There are mainly six common materials in fiber optic cable construction. Before you buy fiber optic cable, you should think about this. Here are the fiber optic cable materials with the introduction of their features and applications.
1. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
1) Good resistance to environmental effects. Some formulations are rated for -55 to +55.
2) Good flame retardant properties. Can be used for both outdoor and indoor fiber optic cables.
3) PVC is less flexible than PE (Polyethylene) .
2. PE (Polyethylene)
1) Popular cable jacket material for outdoor fiber cables
2) Very good moisture and weather resistance properties
3) Very good insulator
4) Can be very stiff in colder temperatures
5) If treated with proper chemicals, PE can be flame retardant.
1) Good flame-resistance properties
2) Low smoke properties
3) Good flexibility
4) Most often used for indoor fiber cables
4. Kevlar (Aramid Yarn)
Aramid yarn is the yellow fiber type material found inside cable jacket surrounding the fibers. It can also be used as central strength members.
1) Aramid yarn is very strong and is used in bundle to protect the fibers.
2) Kevlar is a brand of aramid yarn. Kevlar is often used as the central strength member on fiber cables which must withstand high pulling tension during installation.
3) When Kevlar is placed surrounding the entire cable interior, it provides additional protection for the fibers from the environment.
5. Steel Armor
Steel armor jacket is often used on direct burial outdoor cables and it provides excellent crush resistance and is truly rodent-proof. Since steel is a conductor, steel armored cables have to be properly grounded and loss fiber optic cable’s dielectric advantage.
1) Outdoor direct burial cables
2) Fiber cables used for industrial environment where cables are installed without conduits or cable tray protection
1) Provides excellent crush resistance for outdoor direct burial cables
2) Protects cables from rodent biting
3) Decreases water ingress into the fiber which prolongs the fiber cable’s life expectancy
6. Central Strength Member
For large fiber count cables, a central strength member is often used. The central strength member provides strength and support to the cable. During fiber optic cable installation, pulling eyes should always be attached to the central strength member and never to the fibers. On fiber splice enclosure and patch panel installations, the cable central strength member should be attached to the strength member anchor on the enclosure or patch panel.