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insulation basics

What is Insulation?

Insulation is an important cable part that directly surrounds the conductor. It prevents electrical leakage and contact with other conductors in nearby cables. Insulation also protects the cable from environmental hazards like heat, abrasion, water, oil, and other liquids.

Insulation consists of non-metallic materials that resist the flow of electric current. Because insulation material doesn’t move electricity the way the conductor does, it protects the flow of electricity, keeping the cable's signal in and signals from other cables out. The atoms in insulation minimize signal and electricity overlap since they aren’t built to conduct energy.

Different kinds of insulation also protect against environmental threats. They can defend against water, heat, chemicals, oil, abrasions, tears, and cuts. Some insulation is also flame retardant or self-extinguishing, so it can be used in places where a fire is a concern.

Insulation Materials

There are many different materials used as cable insulation. The main categories include plastics, rubbers, silicone, nylon, and fiberglass. Each category of insulation has multiple materials in it, each with their own benefits and uses. Insulation materials should be chosen based on where the cable will be installed and what it will be used for. With so many choices, it is easy to find insulation that will keep your cable working well and efficiently for a long time to come.

To read more about the different types of Insulation materials and about the advantages and disadvantages of each kind, check out these Technical Papers: