Last Updated on
When it comes to residential buildings, manufacturing plants or any other piece of commercial construction, the entire network of wiring and cabling is the most crucial one. Since wires and cables are used to deliver power, control, data, voice communication, and security, etc. to the entire infrastructure, you need to ensure you integrate some of the best that could pass the test of time.
The right wires and cables matter since your goal is to have a reliable, continuous system that could easily adjust to the unexpected growth in demands for increased performance. There are various cables and wires that are specifically limited to the construction phases of any infrastructure.
6 Types of Wire and Cable Used in Building Construction
In this article, we have narrowed it down to six major types of construction cables and wires that are compliant with the regulatory bodies.
1. Single Conductor Cables
Single conductor cables are probably the safest cables because of which they are highly recommended in hazardous situations. As the name suggests, these cables contain a single central conductor that has a mesh of copper wires wrapped around it for better insulation. For an added layer of protection, this coax cable is wrapped with a plastic jacket, on top of which, two separate layers of galvanized steel is added for further protection and strength.
The cable comes in a 1/4 inch diameter and is able to withstand the pressure of around 5000 lbs. They are simple to maintain and easy to handle since the end connectors can be easily replaced within a few minutes. When compared with the multi-conductor systems, the single conductor cables have a longer life expectancy which can help save time, effort, and money in the future.
The single conductor cables are further branched into various separate categories, each made to serve a unique purpose, i.e. computer equipment, cooking appliances, video network, and more.
2. Non-Metallic Sheathed Cables
Non-metallic sheathed cables, sometimes called Romex or NM cables, are flexible electrical cables that are widely used in residential setups. The basic model of these cables comes with two insulated wires including a ground copper wire to provide a safe flow of electrical current in case something goes awry.
All the inner wires are housed inside a plastic coating which makes up the non-metallic part of these cable’s names. This plastic coating is thermoplastic in nature which makes it highly resistant to heat. Separating the nonmetallic sheath from the inner wires is a thin layer of paper that is wrapped around the wires. Its purpose is often disputed with many claiming that the additional layer of paper is there to prevent the wires from sticking to the outer thermoplastic sheath.
The non-metallic sheathed cable comes in various categories. Each of them is designed differently from one and another to facilitate various residential electrical needs.
3. Armored Cables
The goal of most of the cables and wires is to transfer data at unimaginable speeds. However, harsher environments may present a challenge. This is where armored cables come into the picture. Just like the name suggests, the armored cables are heavily fortified cables that are made with special focus on protection in order to protect the cables from being cut, abraded or damaged by the external environmental factors.
The structure of armored cables is such that it contains various protective elements, i.e. the plastic outer jacket, Kevlar, and a ribbed internal steel tube. The insides contain basic optic fibers that are protected with a steel tube. Between the steel tube and outer plastic jacket, is a flooding compound that keeps the external moisture from penetrating and damaging the fibers.
The armored cables are heavily used in areas that are prone to mechanical damage. However, to meet with the inside cabling needs for any infrastructure, an unarmored cable is utilized.
4. Instrumentation Cables
Instrumentation cables are extremely rigid and tough cables that are used for inter or intra communication between the operators and the instrument available on any construction site. Additionally, they are also used in a wired communications network. Since they have multiple central conductors, they are widely helpful in sending or receiving low energy electrical signals.
Instrumentation cables are only limited to industrial level because of which they are built with strength and stealth in mind. They are available in various types but the basic structure is similar to one another to some degree. For instance, instrumentation cables contain multiple central copper conductors that are insulated through various levels of screenings, i.e. PE bedding, galvanized steel wire, outer and inner sheath, PVCs, copper wire braiding, and more.
The additional layer of protection makes instrumentation cables resistant to moisture, corrosive elements, chemical agents, oil, solvent, and more.
5. Low Voltage Cables
Low voltage cables are specifically utilized for delivering electrical signals that have the voltage of around 50-1000V for AC and 75-1500V for DC. The LV cables are made up of central aluminum or copper conductors which are protected through various insulation and shielding compounds.
Low voltage cables are experiencing a steady growth in their demand due to the consumers’ growing reliance on electrical devices within the residential or commercial infrastructures. The applications of low voltage cables include sound and security, video surveillance, lighting, automation, and fire alarm, etc. In addition, they are also used in static conditions or environments that require protection against electrical or mechanical damages.
6. Communications Cables
As the name suggests, communication wires and cable are utilized to transfer electrical signals from one point to another for the purpose of quick communication. Because of this, many of the cables used in residential or commercial settings rely on the data transmission medium of coaxial conductors, optical fibers or Twisted Wire Pair. The external plastic jacket or the outer sheath protects the transmission mediums from rough handling and/or external environmental factors.
The main uses of communication cables revolve around data transmission, electronic circuits, intercoms, etc. The communication cables are protected with the help of metal sheathing (lead, aluminum or corrugated steel), plastic sheathing (polyvinyl chloride or polyethylene) or metal-plastic sheathing (alumopolyethylene).
All of the major cables that are used in building construction are further branched into other smaller categories which make it easier for them to fulfill various residential/commercial needs. With this article, we have just provided the basic information about the major kinds without going into too many details since the categories can be a separate article on their own.
Moving on, the construction of the residential as well as commercial infrastructures has cabling standards and guidelines which must be met with during the construction phases. This should be done in a bid to avoid troubles with the legal bodies. So, always ensure to employ the highest standards of cables and wires not just to be compliant with the regulations but also to save money and efforts in the long run.