When Do We Use Armoured Cables?

Aug. 08, 2022

What is the difference between unarmoured and armoured cables?


As the name implies, an armoured cable has added protective armour that helps protect the cable core. This is important in places where there could be accidental damage to the cable due to mechanical stress or impact. To put it in context, typically armoured cables would be used when you require the cable to be buried directly underground, for outdoor installation or in tunnels. There may be instances where the ground is opened up again, and in the process, a spade or mechanical excavator may hit the buried cable by accident. The armour in this case would help protect the cable conductor core from being exposed easily and prevent electric shocks and interruptions in power delivery.


For standard power cables, you may come across aluminium wire armour (AWA) or steel wire armour (SWA). Steel is naturally a stronger material, but you will notice that for single-core cables, it is ALWAYS paired with AWA and never SWA. This is because aluminium is non-magnetic.


SWA Armored Copper Power Cable


What is AWA vs SWA for armoured cables?


If a single-core cable is paired with steel wire armour, there will be a magnetic field induced when current flows through - the whole cable becomes a large magnet. The higher the current, the larger the field. The magnetic field will induce an electric current (eddy current) in the steel, which would cause overheating and massive derating of the cable. Aluminium, due to its non-magnetic nature, would not cause this issue.


However, once we move past single-core into two or more cores, it is safe to revert to galvanized steel wire armour because magnetic fields produced in such multi-core cables will have a cancelling out effect by the other cores' fields thereby preventing the magnetic flux.


Applications of the armoured electrical cable


We will give you a detailed introduction to the different armoured cable uses:


Unarmored Copper Power Cable


1. Power system: The armoured electrical cable products used in the power system mainly include overhead bare wires, bus bars, power cables, branch cables, magnet wires, and electrical equipment wires and cables for power equipment.


2. Information transmission system: The wires and cables used in the information transmission system mainly include local telephone cables, TV cables, electronic cables, radio frequency cables, optical fiber cables, data cables, electromagnetic wires, power communication or other composite cables.


3. Mechanical equipment, instrumentation system: This part is used for almost all other products except overhead bare wires, mainly power cables, electromagnetic wires, data cables, instrumentation cables, etc.


The direct burial technology of armoured electrical cable has been applied in various fields, which symbolizes another breakthrough and progress in science and technology. More and more places need to use this technology. Through the above introduction, we believe that you have known armoured electrical cables. If you want to know more, please contact Ruitian.

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