Glossary

We've put together a list of words, abbreviations, acronyms and descriptions that will help describe many of the terms on this site, as well as offering a wealth of information on a wide range of related subjects.

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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.


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


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


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


Active Pressure
In an A.C. circuit the pressure that products a current as distinguished from the voltage impressed upon the circuit.


Adhesion
The state in which interfacial forces that may be chemical or mechanical in nature hold tow surfaces together.


Aerial Cable
A cable suspended in the air on poles 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 Gap
The minimum gap of air between two conducting surfaces permissible at given voltages.


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


Alternating Current (AC)
Electric current that continually reverses its direction. It is expressed in cycles per second.


Ambient Temperature
The temperature of a medium surrounding an object.


American Wire Gauge (AWG)
A standard system for designating wire diameter. Primarily used in the United States.


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


Ampactiy
The maximum current an insulated wire or cable can safely carry without exceeding either the insulation or jacket material limitations.


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


Analog
Representation of data by continuously variable quantities.


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


ANSI
Abbreviation for American National Standards Institute.


Anti-Oxidant
A substance which prevents or slows down oxidation of material exposed to heat.


Area of conductor
The size of a conductor cross-section measured in circular mils, spare inches, etc.


Armor
A wrapping of metal, usually steel or aluminum, used for mechanical protection. Placed over the jacket sheath.


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


ASA
Abbreviation for American Standards Association. Former name of ANSI.


ASCII
American Standard Code for Information Interchange.


ASME
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


Aspect Ratio
The ratio of length to diameter of yarn filament or yarn bundle.


ASTM
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
Those frequencies audible to the human ear, generally considered to be in the range of 32 to 16,000 hertz (Hz).


AWG
Abbreviation for American Wire Gauge. The standard system used for designating wire diameter. The lower the AWG number, the larger the diameter.


AWM
UL or CSA designation for Appliance Wiring Material.


Axis of Braiding
The average direction of all yarns in a braided fabric.


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


Bandwidth
The difference between the upper and lower limits of a given band of frequencies. Expressed in hertz (Hz).


Bare Conductor
An electrical conductor with no coating or cladding on the copper.


Bend Radius
The radius of curvature that a wire or cable can bend without causing any damaging effects.


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


Bit
One binary digit.


Bit Error Rate (EBR)
Discrepancy between outgoing and incoming bits transmitted between date equipment.


Bobbin
A cylinder or slightly tapered barrel, with or without flanges, for holding slubbings, rovings, or yarns.


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 cemented ribbon cable.


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 or 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.


Braid, Biaxial
Braided fabric with two-yarn systems, 1 running in the 0 direction, the other in the -0 direction.


Braid, Diamond
Braided fabric with an over one, under one weave pattern, (1 x 1).


Braid, Elastic
Any variety of braids incorporating in the longitudinal direction elastic materials either in the axial positions or as a core.


Braid, Fancy
A collective term applied to a great many braids which cannot be classified in a more specific manner, including ric-rac, gimp, looped braids, etc.


Braid, Flat
A narrow bias woven tape wherein each yarn is continuous and is intertwined with every other yarn in the system without being intertwined with itself.


Braid, Hercules
A braided fabric with an over three, under three weave pattern, (3 x 3).


Braid, Jacquard
A braided design made with the aid of a jacquard machine, which is a shedding mechanism by means of which a large number of ends may be controlled independently and complicated patterns produced.


Braid, Regular
A braided fabric with an over two, under two weave pattern, (2 x 2).


Braid, Square
A variation on tubular braid wherein the yarns are pushed into a square formation.


Braid, Three-Dimensional
Braided fabric with no less than three braiding yarns in the through thickness direction.


Braid, Triaxial
A braided fabric with laid in yarns running in the longitudinal direction.


Braid, Two-Dimensional
Braided fabric with two braiding yarns in the through thickness direction.


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 the 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.


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


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


Byte
A group of eight binary digits.


C-Track
A cable guide mechanism manufactured of either plastic or metal used in continuous flexing applications.


C.S.A.
Abbreviation for Canadian Standards Association. A not-for-profit membership based association that serves business, industry, government, and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace.


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


Cable Assembly
A length of fiber optic cable with connectors on one or both ends.


Cable Buffer
The protective material used to coat the next layer up from the fiber coating. This is usually 900 um. Also referred to as buffered fiber. This layer is applied by the cable manufacturer.


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 tow 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.


CAD/CAM
Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Manufacturing.


Campus Backbone
Wiring between buildings that share telecommunications facilities.


Canadian Standards Association
A non-profit, independent organization which operates a certification service for electrical and electronic materials and equipment.


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, 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.


Capstan
A friction type take-up device which moves braided fabric away from the fell.


Carrier
A mechanism for carrying a package of yarn through the braid weaving motion. A typical carrier consists of a bobbin spindle, a track follower, and a tensioning device.


Caterpillar Take-Up Mechanism
A friction type take-up device which involves two reciprocating belts between which a braided structure is pulled. The device moves braided fabric away from the fell.


CATV
An acronym for Community Antenna Television.


Cellular Polyethylene
Expanded or "foam" polyethylene consisting of individual closed cells suspended in a polyethylene medium.


Certificate of Compliance (C or C)
A certificate which is normally generated by the Quality Control Department, which shows that the product being shipped meets customer's specifications.


Certified 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 standing waves.


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 standing waves.


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


Circular 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.


CL2
Cables intended for general purpose use within buildings in accordance with the National Electric Code Section 725-53 (e).


Cladding
The material surrounding the core of the fiber. This material provides optical insulation and holds (confines) the modes in the fiber.


Cleaver
A device used to cleanly break the fiber prior to installing the connector.


CM
Cables intended for general purpose communications use within buildings in accordance with the National Electric Code Section 800-53 (c).


Coating
A material applied to the surface of a conductor to prevent environmental deterioration and helps to facilitate soldering.


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 trough 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 than does a separate axis construction, but tends to yield greater


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 an electrical charge. The ratio of the current flow to the potential difference causing the flow. The reciprocal of resistance.


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 or combination of wires suitable for carrying electrical current.


Conduit
A tube or trough in which insulated wires and cables are passed.


Connector
Devices used to physically and electrically connect tow or more conductors. Connectors are a generic device for providing an electrical interface between electrical equipment and/or a power source. Our connectors may not be mated or unmated under load


Connectors (Fiber Optical)
A device used on the end of a fiber optic cable that allows attachment/ interconnection to a transmitter, receiver or another fiber optic cable. Examples of most popular types are ST, SC SMA, FDDI and Biconic styles.


Contact
The part of a connector, which actually carries the electrical current, and are, touched together or separat4d 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 curing of elastomeric wire coating materials.


Control Cable
A multiconductor cable made for operation in control or signal circuits.


Copolymer
A compound resulting from the polymerization of two different monomers.


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 Test
A test to determine the ability of a cable to withstand the formation or 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 or galvanic action.


Crazing
The minute cracks on the surface of plastic materials.


Creel
A framework arranged to hold slivers, rovings, or yarns so that many ends can be withdrawn smoothly and evenly without tangling.


Creep
The dimensional change with time of a material under load.


Creep distance
The minimum dimension along the surface of an insulating material between two conducting surfaces.


Crimp
The angulations induced into a yarn and a woven fabric via the weaving process.


Crimp Angle
The maximum acute angle of a single weaving yarn's direction measured from a plane parallel to the surface of the fabric.


Crimp Exchange
The process by which a system of woven yarns reaches equilibrium when put under tension or compression.


Crimp Termination
A connection in which a metal sleeve is secured to a conductor by mechanically crimping the sleeve with pliers, presses or automated crimping machines.


Critical Angle
The angle above which total internal reflection happens. At angles lower than the critical angle, the light is refracted through the cladding.


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.


CRT
Abbreviation for Cathode Ray Tube, common terminology for a video display terminal. Also referred to as VDU or VDT.


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. This is also called ampacity.


Cut-Through Resistance
The ability of a material to withstand mechanical pressure, (usually a sharp edge or small radius) without separation.


Cycle Life
The number of repetitive flex motions that a wire or cable can withstand prior to breakdown.


D.C.
Abbreviation for "Direct Current." DC values= AC /RMS Values.


Decibel (dB)
A unit to express differences of power level. A term that expresses to power levels used to indicate gains or losses in a system.


Denier
A generally accepted linear density for yarn and yarn systems. One denier equals one gram per 9000 meters.


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 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 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.


Digital
Representation of data by discrete characters.


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 flews in only one direction.


Direct Current Resistance (D.C.R.)
The resistance offered by any circuit to the flow of direct current.


Dispersion
The cause of bandwidth limitation in a fiber. Dispersion causes a broadening of input pulses along the length of the fiber. Two major types are


Drain Wire
In a cable, the uninsulated wire in intimate contact with a shield to provide for easier termination of such a shield to ground.


Duct
An underground or overhead tube for carrying electrical cables.


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


EIA
Abbreviation for Electronic Industries Association.


Elastomer
A class of long-chain polymers capable of being crosslinked to produce elastic compounds, e.g. polychloroprene and ethylene propylene rubber.


Electromagnetic
Pertaining to the combined electric and magnetic fields associated with movement of electrons through conductors.


Electromotive Force (emf)
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.


End
An individual sliver, roving, yarn, thread, or cord.


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


Epoxy
An adhesive used in the connector termination process.


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


Expanded Diameter
Diameter of a shrink tubing as supplied. When heated, the tubing will shrink to its extruded diameter.


External Interference
The effects of electrical waves or fields which cause spurious signals other than the desired intelligence, e.g. noise.


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 conductor or core.


Farad
Unit of capacitance whereby a charge of one coulomb produces a one-volt potential difference.


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


FDDI
Stands for Fiber Data Distributed Interface.


Fell
The point of braid formation, which is defined as the point at which the yarns in a braid system cease movement relative to each other.


Fiber
A unit of matter, either natural or man-made, which forms the basic element of fabrics and other textile structures. A fiber is characterized by having a length at least 100 times its diameter or width.


Fiber Coating
The protective layer of material above the fiber cladding. Usually 250 um diameter, however, it can be 500 um or 900 um. This layer is applied by the fiber manufacturer.


Fiber Optics
Light transmission through optical fibers for communication, including voice, video and data.


Fill (Filling)
In a woven fabric, the yarn running from selvage to selvage at right angles to the warp.


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


Flame Resistance
The ability of a material not to propagate flame once the flame source is removed.


Flame retrace
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 and to self-extinguish when removed from the heat source.


Flat Cable
A cable with two smooth or corrugated but essentially flat surfaces.


Flex Life
The measurement of the ability of a conductor or cable to withstand repeated bending.


Flexibility
That 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.


Flexible
The quality of a cable or cable component which allows for bending under the influence of an outside force, as opposed to limpness which is bending due to the cable's own weight.


Foamed Plastics
Insulations having a cellular structure.


Former Plate
A die attached to a braiding machine which helps to locate the fell.


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


FT4
Flammability rating established by Canadian Standards Association for a vertical flame test of cables in cable trays.


FT6
Flammability rating established by Canadian Standards Association for horizontal flame and smoking testing of cables.


FTI
Flammability rating established by Canadian Standards Association for a vertical flame test of wire and cable.


Gauge
A term used to denote the physical size of a wire.


Gigahertz (Ghz)
A unit of frequency equal to one billion hertz.


GPIB
Abbreviation for General Purpose Interface Bus Assembly typically used for interconnecting measurement devices.


Ground
A conducting connection between an electrical circuit and the earth or the large conducting body to serve as an earth thus completing the electrical circuit.


Hackle
Multiple surface defects on the end of a fiber. Increases connector loss possibly to the point of not transmitting light.


Halogen
Any of the five elements


Harness
An arrangement of wires and cables, usually with many breakouts, which have been tied together or pulled into a rubber of plastic sheath, used to interconnect electric circuits.


Hash Mark Stripe
A non-continuous helical stripe applied to a conductor for identification.


Heat Distortion
Distortion of a material due to the effects of heat.


Heat Resistance
Ability of a substance to maintain physical and chemical identity and electrical integrity under specified temperature conditions.


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.


Helix Angle
See Braid Angle.


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


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


Hi-Pot
A test designed to determine the highest voltage that can be applied to a conductor without electrically breaking down the insulation.


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


Hygroscopic
Readily absorbing and retaining moisture.


Hypalon
DuPont's trade name for their chlorosulfonated polyethylene, an ozone resistant synthetic rubber.


Hz
Abbreviation for Hertz.


IEC
European Standardization agency; International Electrtechnical Commission.


IEEE
Abbreviation for 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 reactance X, measured in ohms.


Index of a Refraction
The ratio of the velocity of light in free space to the velocity of light in a given material.


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.


Insulation
A material having high resistance to the flow of electric current. Often called dielectric in radio frequency cable which is used to separate close electrical components, such as cable conductors and circuit components.


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.


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


Interference
Electrical or electromagnetic disturbances which introduce undesirable responses into other electronic equipment.


Intersection Repeat
The term applied to the path of a yarn in a woven fabric representing a single unit of a repeating pattern.


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


IPCEA
Abbreviation for Insulated Power Cable Engineers Association.


Irradiation
In insulations, the exposure of the material to high-energy emissions for the purpose of favorably altering the molecular structure by cross-linking.


ISA
Instrument Society of America.


ISO
International Standards Organization.


Jacket
An outer covering, usually nonmetallic, mainly used to protect the cable core from the environment.


Jammed State
The state of a braided fabric under tension where the deformation of the fabric is dominated by the deformation properties of the yarn and not by crimp exchange.


KCMIL
Conductor area expressed in thousands of circular mils.


Kevlar
Registered trade mark of E.I. Dupont for the aramid fibers used for adding strength to a fiber optic cable.


Kilometer (km)
1000 meters or 3, 281 feet (0.621 miles)


Knitting
A method of constructing fabric by interlocking sees of loops of one or more yarns.


KPSI
Tensile Strength in thousands of pounds per square inch.


Kynar
Pennwalt trade name for polyvinylidene fluoride, a fluorocarbon material typically used as insulation for wire wrap wire.


Laid-in Yarns
A system of longitudinal yarns in a frazil braid which are inserted between the bias yarns.


Lapping Film
A film used in the connector termination process to gradually remove and/or polish a connector/fiber end. Diamond lapping film is the highest quality; others include alumna, cerium, chromium, carbide, etc.


Laser
A light source used in conjunction with an optical fiber.


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.


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


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 of or percent) of a thermocouple extension wire from standard emf-temperature to be measured.


Line Voltage
The value of the potential existing on a supply or power line.


Link
An optical cable with connectors attached to a transmitter and receiver (source and detector).


Load
A device that consumes power from a sauce and used that power to perform a function.


Local Area Network (LAN)
A baseband or broadband interactive bi-directional communication systems for voice, video or data use on a common cable medium.


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


Longitudinal Shrinkage
A term generally applied to shrink products denoting the discrete axial length lost through heating in order to obtain the recovered diameter.


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


Loose Tube Cable
A cable construction in which optical fiber(s) are loosely contained. Usually used in outdoor applications due to better performance over a broader temperature range that tight buffer constructions.


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


Lower limit temperature
The lower limit temperature is the minimum permissible temperature at which a Heavy Duty connector can still be operated.


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 power line (creates magnetic field around that cable) this magnetic field caused the magnetic noise.


Mandrel
A male tool typically used in braiding for the formation of braids with irregular cross sections.


Mastic
A meltable coating used on the inside of some shrink products which, when heated, flows to encapsulate the interstitial air voids.


Mating cycles
Mating cycles are the number of insertion and extraction cycles a connector can withstand before electrical or mechanical failure in relationship to the connector's design specification.


MATV
Acronym for Master Antenna Television System- a combination of components providing multiple television receiver operations from one antenna or group of antennas; normally on a single building.


Maypole Braider
A braiding machine, or circular weaving machine, which manipulates a serious of yarn carriers through a path identical to that of a maypole dance.


MCM
One thousand circular mils.


Megohm
One million ohms.


Member
A group of insulated wires to be cabled with other stranded groups into multiple-element cable.


Messenger
The linear supporting member, usually a high strength steel wire, used as the supporting elements to a suspended aerial cable. The messenger may be an integral part of the cable, or exterior to it.


Meter
One meter equals 3.28 feet.


Mho
Megahertz (one million cycles per second). Formerly Mc.


Microbending
A form of increased attenuation caused by having the fiber curved around a restrictive radius of curvature, or microbends caused by minute distortions in the fiber imposed by externally induced perturbations. Excessive bend loss may result from poor d


Micron (um)
Millionth of a meter.


Microwave
A short (usually less than 30 cm.) 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").


Millimeter
One millimeter equals 0.03937 inches.


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


Mode
A permitted field pattern within waveguide fiber.


Modulation
The coding of information onto the carrier frequency. Modulation means include (among others) amplitude, frequency, or phase pulse many forms of on-off digital coding.


Modulus 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 specified 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.


MTW
An acronym for thermoplastic insulated Machine Tool Wire.


Multi-Mode Fiber
An optical waveguide which allows more than one mode to propagate. Step index and graded index fibers are multi-made.


Multiconductor
More than one conductor within a single cable construction.


Multiplexing
Simultaneous transmission of two or more messages over the same cable medium.


MUX
Multiplexer.


Mylar
Dupont trade name for a polyester material.


Nanometer (nm)
One billionth of a second, expressed as 10 sec.


Nanoseconds
One thousandth of one one-millionth of a second (10-9) seconds).


National Electrical Code (NEC)
A consensus standard published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 70) and incorporated in OHSA regulations. These regulations govern construction and installation of electrical wiring and apparatus in the U.S.


NBS
Abbreviation for National Bureau of Standards.


NEMA
National Electrical Manufactures Association.


Neoprene
Trade name for polychloroprene synthetic rubber, a compound used for jacketing.


NFPA
Abbreviation for National Fire Protection Association. That association responsible as the Administrative Sponsor of the National Electrical Code. Also identified as "ANSI Standards Committee CI."


Non-Contaminating PVC
A polyvinylchloride formulation, which does not produce electrical contamination.


Nylon
A group of polyamide polymers which are used for wire and cable 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 101%.


Ohm
The electrical unit of resistance. The value of resistance through which a potential difference of one volt will maintain a current of one ampere.


Ohm's Law
E= 1 x R. Voltage (E) is directly proportional to the product of current (I) and resistance (r) or circuit.


Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR)
An instrument designed to measure transmission characteristics of fiber by sending a pulse of light down the fiber and measuring the light scattered across the length and reflected back from the ends as a function of time.


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


Outgassing
Percentage of a gas released during the combustion of insulation or jacketing material.


Overall Diameter
Finished diameter over wire or cable.


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 material.


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 run parallel in a cable.


Parallel Wound
A term used to describe yarn or other material wound into a flanged spool.


PCB Solder Contacts
Circular contacts which mount directly to a circuit board.


PE
Physical Earth, the same as ground.


Peak Voltage
Maximum instantaneous voltage.


PET
Acronym for Polyethylene terephthalate, a thermoplastic polymer resin often used in the manufacture of synthetic fibers and food and beverage containers.


Photodetector (Receiver)
Transforms light into electricity. For relatively fast speeds and moderate sensitivity in the 0.75 um to 0.95 um area wavelength, the silicone photodiode is most commonly used.


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


Pick Count
The number of filling yarns per inch or per centimeter of a fabric.


Pigtail
A length of fiber optic cable with connectors on one end.


Pin-Diode
A device used to convert optical signals to electrical signals in a receiver.


Pistoning
The movement of a connectoried fiber axially in and out of a ferrule end, often caused by changes in temperature.


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 multi conductors cable.


Plait
Very similar to the term "pick" although applying only to bias weaving process. A plait is the crossing of two braiding yarns.


Plait Count
The number of braiding yarn crossings per inch measured along the axis of a braided fabric.


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 or beneath a floor.


Plenum Cable
Fire and smoke resistant cable Listed by Underwriters Laboratories for installation in plenums without the need for conduit.


Plied Yarn
A yarn formed by twisting together two or more single yarns in one operation.


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


Polyethylene
A family of insulations derived from the polymerization of ethylene gas and characterized by outstanding electrical properties, including high I.R., low dielectric constant, and low dielectric loss across the frequency spectrum. Mechanically rugged, it


Polymer
a substance made of many repeat chemical units or molecules. The term polymer is often used in place of plastic, rubber, or elastomer.


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


Polypropylene
A thermoplastic polymer of propylene.


Polyurethane
A family of flexible, abrasion resistant jackets used for XTRA-GUARD 2 harsh environment cables.


Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
A thermoplastic material composed of p0lymers of vinyl chloride that may be rigid or flexible, depending on specific formulation.


Polyvinylchloride
A general-purpose family of insulations whose basic constituent is polyvinylchloride or its copolymer with vinyl acetate. Plasticizers, stabilizers, pigments and fillers are added in lesser quantity to improve mechanical and/or electrical properties of


Porosity
Multiple air voids in an insulation or jacket wall.


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


Power Factor
The ratio of resistance to impedance. The ratio of an 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 non-conductive material applied over a conductor, whose prime function is to act as electrical barrier (sic...insulation).


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


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


Quad
A four-conductor cable.


Rated Current
The related current is the current at which a connector can continuously (not intermittently) conduct through all contacts simultaneously without exceeding the upper limit temperature.


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
Abbreviation for Rural Electrification Administration. A branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for the standardization of the independent telephone companies throughout the U.S.


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


Recovered Diameter
Diameter of shrinkable products after heating has caused it to return to its extruded diameter.


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.


Refractive Index
Ratio of light velocity in a vacuum to its velocity in the transmitting medium.


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


Repeatability
The amount of optical power lost due to the number of matings (de-matings) a connector experiences.


Repeater
A transmitter and receiver combination used to regenerate a signal.


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.


Return Loss
The amount of optical power reflected back through the connector due to the different mediums the light travels through stated in dB. This phenomenon can be controlled somewhat by the type of end finish the connector has. (Flat, Physical Contact (PC),


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 along the outer surface of an 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.


Root Mean Square (RMS)
The effective value of an alternating current or voltage.


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


Routing
The path followed by a cable or conductor.


Roving
In spun yarn production, an intermediate state sliver and yarn.


Rupture
In the breaking strength or tensile strength test the point at which the material physically separates or comes apart, as opposed to elongation, yield strength, etc.


SAE
Abbreviation for Society of Automotive Engineers.


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


Self-Supporting Cable
Any cable that incorporates a steel rope or steel sheath for added tensile strength, thus enabling it to be suspended between widely spaced supports.


Selvege or Selvedge
The narrow edge of a woven fabric that runs parallel to the warp.


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


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


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 Wire 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 multi-conductor cable.


Shield
In cables, a metallic layer placed around a conductor or group of conductors to prevent electrostatic interference between the enclosed wires 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.


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.


Shrink Temperature
That temperature which effects complete recovery of a shrinkable product from the expanded state.


Shrink Tubing
Tubing which as been extruded, cross-linked, and mechanically expanded which when reheated will return to its original diameter.


Shrinkage Ratio
The ratio between the expanded diameter and recovered diameter of shrinkable products.


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


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


Simplex
Mode of data transmission in one direction only. Usually on a two-wire facility.


Single Mode Fiber
A fiber wave-guide which only one mode will propagate.


Sintering
Fusion of a spirally applied tape wrap jacket by the use of high heat to a homogenous continuum. Usually employed for fluorocarbon, non-extrudable materials.


Sizing
A generic term for compounds which are applied to yarns to bind the fiber together and stiffen the yarn to provide abrasion-resistance during weaving. Starch, gelatin, oil, wax and man-make polymers such as polyvinyl alcohol, polystyrene, poly acryilic


Skin Effect
The phenomenon in which the depth of penetration of electric currents into a conductor decreases as the frequency increases.


Sleeving
A common name for a braided, extruded or woven tubular fabric.


Soldering Sleeves
Shrinkable tubing with a solder perform used for highest reliability soldering connections or shield grounding.


Solid Conductor
A conductor consisting of a single wire.


Source
The means (usually LED or laser) used to convert an electrical information-carrying signal into a corresponding optical signal for transmission by an optical wave-guide.


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 conductors (in cables having round condu


Spark Test
A test designed to located imperfections (usually pin-holes) in the insulation of a wire or cabled 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 water.


Spindle
A slender upright rotation rod on a spinning frame, roving frame, twister or similar machine.


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


Splice
A mechanical device or fusion process that permanently bonds two fibers together without a connector producing extremely low loss.


Stability Factor
The difference between the percentage power factor at 80 volts/mil measured on wire immersed in water at 75% C for a specified time.


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


STP
Shielded Twisted Pair cable.


Strand
A single fiber, filament, or monofilament. An ordered assemblage of textile fibers having a high ratio of length to diameter and normally used as a unit.


Stranded Conductor
A conductor composed of groups of wires twisted together.


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 Resistively
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, large increase in voltage or current in an electric circuit or cable.


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.


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.


TDM
Abbreviation for Time Division Multiplexing.


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


Tefzel
Dupont trade name for a fluorocarbon material typically used as the insulation on wire wrap wire.


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


Tempest
Classified procedure which details the complex measurement of the combined reduction of all electromagnetic emissions from specified equipment.


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


Test Voltage
The test voltage is the maximum voltage at which a connector will not be subjected to flashover under the set conditions.


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 protecting tube.


Thermocouple Extension Cable
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.


Thermoplastic
A material which softens when heated or reheated 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.


Tight Tube Cable
A cable in which optical fibers(s) are tightly contained.


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


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


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


Transmitter
The electronic unit that converts an optical signal.


Tray
A cable tray system is a unit or assembly of units or sections, and associated fittings, made of non-combustible materials forming a rigid structural system used to support cables. Cable stray systems (previously termed continuous rigid cable supports)


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


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


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


Tubing
A tube of extruded no-supported plastic or metallic material.


Twinning
Synonymous with pairing.


Twist
The number of turns about its axis per unit of length of a yarn or other textile strand. Twist may be expressed as turns per inch (TPI), or turns per centimeter (TCPM).


Twist multiplier
The ratio of turns per inch to the square root of the cotton count.


Twist, Direction of
The direction of twist in yarns and other textile strands as indicated by the S&Z. Yarn has S twist if, when it is held vertically, the spirals around its central axis slope in the same direction as the meddle portion of the letter S, and Z twist if th


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


UF
Thermoplastic Underground feeder and branch circuit cable.


UHF
Abbreviation for Ultra High Frequency, 300 to 3,000MHz.


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


Unbalanced Circuit
A transmission line in which voltages on the two conductors are unequal with respect to the 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.


Upper limit temperature
The upper limit temperature is the maximum permissible temperature, at which a Heavy Duty connector can still be operated, due to the heating up of the contacts by the ambient temperature or other environmental conditions.


Valley
Any void between the insulated 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 impedance of 125 ohms. Used to TV pick-ups, closed circuit TV, telephone carrier circuits, etc.


Viton
DuPont Trademark for a series of fluroelastomers based on the copolymer of unylidene fluoride and hexafluoropropylene.


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
The term most often used in place of electromotive force, potential, potential difference, or voltage drop to designate the electric pressure that exists between two points and is capable of producing a current when a closed circuit is connected between


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


Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR)
The ratio of the maximum effective voltage to the min8imum effective voltage measured along the length of a mismatched radio frequency transmission line.


Volume Resistivity
The electrical resistance between opposite faces of a one-cm. cube of insulating material, commonly expressed on ohms-centimeter.


Vulcanization
An irreversible process during which a rubber or polymeric compound through a change in its chemical structure (for example, cross-linking) becomes a 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.


Warp
The set of yarn in all woven fabrics that runs lengthwise and parallel to the selvage and is interwoven with the filling.


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.


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


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


Wire
A slender rod or filament of drawn metal.


XLPE
Abbreviation for cross-linked polyethylene.


Yield Strength
The minimum stress at which a material will start to physically deform.


Zytel
DuPont's trade name for nylon resins.


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