Brittle Point

Time to Think about Brittle, but not the Peanut Kind

Posted on Monday, November 17, 2014 by Dave Watson

You may have noted that with the Holidays approaching, there is a chill in the air.  The mercury is dropping and we’ve had snow falling as well.  Seems like a good time to think about the cold temperature performance of cables.

A basic truth is that as plastics get colder and colder at some point the plastic will become brittle.  There is actually a test and a rating for “Brittle Point”.  This is one of the parameters we look at in determining the cold temperature rating of our wires and cables.  Sometimes I’m asked about the storage temperature range of our products.  Well, here’s how the brittle point factors in to all this.  Let’s say we have a plastic material that becomes brittle at a temperature of -20C.  We would expect that if you were to bend the plastic or whack it with a hammer, it would crack, split or shatter (that’s what brittle things do, right?).  So a fair question might be, what if you made that plastic even colder, but didn’t touch it in any way, what would happen?  In a word, nothing.  So wire and cable products can and do have a storage temperature range that is wider than the operating temperature range.  Just remember that storage means storage.  What I mean by storage is if the reel is just sitting and is not to be moved or handled (or whacked) in any way.

Now, if you do have to move or handle a cable in a very cold environment, we do have several different options for you to choose from:

The Xtra-Guard 5 family can be used down to -80C.

The Xtra-Guard 4 family can be used down to -50C.

The Xtra-Guard 1 using SR-PVC Insulation family can be used down to -35C.

The Xtra-Guard 1 using PVC Insulation family can be used down to -35C.

In addition we have custom capabilities with a wide range of other materials that can be tailored to the needs of a specific application.

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