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Protection of cables
A cable is two or more wires running side by side and bonded, twisted, or braided together to form a single assembly. The term originally referred to a nautical line of specific length where multiple ropes, each laid clockwise, are then laid together anti-clockwise and shackled to produce a strong thick line, resistant to water absorption, that was used to anchor large ships.
In mechanics, cables, otherwise known as wire ropes, are used for lifting, hauling, and towing or conveying force through tension. In electrical engineering cables are used to carry electric currents. An optical cable contains one or more optical fibers in a protective jacket that supports the fibers.
In building construction, electrical cable jacket material is a potential source of fuel for fires. To limit the spread of fire along cable jacketing, one may use cable coating materials or one may use cables with jacketing that is inherently fire retardant. The plastic covering on some metal clad cables may be stripped off at installation to reduce the fuel source for fires.
Inorganic coatings and boxes around cables safeguard the adjacent areas from the fire threat associated with unprotected cable jacketing. However, this fire protection also traps heat generated from conductor losses, so the protection must be thin. To provide fire protection to a cable, the insulation is treated with fire retardant materials, or non-combustible mineral insulation is used (MICC cables).
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