5,000 volts; have bayonet coupling but do not have
constant impedance
Signal - Any visible or audible indication which can convey information. Also, the
information conveyed through a communication system.
Signal Cable - a cable designed to carry current of the usually less than one ampere
per conductor.
Silicone – soft, rubbery insulation that has a temperature range from 80°C to 200°C
Sintering - fusion of a spirally applied tape wrap jacket by the use of high heat to a
homogeneous continuum. Usually employed for fluorocarbon, non-extrudable materials.
SIS - indicated single conductor having synthetic thermosetting insulation of heatresistant, moistureresistant, flame retarding grade. Also made with chemically cross linked polyethylene insulation. Used for
switchboard wiring only, 90C.
Skin Effect - The tendency of alternating current to travel only on the surface of a
conductor as its frequency increases.
SMA connectors – most popular type for subminiature cable and offer the highest performance in their
SNM - a cable designed for the use in hazardous locations consisting of insulated
conductors in an extruded nonmetallic jacket which is then covered with an overlapping
spiral metal tape and wire shield and jacketed with an extruded moisture flame, oil, corrosion, fungus and
sunlight resistant nonmetallic material.
SO - hard service cord, same construction as type S except oil-resistant neoprene
jacket. 600V, 60C, and 90C.
Solid Conductor - a single unit not divided into parts.
SOW - water resistant neoprene jacketed portable cord (CSA).
SOW-A/SOW - service cord with oil resistant jacket and weather resistant. Also is water
resistant. 600V
Spacer Cable – a type of overhead power distribution cable; spacing is accomplished by ceramic or
plastic hangers suspended from a support messenger
Span – in flat conductors, distance between the reference edge of the first and last conductor; in round
conductors, distance between centers of the first and last conductors
Spacing - The distance between the centers of two adjacent conductors. Pitch.
Spark Test - a test that is designed to locate imperfections (usually pin-holes) in the
insulating of a wire or cable by application of a voltage for a very short period of time
while the wire is being drawn through the electrode field
Specific Gravity - the ratio of the density (mass per unit volume) of a material to that of
Specific Inductive Gravity (S.I.C) - same as dielectric constant.
Spiral (Serve) Shield – constructed with bare or tinned copper wires from 32 to 40 AWG in size that are
helically applied in a flat or ribbon configuration.
Spiral Stripe – a color coding stripe applied helically to the surface of an insulated wire or cable
Spiral Wrap - the helical wrap of a material over a core.
Splice – a connection of two or more conductors or cables to provide goof mechanical strength as well as
good electrical conductivity
Splitter – a passive device used in a cable system to divide the power of a single input into two or more
outputs of lesser power; can also be used as a combiner when two or more inputs are combined into a
single output
ST - hard service cord, jacketed, same as type S except all-plastic construction, 600V,
60C to 105C.
Stability Factor - the difference between the percentage power factor at 8- colts/mil and at 40 volts/mil
measured on wire immersed in water at 75C for a specified time.
Standing Wave - the stationary pattern of waves produced by two waves of the same
frequency traveling in opposite directions on the same transition line. The existence of
voltage and current maxima and minima along a transmission line is a result of reflected
energy for an impedance mismatch
Standing Wave Ratio - a ratio of the maximum amplitude to the minimum amplitude of a standing wave
stated in current or voltage amplitude
Static Condition - used to denote the environmental conditions of an installed cable rather than the
conditions existing during cable installation.
Straight Joint – a cable splice used for connecting two lengths of cable, each of which consists of one or
more conductors
Strand - a single un-insulated wire.
Stranded Conductor - a conductor composed of individual groups of wires twisted
together to form an entire unit.
Strand Lay – the distance of advance of one strand of a spirally stranded conductor, in one turn,
measured longitudinally
Stress-Relief Cable – cable used to relieve stresses in the process of welding pipe joints by including heat
in pope sections to be welded, flexible copper strand
Strength Members – added to the cable structure to keep the optical fibers free from stress and to
minimize elongation and contraction.
Strip Force - the force required o remove a small section of insulating materials from the conductor it
Structural Return Loss – backward reflected energies from uneven parts of the cable structure.
Substrate – insulating material of a printed circuit
Suggested Working Voltage - AC voltage that can be applied between adjacent conductors.
Superconductors – materials whose resistance and magnetic permeability are virtually zero at very low
Surface Resistivity - the resistance of a material between two opposite sides of a unit
square of its surface. It is usually expressed in ohms.
Surge - A temporary and relatively large increase in the voltage or current in an electric
circuit or cable. Also called transient
Surlyn - DuPont's trade name for their thermoplastic resin with ionic crosslink's
Sweep Test - Testing a characteristic of a cable or device across a range of frequencies. In cable, it
usually implies return loss or structural return loss (see also).
Switchboard Cable - a cable used within and between the central office main frames and the switchboard.
Take-Up - the process of accumulating wire or cable into a reel, bobbin, or some other
type of pack. Also, the devise for pulling wire or cable through a piece of equipment or
Tank Test - a voltage dielectric test in which the test sample is submerged in water and
voltage is applied between the conductor and water as ground
Taped Insulation – insulation of helically would tapes applied over a conductor or over an assembled
group of insulated conductors
Taped Splice – a joint with hand-applied tape insulation
Tape Wrap - a spirally applied tape over an insulated or non-insulated wire
TC - Tray cable. Article 340 NEC.
Tear Strength - the force required to initiate or continue a tear in a material under
specified conditions.
Teflon - DuPont Company trademark for fluorocarbon resins. (FEP - Fluorinated
ethylene-propylene. A thermo-plastic material with good electrical insulating properties
and chemical and heat resistance.). (TFE - Tetrafluoroethylene. A thermoplastic material with good
electrical insulating properties and chemical and heat resistance.). It is not suitable where subjected to
nuclear radiation and does not have good high voltage characteristics. FEP Teflon is extrudable in a
manner similar to PVC and
polyethylene. This means that long wire and cable lengths are available. TFE Teflon is
extrudable in a hydraulic ram type process. Lengths are limited due to amount of material in the ram,
thickness of the insulation, and preform size. TFE must be extruded
over a silver- or nickel-coated wire. The cost of Teflon is approximately 8 to 10 times more per pound than
PVC compounds.
Tefzel - Fluorocopolymer thermoplastic material has excellent electrical properties, heat
resistance, chemical resistance, toughness, radiation resistance, and flame resistance.
Telecommunication Color Codes – individually telecommunication cable conductors are color-coded with
solid colors or by applying a colored band to solid colored wires.
Telemetry Cable - cable used for transmission of information from instruments to the
peripheral recording equipment
Temperature Rating - The temperature range in which a material will perform its function without undue
Tensile Strength - the pull stress required to break a given specimen.
Tension Member - a member included on a fiber cable to add tensile strength
Terminals - metal wire termination devices designed to handle one or more conductors,
and to be attached to a board, bus, or block with mechanical fasteners or clipped on.
Test Lead - a flexible, insulated lead wire used for making tests, connecting instruments
to a circuit temporarily, or for making temporary electrical connections.
TEW - Canadian Standards Association type appliance wires. Solid or stranded single
conductor, plastic-insulated 600V, 105C
Textile Braid - any braid made from threads of cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers.
TFFN - fixture wire, thermoplastic-covered solid or 7 strands with nylon sheath. 60C
Thermal Aging - exposure to a thermal condition of programmed series of conditions for pre-described
periods of time
Thermal Rating - the maximum and/or minimum temperature at which a material will
perform its function without undue degradation.
Thermal Shock - a test to determine the ability of a material to withstand heat and cold
by subjecting it to rapid and wide changes in temperature
Thermocouple - a device consisting of two dissimilar metals in physical contact, which
when heated will develop an emf output
Thermocouple Element - a thermocouple designed to be used as part of an assembly, but without
associated parts such as the terminal block, connecting head, or protection
Thermocouple Extension Cable - a cable comprised of one or more twisted thermocouple extension wires
under a common sheath.
Thermocouple Extension Wire - a pair of wires of dissimilar alloys having such emftemperature
characteristics complementing the thermocouple which is intended to be used, such that when properly
connected allows the emf to be faithfully transmitted to the reference point.
Thermocouple Wire (Grade) - a pair of wires of dissimilar alloys having emftemperature
characteristics calibrated to high temperature levels than the extension type of thermocouple wires
Thermoplastic - A material which will soften, flow, or distort appreciably when
subjected to sufficient heat and pressure. Examples are polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene.
Thermoset - a material which hardens or sets by heat, chemical or radiation cross linking techniques and
which, once set, cannot be re-softened by heating.
THHN - 90C, 600 volt, nylon jacketed building wire for dry locations.
Three-Phase Current – current delivered through three wires, with each wire serving as a return for the
other two
Three-Phase Three-Wire System – an alternating current supply system comprising three conductors
over whish three-phase power is sent
THW - thermoplastic vinyl insulated building wire. Flame-retardant, moisture and heat resistant. 75C Dry
and wet locations.
THWN - same as THW but with nylon jacket overall. 75C
Tin Overcoat (TOC) - tinned copper wire, stranded, then coated with pure tin.
Tinned Copper - tin coasting added to copper to aid in soldering and inhibit corrosion.
Tinsel Wire – a low voltage stranded wire, with each strand a very thin conductor ribbon spirally wrapped
around a textile yarn
TNC connector – virtually identical to BNC connector, except it has a threaded rather than a bayonet
Topcoat - bare (untinned) copper wire, stranded, then coated with pure tin.
Transfer Impedance - for a specified cable length, transfer impendence is defined as
the ratio of internal longitude in a voltage to external current flow on the cable shield.
Transfer impendence is used to determine shield effectiveness against both the ingree
and egress of interfering signals.
Transition Splice – a cable splice which connects two different types of cable
Transmission - transfer of electric energy from one location to another through
conductors or by radiation or induction fields.
Transmission Line - An arrangement of two or more conductors, a coaxial cable, or a
waveguide used to transfer signal energy from one location to another.
Transmission Loss - the decrease or loss in power during transmission of energy from
one point to another. Usually expressed in decibels.
Transposition – interchanging the relative positions of wires to neutralize the effects of induction to or from
other circuits or, to minimize interference pickup by the lead-in during reception
Tray - a cable tray is a unit or assembly of units or sections, and associated fittings,
made of noncombustible materials forming a rigid structural system used to support
Tray Cable - a factory-assembled muticonductor or multipair control, signal or power
cable specifically approved under the National Electric Code for installation in trays
Triaxial Cable - A cable construction having a conductor, and two isolated braid
shields, all insulated from each other. A coaxial cable with a second braid applied over
an inner jacket and an outer jacket applied over the outer braid. Commonly used in
television camera systems.
Triboelectric Noise - Noise generated in a shielded cable due to variations in
capacitance between the shield and conductors as the cable is flexed.
Triple (Triad) - a cable consisting of three insulated single conductor cables twisted
Triplex - a cable composed of three insulated single conductor cables twisted together.
Twinaxial Cable (Twinax) - pair of insulated conductors encased in a common outer conductor (shield)
Twin Cable - a cable composed of two separately insulated stranded conductors laid
parallel or twisted together.
Twin Coaxial Cable - a single cable consisting of two separate coaxial cables laid
adjacent and parallel or twisted together.
Twin Line - a transmission line which has a solid insulating material, in which the two
conductors are placed in parallel to each other.
Twinner - a device for twisting together two conductors.
Twisted Pair - Two lengths of insulated conductors twisted together. The traditional
method for connecting home and many business computers to the telephone company.
Gets its name because two insulated copper wires are twisted together, both of which
are needed for each connection. In commercial environments, performance of data
transmission can be improved by adding a composite tape to the wire. This is known as
shielded twisted pair.
Twisted Triad - any three individually insulated conductors which are twisted together
U-Bend Test – a cable test in which the insulation is tested for resistance to corona and ozone
UHF - abbreviation for ultra high frequency, 300 to 3,000 Mhz.
UL - Underwriters Laboratories. A nonprofit organization which tests and verifies
construction and performance of electronic parts and equipment, including wire and
UL Listed – a product that has been tested and found to comply with applicable standards
Unbalanced Circuit (Line) - a transmission line in which voltages on the two conductors are unequal with
respect to ground; e.g., a coaxial cable
Unbalanced-to-Ground – describing a two-wire circuit, where the impedance-to-ground on one wire is
measurably different from that on the other
Unidirectional Concentric Stranding - a stranding where each successive layer has a
different lay length, thereby retaining a circular from without migration of strands from
one layer to another
Unilay - more than one layer of helically laid wires with the direction of lay and length of lay the same for
all layers.
UTP – Unshielded Twisted Pair; two wires, usually twisted around each other to help cancel out induced
noise in adjacent circuits.
Valley - any void between the insulated conductors of cable or between a cable core and it's covering.
See also interstice
Velocity of Propagation - The transmission speed of electrical energy in a length of
cable compared to speed of light in free space. Usually expressed as a percentage.
VHF - Very High Frequency. International Telecommunication Union designation for the
30-300 MHz band of frequencies.
Video Pair Cable - a transmission cable containing low-loss pairs with impedance of 125 ohms. Used for
TV pick ups, closed circuit TV, telephone carrier circuits, etc
VLF – very low frequencies, the band extending from 10 to 30 kHz
Volt - A unit of electrical “pressure.” One volt us the amount of pressure that will cause one ampere of
current to flow through the ohm if resistance
Voltage - Electrical potential of electromotive force expressed in volts.
Voltage Breakdown – a test to determine the maximum voltage insulated wire can withstand before failure
Voltage, Corona Extinction – the minimum voltage that sustains corona, determined by applying a corona
producing voltage, then decreasing the voltage until corona is extinct
Voltage Drop – the voltage developed across a conductor by the current and the resistance or impedance
of the conductor
Voltage, Induced – a voltage produced in a conductor by a change in magnetic flux from an outside
Voltage Levels - power-limited 0-300 volts, low voltage 600-2000 volts, medium voltage 5000-69000
Voltage Rating - The highest voltage that may be continuously applied to a cable
construction in conformance with standards or specifications
Voltage Stranding Wave Radio (VSWR) - the ratio of the maximum effective voltage to the minimum
effective voltage measured along the length of miss-matched radio frequency transmission line.
Voltage to Ground – the voltage between an energized source and earth
Volume Resistively (Specific Insulation Resistance) - the electrical resistance between opposite faces of a
1 cm. cube of insulating material, commonly expressed in ohms/centimeter.
Vulcanization - an irreversible process during which a rubber or polymeric compound
through a change in its chemical structure (for example, crosslinking) become thermoset.
VW-1 - A flammability rating established by Underwriters Laboratories for wires and
cables that pass a specially designed vertical flame test, formerly designed FR-1.
Wall Thickness - The thickness of an insulation or jacket.
Water Absorption - water by percent weight absorbed by a material after a given immersion period.
Water Blocked Cable - a cable constructed with no internal voids in order to allow no
longitudinal water passage under given pressure.
Water Treeing – a type of insulation deterioration that can occur after long term immersion in water with
an electrical stress applied
Waterfall – the point at which cables installed horizontally in a tray transition to a vertical section of tray
Watt - A unit of electrical power.
Wavelength - The distance between positive peaks of a signal. As the frequency increases, and waves
get closer together, the wavelength decreases.
Weight Resistivity – the resistance in ohms at a specified temperature of a copper wire of uniform cross
section and of unit weight and unit length
Welding – joining the ends of two wires, rods, or groups of wires by fusing, using the application of heat or
pressure or both, by mean of a flame torch, electric arc, or electric current or by cold pressure
Wicking - the longitudinal flow of a liquid in a wire or cable due to capillary action.
Wire - a single conductor, typically with a covering of insulating.
Wire Braid – flexible wire constructed of small size strands in tubular form; used for shielding or
connections where constant flexing is required
Wire Serve Armor – consists of 1/8 to ¼ inch diameter solid steel wires, which are laid helically around
the circumference of the cable to reduce the effects of corrosion.
Wire Shields – metallic wire shields on power cables, applied to copper wires and UniShield
Wire Gauge - a measure of the diameter or size of wires. The sizes are expressed by
Working Voltage - see voltage rating
Wrapper – an insulating barrier applied as a sheet of tape wrapped around a coil periphery
X – symbol for reactance
XHHW - high temperature (90C) chemically cross-linked polyethylene jacketed small
diameter building wire.
XLP - Cross-linked polyethylene
Yield Strength - the minimum stress at which a material will start to physically deform
without further increase in load.
Z - Symbol for impedance
ZW - NEC conductor type designation for conductors with ETFE insulating for use in
wet or dry locations
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