Environmental Impact on Coaxial Cable

Coaxial CableWith the winter showing its signs, you may be thinking of its effects on your coaxial cables. And you are right to ponder in the matter. Weather changes and extreme weather may impact many elements of our technological age lifestyle. What can be a factor affecting environmental impact on coaxial cable? Here are the big ones:

 

Sunlight

Humidity and water vapor

Corrosive vapors and liquids

Sunlight Effects on Coaxial Cable

Sunlight affects many substances, in some places more than others depending on its intensity. Ultra violet light is responsible for cable degradation. To withstand harm from UV light, coaxial cables are made with high molecular weight polythene. As opposed to Polyvinylchloride (PVC) jackets, high molecular weight polythene proves to last twice as long.

Humidity and Water Vapor Effects on Coaxial Cable

Water vapor, if enters a coaxial cable, can decrease its performance to such an extent it may need to be replaced. Moisture may have one of two effects. The first is resistive loss caused by braid oxidation. This oxidation may cause an increase either braid resistance or outer conductor of the coaxial cable. The second is resistive loss in the dielectric. When power passes along the cable, water is absorbed into the dielectric heats up. Water heating is caused by cable power loss.

Water, or water vapor, may enter a coax cable through the termination / connector, through pin holes in the jacket and/or via water vapor penetrating through the jacket.

Moisture penetration via the termination / connector is the most common form of water damage. Externally used termination enclosures (such as TV antenna termination box) provide little protection against the elements. Even when they claim to be waterproofed, it will prove smart to take precaution measures. Using a self-amalgamating tape will do the trick.  This silicone-rubber tape units itself into a strong and seamless waterproof layer when wrapped around the coax cable.

Moisture penetration via pin holes in the coax cable jacket is possible simply due these holes existence. While these pin holes are not a part of the design of the jacket, imperfections may occur, as well as minor cable damage during installation. Therefore a careful, thought out and professional installation is crucial. That is true primarily when passing coax cables through walls and other barriers.

Water vapor penetration through the jacket may happen with time even with high quality jacket and careful installation. That may happen over time with constant exposure to moisture. A way to avoid water vapor penetration through the jacket is avoiding burying the coax cable exposed in the ground. If the cable has to be buried in the ground, use an external protection such as a waterproof pipe OR use a Direct Burial Coax Cable that is designed to withstand the elements.

Corrosive Vapors & Liquids Effects on Coaxial Cables

The placement of coax cables next to corrosive liquids and vapors diminishes their life span. Chemical vapors and salt water may be more harmful to coax cables than extreme weather. Some vapors can speed up coax cable’s deterioration dramatically. To protect from these negative effects of various vapors, coating the jacket with tin or silver coating can help to some degree. Where extreme conditions are present, it is recommended to use special environmentally hardened cables.