What is M5086?
M5086 cable is a mil-spec wire commonly used in aerospace and aircraft applications because of its strong resistance to impact, abrasion, and industrial fluids. Initially known as MIL-W-5086, the standard is actually now managed by the Society of Automotive Engineers, under the specification SAE-AS50861. The cables, however, are still usually referred to by the military spec.
Types of M5086
There are seven styles of M5086 aircraft cable, but the two most common for airframe wiring are Type I and Type II.
M5086 Type I is typically unshielded and constructed with a soft annealed stranded tinned copper conductor, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) insulation, and clear nylon outer jacket. It is rated up to 105°C.
M5086 Type II cable features two different constructions, determined by gauge size. Sizes 22 AWG through 12 AWG are generally constructed with stranded tinned copper conductors, PVC insulation, white glass yarn braids, and clear nylon jacketing. Sizes 10 AWG to 4/0 AWG are made similarly, but with flame-retardant nylon lacquered glass and yarn braid overall. Type II is also rated from -55°C to 105°C.
Both MIL-W-5086 Type I and Type II are resistant to water, fuels, oils, hydraulic fluids, Skydrol, dilute acids, ethylene glycol, alkalis, alcohol, and fungus. They are reliable options in applications where cables are exposed to chemical abuse, abrasion, and high impact loads.
The lightweight walls reduce the overall weight of the cable, a valuable characteristic in aircraft applications where every ounce counts. The PVC/nylon constructions offer exceptional resistance to chafing and chemical damage, but they are also more flammable. Because they release smoke and toxic gases when burned, these mil-spec wire styles should be used only in unmanned aerospace applications.
The other styles of the M5086 specification are less common but have similar constructions. Varying materials and thicknesses offer different qualities and temperature ranges, lending themselves to different applications.
M5086 Type IV, for example, has a tin-plated copper conductor and is rated up to 3000 volts. Both Type V and Type VI feature polyvinylidene fluoride jacketing, making them ideal for applications that demand excellent chemical and weather resistance. To learn more about M5086 aircraft cable constructions, ratings, and applications, check out our large selection of M5086 wire.