Copper is commonly used in the construction of cables. Along with silver and gold, it’s one of the most electrically conductive metals in the world. Copper is also strong, and it’s resistant to corrosion. These properties make it a popular choice of material for electrical cables. While some cables feature plain copper conductors, though, others are mineral-insulated. What is mineral-insulated copper-clad cable exactly?
The Basics of Mineral-Insulated Copper Clad-Cable
Mineral-insulated copper-clad cable is a type of electrical cable that features an insulation layer consisting of a mineral-based material. Like many other copper cables, it features copper conductors. Mineral-insulated copper-clad cable simply features a layer of magnesium oxide powder for insulation.
The copper conductors are surrounded by magnesium oxide powder. Mineral-insulated copper-clad cable is manufactured by running the copper conductors through a hollow copper tube. Once in place, magnesium oxide powder is forced into the same copper tube, thus filling the empty space and surrounding the copper conductors with this mineral-based insulation.
Mineral-Insulated Copper-Clad Cables vs Traditional Copper-Clad Cables
There are other types of copper-clad cables available, such as copper-clad aluminum and copper-clad steel.
Copper-clad aluminum cables feature conductors with an aluminum core and a copper exterior. Copper-clad steel cables, as you may have guessed, feature conductors with a steel core and a copper exterior.
Mineral-insulated copper-clad cables feature a different design. It features conductors made entirely of copper. All of the copper conductors in this cable type are surrounded by magnesium oxide powder, which acts as insulation.
What Is Mineral-Insulated Copper-Clad Cable Used For?
You might be wondering what mineral-insulated copper-clad cable is used for. It’s commonly used in applications where fire is a concern. Mineral-insulated copper-clad cable is more fire resistant than other types of cable.
Other types of cables have insulation as well. But the problem with other types of cable is that they use rubber or plastic materials in their insulation. Materials such as these are more susceptible to heat-related damage than inorganic materials. When exposed to heat, they may melt while subsequently exposing the cable’s conductors to damage.
Mineral-insulated copper-clad cables use an inorganic material for insulation. They feature magnesium oxide powder. Magnesium oxide is completely inorganic. It can withstand heat without melting or otherwise damaging.
There are different types of copper-clad cables. In addition to copper-clad aluminum and copper-clad steel, there’s mineral-insulated copper-clad cable. Mineral-insulated copper-clad cable is a type of multiconductor cable that features copper conductors surrounded by magnesium oxide powder.