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AAR. American Association of Railroads

Abrasion Resistance. Ability of a wire, cable or material to resist surface wear.

Accelerated Aging. A test in which voltage, temperature, etc. , are increased above normal operating values to obtain observable deterioration in a relatively short period of time. The plotted results give expected service life under normal conditions.

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 current circuit due to inductive and capacitive effects, as well as the direct current resistance.

Activator. A chemical additive used to initiate the chemical reaction in a specific chemical mixture.

Active Current. In an alternating current, a component in phase with the voltage; the working component as distinguished from the idle or wattless component.

Active Pressure. In an A.C. circuit, the pressure which produces a current, as distinguished from the voltage impressed upon the circuit.

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 pole or other overhead structure.

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 various conditions or media. )

Air Core Cable. A telephone cable in which the interstices in the cable core are not filled with a moisture barrier.

Air Spaced Coaxial Cable. One in which air is the essential dielectric material. A spirally wound synthetic filament or spacer may be used to center the conductor.

Alloy. A metal formed by combining two or more different metals to obtain desirable properties.

Alpeth. An aerial telephone cable having an aluminum shield.

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 Capacity. )

Ampere. The unit of current. One ampere is the current flowing through one ohm or resistance at one volt potential.

Anneal. Relief of mechanical stress through heat and gradual cooling. Annealing copper renders it less brittle.

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. American National Standards Institute.

Anti-Oxidant. A substance that prevents or slows down oxygen decomposition (oxidation) of a material exposed to air.

Anti-Ozonant. A substance which prevents or slows down material degradation 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 a gas or liquid insulation under specified conditions.

Arc Resistance. The time required for an arc to establish a conductive path in a material.

Area of conductor. The sized 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 outer sheath.

Armored Cable. A cable having a metallic covering for protection against mechanical injury.

ASA. The American Standards Association. Former name of ANSI.

ASME. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

ASP. A filled direct burial telephone cable used in areas subject to rodent attack. It consists of a filled cable core, corrugated aluminum shield, corrugated steel tape, flooding compound and polyethylene jacket.

ASTM. The American Society for Testing and Materials.

Attenuation. Power loss in an electrical system. In cables, generally expressed in dB per unit length, usually 1,000 ft.

Audio Frequency. The range of frequencies audible to the human ear. Usually 20-20,000 Hz.

AWG. Abbreviation for American Wire Gauge.

AWM. Designation for appliance wiring material.

Band Marking. A continuous circumferential band applied to a conductor at regular intervals for identification.

Band Width. The frequency range of transmitted electrical signals, expressed in Hertz.

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.

Bare Conductor. A conductor having no covering. A conductor with no coating or cladding on the copper.

BCF. Abbreviation for billion conductor feet. A quantity derived by multiplying the number of conductors in a cable by the amount of cable. Usually used to indicate plant capacity or an annual requirement.

Binder. A spirally served tape or thread used for holding assembled cable components in place awaiting subsequent manufacturing operations.

Bond. The attachment at an interface between an adhesive and an adherent or between materials attached together by adhesive.

Bond Strength. Amount of adhesion between surfaces, e.g. , in bonded ribbon cable.

Boot. A protective covering over any portion of a cable or conductor in addition to its jacket or insulation.

Braid. A fibrous or metallic group of filaments interwoven in cylindrical form to form a covering over one or more wires.

Braid Angle. The smaller of the two angles formed by the shielding strand and the axis of the cable being shielded.

Braid Carrier. A spool or bobbin on a braider which holds one group of strands or filaments consisting of a specific number of ends. The carrier revolves during braiding operations.

Braid 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.

Brazing. The joining of ends of two wires, rods or groups of wires with a nonferrous filler metal at temperatures above 800oF (427oC).

Breakdown (Puncture). A disruptive discharge through the insulation.

Breakdown of Insulation. Failure of an insulation resulting in a flow of 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 breaks down.

Breakout. The point at which a conductor or group of conductors break out from a multi-conductor cable to complete circuits at various points along the main cable.

B. & S. Abbreviation for "Brown & Sharpe Wire Gauge" - same as American Wire Gauge.

Building Wire. Wire used for light and power, 600 volts or less, usually not exposed to outdoor environment.

Bunch Stranding. A group of wires of the same diameter twisted together without a predetermined pattern.

Buried Cable. A cable installed directly in the earth without use of underground conduit. Also called "direct burial cable. "

Cable. A group of individually insulated conductors in twisted or parallel configuration, with or without an overall covering.

Cable Assembly. A completed cable and its associated hardware ready to install.

Cable Filler. The material used in multiple conductor cables to occupy the spaces formed by the assembly or components, thus forming a core of the desired shape (normally cylindrical).

Cabling. The twisting together of two or more insulated conductors to form a cable.

Cabling Factor. Used in the formula for calculating the diameter of an unshielded, unjacketed cable. D=Kd, 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 an the distance 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, short-circuited to ground.

Capacitance, Unbalance. An inequality of capacitance between the wires of two or more pairs which result in a transfer of unwanted signals from one pair to others.

Capacitance, Unbalance To Ground. An inequality of capacitance between the ground capacitance of the conductors of a pair which results in a pickup of external source energy, usually from power transmission lines.

Capacitance Coupling. Electrical interaction between two conductors caused by the capacitance between them.

Carrier. The basic woven grouping of a braided shield, consisting of one or several parallel ends.

Cathode. Negative pole of an electric source.

Cathode 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. An acronym for Community Antenna Television

CCTV. Closed Circuit Television.

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 is normally generated by a Quality Control Department, 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 to every point along a transmission line on which there are no standing 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 time.

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 instantaneous applied DC voltage change.

Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene (CSPE). A rubbery polymer made by treating polyethylene with chlorine and sulfur dioxide. It is suitable compounded and crosslinked for application as jacket or as insulation. Manufactured by E.I. DuPont under trade name Hypalon.

Circuit. The complete path through which a current flows or part of the complete path, such as one conductor.

Circuit Sizes. A popular term for building wire sizes 14 through 10 AWG.

Circuit Mil. The area of a circle one mil (.001") in diameter; 7.845 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 is continuously welded.

CL2X. Designation of cable which meets VW-1 flame test for Class 2 systems.

CL2. Designation of cable which meets Vertical Tray flame test for Class 2 systems.

CL2R. Designation of Riser Cable which meets Riser flame test for Class 2 systems.

CL2P. Designation of Plenum Cable which meets Steiner Tunnel flame test of Class 2 systems.

CL3X. Designation of cable which meets VW-1 flame test for Class 3 systems.

CL3. Designation of cable which meets Vertical Tray flame test for Class 3 systems.

CL3R. Designation of Riser Cable which meets Riser flame test for Class 3 systems.

CL3P. Designation of Plenum Cable which meets Steiner Tunnel test for Class 3 systems.

CMX. Designation of cable which meets VW-1 flame test for Communication Systems.

CM. Designation of cable which meets Vertical Tray flame test for Communication Systems.

CMR. Designation of Riser Cable which meets Riser flame test for Communication Systems.

CMP. Designation of Plenum Cable which meets Steiner tunnel test for Communication Systems.

Coat. To cover with a continuous layer of compound (such as varnish) for purposes of finishing, protecting or enclosing. Usually comprises variable degrees of impregnation depending on the nature of the substance.

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 a dielectric.

Cold flow. Permanent deformation of the insulation due to mechanical force or pressure (not due to heat softening).

Cold Test. Any test to determine the performance of cables during or after subjection to a specified low temperature for a specified time.

Color 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 tow conductor groups then selected as pairs. This practice yields smaller diameter constructions than does a separate axis construction, but tends to yield greater susceptibility to EMI and ESI.

Common Mode. (Noise), caused by a difference in "ground potential. " By grounding at either end rather than both ends (usually grounded at source) one can reduce this interference.

Compact Stranded Conductor. A unidirectional or conventional concentric conductor manufactured to a specified diameter, approximately 8 to 10% below the nominal diameter of a noncompact conductor of the same cross sectional area.

Compatibility. The ability of dissimilar materials to exist in mutual proximity or contact without changing their physical or electrical properties.

Composite Cable. A cable consisting of two or more different types or sizes of wires.

Compound. An insulating or jacketing material made by mixing two or more ingredients.

Concentric Stranding. A central wire surrounded by one or more layers of helically wound strands in a fixed round geometric arrangement.

Concentricity. In a wire 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 measured in mhos.

Conductivity. The capability of a material to carry electrical current - usually expressed as a percentage of copper conductivity (copper being 100%).

Conductor. An uninsulated wire suitable for carrying electrical current.

Conduit. A tube or trough in which insulation wire and cables are run.

Connector. A device used to physically and electrically connect two or more conductors.

Contact. The part of a connector which actually carries the electrical current, and are touched together or separated to control the flow.

Continuity Check. A test to determine whether electricity 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 wire coating materials.

Control Cable. A multi-conductor cable made for operation in control or signal circuits.

Copolymer. A polymer formed from two or more types of Monomer.

Copper-Clad. Steel with a coating of copper welded to it, as distinguished from copper-plated. Same as Copperweld.

Copperweld. The trade name of Flexo Wire Division (Copperweld Steel Corp. ) for their copper-clad steel conductors.

Cord. A small, flexible insulated cable.

Core. In cables, a component or assembly of components over which additional components (shield, sheath, etc. ) are applied.

Corona. A discharge due to ionization of air around a conductor due to a potential gradient exceeding a certain critical value.

Corona Effect (of A.C. ). In wiring, the effect produced when two wires or 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 together.

Corona Resistance. The time that the insulation will withstand a specified 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 a cable to withstand the formation of corona under an increasing applied voltage and to extinguish corona when a corona-producing voltage is reduced.

Corrosion. The deterioration of a material by chemical reaction of galvanic action.

Crazing. The minute cracks 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 materials are usually improved.

Crosstalk. Signal interference between nearby conductors by pickup of stray energy. It is also called induced interference.

C.S.A. Abbreviation for Canadian Standards Association. The Canadian counterpart of the Underwriters' Laboratories.

Cure. See Vulcanization.

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 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 by an object under conditions or pressure, temperature, etc.

CV (Continuous Vulcanizations). Simultaneous extrusion and vulcanization of wire coating materials.

Cycle. The complete sequence of alteration or reversal of the flow of an alternating electric current.

D.C. Abbreviation for "Direct Current."

Decibel (dB). A unit to express difference of power level. Used to express power gaining amplifiers or power loss in passive circuits of cables.

Delay Line. A cable made to provide very low velocity of propagation with long electrical delay for transmitted signals.

Derating Factor. A factor used to reduce the current carrying capacity of a wire when used in environments other than that for which the value was established.

Dielectric. Any insulating material between two conductors which permits electrostatic attraction and repulsion to take place across it.

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 given dielectric strength.

Dielectric Constant (K). The ratio of the capacitance of a condenser with dielectric between the electrodes to the capacitance when air is between the electrodes. Also called Permittivity and Specific Inductive Capacity.

Dielectric Strength. The voltage which an insulation can withstand before breakdown occurs. Usually expressed as a voltage gradient (such as volts per mil).

Dielectric Test. A test in which a voltage higher than the rated voltage is applied for a specified time to determine the adequacy of the insulation under normal conditions.

Direct Burial Cable. A cable installed directly into the earth.

Direct Capacitance. The capacitance measured directly from conductor to conductor through a single insulating 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.

Dissipation Factor. The target of the loss angle of the insulating material. (Also referred to as loss tangent, tan S, and approximate power factor).

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 uninsulated wire in intimate contact with a shield to provide for easier termination of such a shield to a group point.

Drawing. In wire manufacturing, pulling the metal through a die or series of dies to reduce diameter to a specific size.

Duct. An underground or overhead tube for carrying electrical conductors.

Duplex Insulated. In the thermocouple industry, a combination of dissimilar metal conductors 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.

EIA. Abbreviation for Electronic Industries Association.

Elastomer. A rubber-like substance.

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.

Electrostatic. Pertaining to static electricity or electricity at rest. A constant intensity electric charge.

Elongation. The fractional increase in length of a material stressed in tension.

EMI. Abbreviation for Electromagnetic Interference.

Ends. In braiding, the number of essentially parallel wires or threads on a carrier.

Ethylene Propylene Rubber (EPR). An ozone resistant rubber consisting primarily of ethylene propylene copolymer (EPM) or ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EDPM).

External Interference. The effects of electrical waves or fields which cause sounds other than the desired signal (static).

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.

FAA. Federal Aeronautics Administration.

Farad. A unit of electrical capacity.

Fatigue Resistance. Resistance to metal crystallization which leads to conductors or wires breaking from flexing.

FEP. Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene is a "Teflon" fluorocarbon resin and is a registered TM of the DuPont Company. This is a melt extrudable fluorocarbon resin.

Field. Area through which pass electric and/or magnetic lines of force.

Figure 8 Cable. An aerial cable configuration in which the conductors and the steel strand which supports the cable are integrally jacketed. A cross section of the finished cable approximates the figure "eight".

Filled Cable. A telephone cable construction in which the cable core is filled with material that will prevent moisture from entering or passing through the cable.

Filler. 1) A material used in multi-conductor cables to occupy large interstices formed by the assembled conductors. 2) An inert substance added to a compound to improve properties or decrease cost.

Film. A thin plastic sheet.

Flame Resistance. The ability of a material to propagate flame once the heat source is removed.

Flame Retardance. Ability of a material to prevent the spread of combustion by a low rate of travel so the flame will not be conveyed.

Flammability. The measure of the material's ability to support combustion.

Flammability Test. A test to determine the ability of a cable to resist ignition when placed near a source of heat or flame and to self-extinguish when removed from this source.

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 ease with which a cable may be bent.

Foamed Plastics. Insulations having a cellular structure.

F.P.A. A trademark of General Cable Corporation for fused polyethylene aluminum.

FPL. Designation of cable which meets Vertical Tray flame test for Fire Protection Signaling Systems.

FPLP. Designation of Plenum Cable which meets Steiner Tunnel Test for Fire Protection Signaling Systems.

FPLR. Designation of Riser Cable which meets Riser flame test for Fire Protection Signaling Systems.

FR-1. A flammability rating established by underwriters Laboratories for wires and cables that pass a specially designed vertical flame test. This designation has been replaced by VW-1.

Frequency. Number of times an alternating current reverses itself in one second. Expressed in Hertz (Hz), which is one cycle per second.

FT1. A flammability rating established by CSA for wires or cables that pass a specially designed vertical flame test.

FT4. A flammability rating established by CSA for multi-conductor cables that pass a specially designed vertical tray fire test.

FT6. A flammability rating established by CSA for multi-conductor cables that pass a horizontal flame and smoke test sometimes referred to as the "Steiner Tunnel Test".

Gang Strip. Simultaneous stripping of all conductors in a flat or ribbon cable.

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.

Ground. A conducting connection between an electrical circuit and the earth or other large conducting body to serve as an earth thus making a complete electrical circuit.

Halar. A trade name of Allied Chemical for their copolymer or ethylene and chlorotrifluoroethylene. Abbreviation ECTFE.

Halogen. Any of the five elements: Fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine. These elements may be combined with insulation compounds to enhance flame retardancy.

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 tied together or pulled into a rubber or plastic sheath, used to interconnect an electric circuit.

Hash Mark Stripe. A noncontinuous helical strip applied to a conductor for identification.

Heat Distortion. Distortion or flow of a material configuration due to application of heat.

Heat Endurance. The time of heat 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 thermalfusion.

Heat Shock. A test to determine stability of a material by sudden exposure to a high temperature for a short period of time.

Helical Stripe. A continuous, colored, spiral stripe applied to a conductor for circuit identification.

Henry. Unit of inductance such that the induced voltage in volts is numerically equal to the rate of change in current in amperes per second.

Hermetically Sealed. A gastight enclosure that has been completely sealed by fusion or other comparable means.

Hertz (Hz). A term replacing cycles-per-second as a unit of frequency.

Hi-Pot. A test designed to determine the electrical integrity of an insulation.

HIPPI (High Performance Parallel Interface). An ANSI standard which defines the mechanical, electrical, and signal protocol requirements for a simplex, high performance, point to point interface between data processing equipment.

High Voltage. Generally, wire or cable with an operating voltage of over 35,000 volts.

Hook-up Wire. A single insulated conductor used for low-current, low voltage (usually under 600 volts) applications within enclosed electronic equipment.

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.

ICEA. Insulated Cable Engineers Association (Formerly IPCEA).

IEC. International Electrotechnical Commission, similar to the ISO in structure and scope.

IEEE. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Impact Strength. A test for determining the mechanical punishment a cable can withstand without physical or electrical breakdown by impacting with a given weight, dropped a given distance, in a controlled environment.

Impedance. The total opposition that a circuit offers to the flow of alternating current or any other varying current at a particular frequency. It is a combination of resistance R and resistance X1 measures in ohms.

IMSA. International Municipal Signal Association Specifications for Fire Alarm Cable.

Induced Current. An electrical current set up in a circuit by cutting lines of force; a current caused by electromagnetic induction.

Inductance. The property of a circuit or circuit element that opposes a change in current flow, thus causing current changes to lag behind voltage changes. It is measured in henrys.

Inductive Coupling. Crosstalk resulting from the action of the electromagnetic field of one conductor on the other.

Insulation. A material having high resistance to the flow of electric current. Often called dielectric in radio frequency cable.

Insulation Resistance (I.R. ). That resistance offered by an insulation to an impressed DC voltage, tending to produce a leakage current through the insulation.

Insulation Thickness. The wall thickness of the applied insulation.

Interaxial Spacing. 1) Center-to-center conductor spacing in paired wire or 2) Center-to-center spacing between conductors in flat cable.

Interconnecting Cable. The wiring between modules, between units, or the larger portions of a system.

Interference. Any undesired electrical signal induced into a conductor by electrical or electromagnetic means.

Interstices. Voids or valleys between individual strands in a conductor or between insulated conductors in a multi-conductor cable.

Ionization. Generally the dissociation of an atom or molecule into positive or negative ions or electrons. Restrictively the state of an insulator whereby it facilitates the passage of current due to the presence of charged particle usually included artificially.

IP (Intelligent Peripheral Interface). An ANSI standard that defines the mechanical and electrical interface requirements for peripheral devices attached to and between computers.

Irradiation. In insulations, the exposure of the material to high energy emissions for the purpose of favorable altering the molecular structure by crosslinking.

ISA. Instrument Society of America.

ISO. International Standards Organization.

Jacket. An outer covering, usually nonmetallic, mainly used for protection against the environment.

JAN Specification. Joint Army-Navy specification (forerunner of present Military Specifications).

Jumper Cable. A short flat cable interconnecting two wiring boards or devices.

Kilo. A numerical prefix denoting 1000 (103).

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.

Lay. The axial distance required for one cabled conductor or conductor strand to complete one revolution about the axis around which it is cabled.

Lay Direction. The twist in the cable as indicated by the top strands while looking along the axis of the cable away from the observer. Described as "right hand" or "left hand".

Leakage Current. The undesirable flow of current through or over the surface of an insulation.

Life Cycle. A test to determine the length of time before failure in a controlled, usually accelerated, environment.

Limits of Error. The maximum deviation (in degrees or percent) of a thermocouple or thermocouple extension wire from standard emf-temperature to be measured.

LOCO. Abbreviation for loss of coolant accident, a system malfunction associated with nuclear generating stations.

Longitudinal Shield. A tape shield, flat or corrugated, applied longitudinally with the axis of the core being shielded.

Loop Resistance. The total resistance of two conductors measured round trip from one end.

Loss Factor. The product of the dissipation and dielectric constant of an insulating material.

Low Loss Dielectric. An insulation material that has a relatively low dielectric loss, such as polyethylene or Teflon.

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 imaginary).

Magnetic Noise. Caused by change in current level, e.g. , AC powerline (created magnetic field around that cable) this magnetic field causes the magnetic noise.

MCM. One thousand circular Mils.

Megarad. A unit for measuring radiation dosage. Equal to one million (106) rads.

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.

MHz. Megahertz (one million cycles per second). Formerly mc.

Microphonics. Noise in a system caused by mechanical vibrations.

Microwave. A short (usually less than 30cm. ) electrical wave.

Mil. A unit used in measuring diameter of a wire or thickness of insulation over a conductor. One one thousandth of an inch (.001").

Mis-Match. A termination having a different impedance than that for which a circuit or cable is designed.

Modules of Elasticity. The ratio of stress to strain in an elastic material.

Moisture Absorption. The amount of moisture, in percentage, that a material will absorb under special conditions.

Moisture Resistance. The ability of a material to resist absorbing moisture from the air or when immersed in water.

Monomer. The basic chemical unit used in building a polymer.

MP. Designation of multi-purpose cable that meets Vertical Tray flame test.

MPP. Designation of multi-purpose cable that meets Steiner Tunnel test.

MPR. Designation of multi-purpose cable that meets Riser flame test.

MTW. Thermoplastic insulated machine tool wire.

Multiconductor. More than one conductor within a single cable complex.

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 in one conductor to the time rate of current change in the separate conductor causing this induction.

Mylar. DuPont trademark for polyester material used in the form of a tape.

National Electrical Code (NEC). A consensus standard published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and incorporated in OHSA regulations.

NBS. National Bureau of Standards.

NEC. Abbreviation for National Electrical Code.

NEMA. National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

Neoprene. Trade name for polychloroprene synthetic rubber, used for jacketing when suitably compounded.

NFFP. Abbreviation of National Fire Protection Association.

Noise. Unwanted and/or unintelligible signals picked up on a cable circuit.

Nylon. A group of polymers which are used for wire and cable jacketings.

OFC/OFN. Designation of Fiber Optic cable which meets Steiner Tunnel test.

OFCR/OFNR. Designation of Riser Fiber Optic cable which meets Riser flame test.

Ohm. Unit of resistance such that a constant current of one ampere produced a force of one volt.

OSHA. Abbreviation for Occupation Safety and Health Act. Specifically the Williams-Steiger law passed in 1970 covering all factors relating to safety in places of employment.

Overall Diameter. Finished diameter over wire or cable.

Overcoat. Individual strands of tin copper wire stranded together and then covered with a tin coating.

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 discharges or sparks though air or oxygen.

Pair. Two insulated wires of a single circuit associated together.

Pairing. The union of two insulated single conductors through twisting.

PAP. A commonly used term for air core (unfilled) direct burial telephone cable with a corrugated aluminum shield.

Parallel Cable. Two insulated conductors in parallel in a cable.

PASP. An air core (unfilled) direct burial telephone cable used in areas subject to rodent attack. It consists of an unfilled cable core, corrugated aluminum shield, corrugated steel tape, flooding compound and polyethylene jacket.

Peak Voltage. The maximum instantaneous voltage.

Percent Conductivity. Conductivity of a material expressed as percentage of that copper.

Periodicity. The uniformly spaced variations in the insulating diameter of a transmission cable that result in reflections of a signal, when its wavelength or a multiple thereof is equal to the distance between two diameter variations.

Permittivity. See dielectric constant.

Pick. Distance between two adjacent crossover points of braid filaments. The measurement in picks per inch indicated the degree of coverage.

Pitch. In flat cable, the nominal distance between the index edges of two adjacent conductors.

Pitch Diameter. Diameter of a circle passing through the center of the conductors in any layer of a multiconductor cable.

Plastic Deformation. Change in dimensions under 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. The air return path of a central air handling system, either ductwork or open space over a dropped ceiling.

Plenum Cable. Cable approved by Underwriters Laboratories for installation in plenums without the need for conduit.

Polyester. Polyethylene terephthalate which is used extensively in the production of a high strength moisture resistant film used as a cable core wrap.

Polyethylene. A thermoplastic material having the chemical identity of polymerized ethylene.

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. A family of thermoplastic based upon the unsaturated hydrocarbons known as olefins. When combined with butylene or styrene polymers they form compounds such as polyethylene and polypropylene.

Polypropylene. A thermoplastic polymer of propylene.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). A thermoplastic material composed of polymers of vinyl chloride which may be rigid or elastometric, depending on specific formulation.

Porosity. Multiple air voids in an insulation or jacket wall.

P.O.S. Abbreviation for point-of-sale.

Potting. The sealing of a cable termination or other component with liquid which thermosets into an elastomer.

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 the angle between the voltage applied and the current resulting.

Primary Insulation. The first layer of nonconductive material applied over a conductor, whose prime function is to act as electrical insulation.

Propagation Delay. Time required for a signal to pass from the input to the output of a device.

Propagation Time. Time required for an electrical wave to travel between two points on a transmission line.

Pulling Eye. A devise fastened to a cable to which a hook may be attached in order to pull the cable into or from a duct.

Pulse. A current or voltage that changed abruptly from one value to another and back to the original value in a finite length of time. Used to describe a particular variation in a series of wave motions.

Pulse Cable. A type of coaxial cable constructed to transmit repeated high voltage pulses without degradation.

Pyrometer. See thermocouple Thermometer.

Quad. A four conductor cable in which opposite conductors are paired.

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.

REA. Rural Electrification Administration.

Reactance. The opposition offered to the flow of alternating current by inductance or capacitance of a component or circuit.

Recovered Edge. Edge of a flat cable or conductor from which measurements are made.

Reference Junction. The junction of a thermocouple which is at 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 discontinuity.

Reflow Soldering. The process of connecting two solder-coated conductive surfaces by remelting of the solder to cause fusion.

Registration. Alignment of one object with relation to another. Also called Register.

Reinforcement. A material used to reinforce, strengthen or give dimensional stability to another material.

Resin. An organic substance of natural or synthetic origin characterized by being polymeric in structure and predominantly amorphous. Most resins, though 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, 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 its original contracted form.

RFI. Abbreviation for Radio Frequency Interference.

RG/U. Abbreviation for Radio Government, Universal. RG is the military designation for coaxial cable and U stands for "general utility. "

Ribbon Cable. A flat cable of individually insulated conductors lying parallel and held together by means of adhesive or woven textile yarn.

Ridge Marker. One or more ridges running laterally along the outer surface of a plastic insulated wire for purposes of identification.

Ringing Out. The process of locating or identifying specific conductive paths by means of passing current through selected conductors.

Rise Time. The time required for the initially zero potential existing on transmission line (which is terminated in its characteristic impedance) to change from 10% to 90% of its full DC value after a DC potential source is instantaneously applied.

RMS or rms. Abbreviation for Root Mean Square.

Rockwell Hardness. 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 one electrostatic unit of ion per cubic centimeter volume.

Rope Lay Conductor. A conductor composed of a central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically laid groups of wire.

Rope Stand. A conductor composed of a center group of twisted strands surrounded by layers of helically laid groups of wire.

Round Conductor. A conductor whose cross section is substantially circular.

Routing. The path followed by a cable or conductor.

Rulan. DuPont's trade name for their flame-retardant polyethylene insulation 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. Abbreviation for Society of Automotive Engineers.

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface). An ANSI standard which defines mechanical, electrical, and functional requirements for interconnection of small computers and peripherals and other small computer systems.

Secondary Insulation. A high resistance dielectric material which is placed over primary insulation to protect it from abrasion.

Self-Extinguishing. The characteristic of a material whose flame is extinguished after the igniting flame is removed.

Self-supporting Aerial Cable. A cable consisting of one or more insulated conductors factor-assembled with a messenger which supports the assemblage and which may or may not form a part of the electric circuit.

Self-Supporting Cable. Any assemblage of conductors which incorporates a steel rope or 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 potential.

Semiconductor. A material that has a resistance characteristic between that of insulators and conductors.

Semi-Rigid PVC. A hard semi-flexible polyvinylchloride compound with low plasticizer content.

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.

Serve. A filament or group of filaments such as fibers or wires, wound around a central core.

Served Wired Armor. Spiral wrap of soft galvanized steel wires wrapped around a cable to afford mechanical protection and increase the cable pulling tension characteristics.

Sheath. The outer covering or jacket of a cable.

Shield. A metallic layer placed around a conductor or group of conductors to prevent electrostatic interference between the enclosed wire and external fields.

Shield Coverage. The physical area of a cable that is actually covered by the shielding material and is expressed in percent.

Shield Effectiveness. The relative ability of a shield to screen out undesirable signals.


Shield Percentage. The physical area of a circuit or cable actually covered by shielding material, expressed in percent.

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.

Signal. A current used to convey information, either digital, analog, audio or video.

Signal Cable. A cable designed to carry current of usually less than one ampere per conductor.

Sintering. Fusion of a spirally applied tape wrap jacket by the use of high heat to a homogeneous continuum. Usually employed for fluorocarbon, nonextrudable materials.

Skin Effect. The tendency of alternating current, as its frequency increases, to travel only on the surface of a conductor.

SNM. A cable designed for 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.

Solid Conductor. A single unit not divided into parts.

Spacing. Distance between the closest edges of two adjacent conductors.

Span. In flat cables, the distance from the reference edge of the first conductor to the reference edge of the last conductor (in cables having flat conductors), or the distance between the centers of the first and last conductor (in cables having round conductor), expressed in inches or centimeters.

Spark Test. A test designed to locate imperfections (usually pinholes in the insulation 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 filed.

Specific Gravity. The ratio of the density (mass per unit volume) of a material to that of water.

Specific Inductive Capacity (S.I.C. ). Same as dielectric constant.

Spiral Wrap. The helical wrap of a material over a core.

Stability Factor. The difference between the percentage power factor at 80 volts/mil and at 40 volts/mil measured on wire immersed in water 75oC 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 transmission line. The existence of voltage and current maxima and minima along a transmission line is a result of reflected energy from an impedance mismatch.

Standing Wave Ration (SWR). A ratio of the maximum amplitude to the minimum amplitude of a standing wave stated in current or voltage amplitudes.

Static Condition. Used to denote the environmental conditions of an installed cable rather than the conditions existing during cable installation.

Strand. A single uninsulated wire.

Stranded Conductor. A conductor composed of individual groups of wires twisted together to form an entire unit.

Strip Force. The force required to remove a small section of insulating material from the conductor it covers.

Suggested Working Voltage. AC voltage that can be applied between adjacent conductors.

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 crosslinks.

Sweep Test. A method to determine the frequency response of a cable by generating an RF voltage whose frequency is varied at a rapid constant rate over a given range.

Switchboard Cable. A cable used within and between the central office and main frames and the switchboard.

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.

Tape Wrap. A spirally applied tape over an insulated or uninsulated wire.

Tear Strength. The force required to initiate or continue a tear in a material under specified conditions.

Teflon. A DuPont Company trademark for polytetrafluorethylene.

Temperature Rating. The maximum temperature at which an insulating material may be used in continuous operation without loss of its basic properties.

Tensile Strength. The pull stress required to break a given specimen.

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 metal 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 protecting tube.

Thermocouple Extension Wire. A pair of wires of dissimilar alloys having such emf-temperature characteristics complimenting the thermocouple which is intended to be used, such that when properly connected allows the emf to be faithfully transmitted to the reference junction.

Thermocouple Wire (Grade). A pair of wires of dissimilar alloys having emf-temperature characteristics calibrated to higher temperature levels than the extension type of thermocouple wire.

Thermoplastic. A material which softens when heated and becomes firm on cooling.

Thermoset. A material which hardens or sets by heat, chemical or radiation cross-linking techniques and which, once set, cannot be resoftened by heating.

THHN. 90°C, 600 volt, nylon jacketed building wire for dry locations.

THWN. 75°C, 600 volt, nylon jacketed building wire for wet and dry locations.

Tin Overcoat (TOC). Tinned copper wire, stranded, then coated with tin.

Tinned Copper. Tin coating added to copper to aid in sodering and inhibit corrosion.

Tinsel. A type of electrical conductor comprised of a number of tiny threads, each thread having a fine, flat ribbon of copper or other metal closely spiralled about it. Used for small-sized cables requiring limpness and extra-long flex life.

Topcoat. Bare (untinned) copper wire, stranded, then coated with tin.

Transfer Impedance. For a specified cable length, transfer impedance is defined as the ratio of internal longitude in a voltage to external current flow on the cable shield. Transfer impedance is used to determine shield effectiveness against both the ingress and egress of interfering signals.

Transmission Line. A signal-carrying circuit controlled electrical characteristics used to transmit high-frequency or narrow-pulse signals.

Transmission Loss. The decrease or loss in power during transmission of energy from one point to another. Usually expressed in decibels.

Tray. A cable tray is a unit or assembly of units or sections, and associated fittings, made of noncombustable materials forming a rigid structural system used to support cables.

Tray Cable. A factory-assembled multiconductor or multipair control, signal or power cable specifically approved under the National Electrical Code for installation in trays.

Triaxial Cable. A cable construction having three coincident axes, such as conductor, first shield and second shield all insulated from one another.

Triboelectric Noise. Noise generated in a shielded cable due to variations in capacitance between shielding and conductor as the cable is flexed.

Triple (Triad). A cable consisting of three insulated single conductors twisted together.

Triplex. A cable composed of three insulated single conductor cables twisted together.

Tubing. A tube of extruded nonsupported plastic or metallic material.

Twin Cable. A cable composed of two separately insulated stranded conductors laid parallel under a common covering.

Twin Coaxial Cable. A single cable consisting of two separately coaxial cables laid adjacent and parallel or twisted together.

Twisted Pair. A twisted pair is composed of two small separately insulated wires twisted together without a common covering.

Twisted Triad. Any three individually insulated conductors which are twisted together.

UF. Thermoplastic underground feeder and branch circuit cable.

UGF. Abbreviation for ultra high frequency, 300 to 3000 MHz.

UL. Abbreviation for Underwriter Laboratories, a non-profit independent organization, which operated a listing service for electrical and electronic materials and equipment.

Unbalanced Circuit. A transmission line in which voltages of the two conductors are unequal with respect to ground e.g. a coaxial cable.

Unilay. More than one layer of helically laid wires with the direction of lay and length of lay the same for all layers.

Valley. Any void between the insulted conductors of a cable or between a cable core and its covering. See also interstice.

Velocity of Propagation. The speed of an electrical signal down a length of cable compared to speed in free space expressed as a percent. It is the reciprocal of the square root of the dielectric constant of the cable insulation.

VHF. Abbreviation for very high frequency, 30 to 300 MHz.

Video Pair Cable. A transmission cable containing low-loss pairs with an impedance of 125 ohms. Used for TV pick ups, closed circuit TV, telephone carrier circuits, etc.

Volt. A unit of electrical pressure. One volt is the amount of pressure that will cause one ampere of current in one ohm of resistance.

Voltage. Electrical potential or electromotive force expressed in volts.

Voltage Rating. The highest voltage that may be continuously applied to a wire in conformance with standards or specifications.

Voltage Standing Wve Ratio (VSWR). The ratio of the maximum effective voltage to the minimum effective voltage measured along the length of a mis-matched radio frequency transmission line.

Volume Resistiviety (Specific Insulation Resistance). The electrical resistance between opposite faces of a 1 cm. Cube of insulation 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) becomes thermoset.

VW-1. A flammability rating established by Underwriters Laboratories for wires and cables that pass a specially designed vertical flame test, formerly designated FR-1.

Wall Thickness. The thickness of the applied insulation or jacket.

Water Absorption. Water by percent weight absorbed by a material after a given immersion period.

Watt. A unit of electrical power. One watt is equivalent to the power represented by one ampere of current under a pressure of one volt in DC circuit.

Wavelength. The distance, measured in the direction of propagation, of a repetitive electrical pulse or waveform between two successive points.

Wicking. The lognitudinal flow of liquid in a wire or cable due to capillary action.

Wire. A single conductor, typically with a covering of insulation.

Wire Gauge. A measure of the diameter of sizes of wires. The sizes are expressed by numbers.

Working Voltage. See Voltage Rating.

XLP. Crosslinking polyethylene.

Yield Strength. The minimum stress at which a material will start to physically deform without further increase in load.

Zytel. DuPont's trade name for nylon resins.


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