Environmental Requirements for Specifying Cable

Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 by Paige DiAntonio

Weather is all around us.  It is a determining factor for a multitude of everyday decisions such as how we dress, if we need an umbrella, or if we are leaving the house at all that day.  A cable that is not able to withstand extreme cold temperatures is just like a human that forgets to wear a jacket in a blizzard.  In both scenarios neither one is prepared, and will most likely fail to complete the task at hand.  In this week’s blog, we will review some of the most frequently used environmental requirements, as well as a few of the most popular environmental certifications for wire and cable.

  • Chemical & Moisture Resistance: Both speak for themselves and are crucial to the overall functionality of the cable.

  • Outgassing: The percentage of gas released during combustion of a material is defined as outgassing.  Outgassing of by-products are potentially harmful, causing damage to sensitive electronic equipment such as semiconductors.

  • Temperature: Involves both high and low end temperatures required for the product or environment to withstand.

  • UV resistance: Jacketing materials may lose some of their physical properties when exposed to UV radiation (sunlight) unless they are specifically designed to be UV resistant or UV stable.

  • California Proposition 65: A regulation that requires the outer surfaces of goods to not contain greater than 300 parts per million (ppm) of lead (Pb) for goods entering California.

  • RoHS: Is the abbreviation for Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances.  RoHS became law in July 2006 and forbids any products entering the EU that contain lead (Pb), hexavalent Chromium (Cr+6), cadmium (Cd), other heavy metals, Deca-BDE, PBB and PBDE (chemicals used as flame retardants in compounds).  However, naturally occurring trace amounts are acceptable.

  • WEEE: Is the abbreviation for Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment.  WEEE falls under Directive 2002/96/EC and it became law around June 2004.  It makes the manufacturer responsible for disposal of products that have reached end-of-life status.

In conclusion, it is important to remember when specifying wire or cable for your next application what extreme conditions the product may face and what requirements are designated by law.


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