Heat resistant cables and wires for extreme temperatures
What is a heat resistant cable?
There is no bad weather, only bad clothes, they say when someone complains about rain and cold. If it's raining cats and dogs, you put on a cape with a waterproof plastic membrane, and against cold, there are jackets with a warm fleece inside. There are also different "clothes" for cables: depending on the intended use, the outer sheath - the outer protective cover of a cable - consists of different material compositions. It's the mix that does it, and a great deal of know-how is needed to match it. Here are some examples of how materials scientists can design the properties of cables:
The material of choice for the cable sheath is PVC (polyvinyl chloride). It is affordable and can be easily scored with a knife, which facilitates the removal of the outer sheath - stripping - to attach the plug. PVC also withstands temperatures above 100°C.
At significantly higher temperatures, PVC cables can no longer keep up, and cables with other sheathing materials are required here. Depending on the temperature range, polyolefin copolymer, fluoroethylene propylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, but also silicone, which is also used for baking dishes or in baby soothers, are used. With these materials, temperatures of up to 260 degrees Celsius can be reached.
If it gets even hotter, the cable structure must change fundamentally. Then the conductive strands as well as the entire cable are wrapped with mica tape and fiberglass braid. This improves the permanent temperatures up to 650°C. Certain cables can even withstand temperatures above 1500°C for a short time.
Where are heat-resistant cables used?
Where "normal" temperatures prevail, normal cables are sufficient. Cables with a PVC outer sheath can also withstand the heat on a hot summer day, for example on a photovoltaic system. Other properties are required there, such as UV resistance. Heat-resistant cables are used wherever technical equipment ensures that temperatures stay above 100°C for a long time. This is the case in the engine compartment of cars, for example, when cables for sensors are routed past hot engine parts.
It gets hotter at home in heaters or stoves, on halogen lamps, or in a sauna. In the industry, temperatures are quite different, for example in ovens of large bakeries. Sometimes it can be over 1000°C in coal or gas power plants or at blast furnaces in steel production.
By the way: Cables that are particularly heat-resistant usually have an extended temperature range even at the lower temperature range. They are then also suitable for use in the mountains or in the Arctic, and such cables and connectors are also in demand for winter sports events. Such components can withstand icy temperatures of -40°C or below.
What heat resistant cables are available from LAPP?
A classic from LAPP is ÖLFLEX® HEAT 180 SiHF, a connection, and control cable for mechanical engineering. With its wide temperature range from -60°C to +180°C, it covers most applications, including those involving oils, alcohols, and many chemical substances.
The ÖLFLEX® HEAT 125 MC/C MC "only" manages 125°C. However, the plastic is halogen-free, making the cable particularly suitable for places with a high volume of people, in the industry as well as in public buildings. The cable has an outer sheath of radiation-crosslinked plastic for improved fire behavior.
ÖLFLEX® HEAT 650 SC withstands 650°C - in continuous operation. It gets its amazing properties from a conductor made of nickel and a fiberglass insulation - ideal for use in power plants, blast furnaces, or engines, but also for heating modules and cooking systems.
Not only in the ÖLFLEX® portfolio of industrial control cables does LAPP have an extensive range of particularly heat-resistant cables. Some even withstand fire like the ETHERLINE® FIRE. It achieves very high data transmission rates of up to 10 Gbit/s with high signal quality up to cable lengths of 100 meters. A polyolefin-based core insulation as well as a wrapping of the cores with a special anti-fire tape blocks flames for at least 120 minutes - enough time for the fire department to get the fire under control.
In addition, LAPP offers a wide range of heat-resistant connectors and accessories such as EPIC® connectors or SKINTOP® cable glands.