Technical FAQS



Wire & Cable Glossary

(from A-B)

Abrasion Resistance: 

Ability of material or cable to resist surface wear.

Accelerated Aging: 

A test performed on material or cable meant to duplicate long-time environmental conditions in a relatively short space of time.


Single- or multi-conductor insulated cables with metal interlocked amor without an overall jacket.

A.C. Resistance: 

The total resistance offered by a device in an alternating current circuit due to inductive and capacitive effects, as well as the direct current resistance.


Single- or multi-conductor insulated cables with metal interlocked armor with an overall jacket. AC90 with a jacket.


The state in which two surfaces are held together by interfacial forces which may be chemical or mechanical in nature.

Adjacent Conductor: 

Any conductor next to another conductor either in the same multi-conductor cable layer or in adjacent layers.


The change in properties of a material with time under specific conditions.


Aluminum Interlocked Armor.


A combination of two or more metals to form a new or different metal, having specific or desirable qualities.

Alternating Current (A.C.): 

An electric current that continually reverses its direction, giving a definite plus and minus wave form at fixed intervals. 

Alternating Voltage: The voltage developed across a resistance or impedance through which alternating current is flowing.

Ambient Temperature:

Any all-encompassing temperature within a given area.

American Wire Gauge: 

A standard used in the determination of the physical size of a conductor determined by its circular mil area. Usually expressed as AWG. Also referred to as Brown and Sharpe (B&S) wire gauge.


The maximum current an insulated wire or cable can safely carry without exceeding either the insulation or jacket material limitations. (Same as Current Carrying Capacity.)


The unit of current. One ampere is the current flowing through one ohm of resistance at one volt potential.


To subject to high heat with subsequent cooling. Annealing is the act of softening the metal by means of heat to render it more flexible.


The American National Standards Institute.


The American National Standards Institute.

Apparatus Wire and Cable: 

Apparatus wire is an overall term used to describe a number of specific wire types including non-automotive battery cables, defroster wire, electric furnace cables, and gas tube sign ignition cables. Also included under this heading in AWG sizes 14 and heavier are appliance wire, fixture wire, machine tool wire, motor and transformer lead wire, pump or well cable, and switchboard and control wire. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association states that apparatus wire is 

"insulated wire and cable used in connecting electrical apparatus to a power source, also including wire and cable used in the apparatus itself." 

Appliance Wire and Cable: 

Appliance wiring material is a classification of Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., covering insulated wire and cable intended for internal wiring of appliances and equipment. Each construction satisfies the requirements for use in particular applications. 

Area of Conductor: 

The size of a conductor cross-section, measured in circular mils, square inches, etc.


A braid or wrapping of metal, usually steel or aluminum, used for mechanical protection.

Armored Cable: 

A cable having a metallic covering for protection against mechanical injury. Also a specific cable construction; Type AC defined by UL4 and NEC® Article 333.


The American Standards Association, former name of ANSI.


The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


The American Society for Testing and Materials.


Abbreviation for American Wire Gauge.


Designation for appliance wiring material.

Balanced Circuit: 

A circuit so arranged that the impressed voltages on each conductor of the pair are equal in magnitude but opposite in polarity with respect to ground.

Bare Conductor: 

A conductor having no covering. A conductor with no coating or cladding on the copper.


A layer of material applied to a cable immediately below the armouring.

Bending Radius: 

Radius of curvature that a cable can be safely bent without any adverse effects.


A spirally served tape or thread used for holding assembled cable components in place awaiting subsequent manufacturing operations.

Branch Circuits: 

The individual circuits are served from the smaller electrical panels by insulated conductors. These conductors are run through ducts, conduits or raceways. These individual circuits are sometimes referred to as branch circuits. The conductors will provide power from the final overcurrent device (fuse or circuit breaker) protecting the load served. General-use branch circuits supply power to a number of outlets for lighting and appliance loads. Branch circuit conductors are usually #14, #12 or #10 AWG.

Breakdown of Insulation: 

Failure of an insulation resulting in a flow of current through the insulation. It may be caused by the application of too high voltage or by defects or decay.

Breakdown Voltage: 

The voltage at which the insulation between two conductors breaks down.

Building Wire: 

A general term used for light and power wiring products, 1000 volts or less.

Bunch Strand: 

Any number of conductor strands twisted together in one direction with the same lay length.

Buried Cable: 

A cable installed directly in the earth without use of underground conduit. Also called "direct burial cable."


A conductor which serves as a common connection for the corresponding conductors of two or more circuits.