Glossary of Wire & Cable Terminology

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z


B - Symbol for susceptance. See susceptance.

B & S GAUGE - Brown and Sharpe wire gauge used for describing different sizes of copper conductors. It is the same as AWG (American Wire Gauge). See AWG.

BACKBONE - A transmission network that carries information in a fiber optic system. Mainly for indoor applications between floors and areas with different types of cables.

BACKSHELL MOLD - An aluminum mold used to mold a rubber or Neoprene® covering over the backshell of a conductor or plug after it is connected to a cable. The compound is usually chemically cured. Neoprene® is a trademark of the DuPont de Nemours Co.

BALCO® - An alloy of 70% nickel and 30% iron. It is used in devices where self-regulation by temperature is required. Wilbur Driver Company trademark for a resistance wire.

BANDMARKING - A circular band applied at regular intervals to the insulation of a conductor for the purpose of color coding or circuit identification.

BANDED CABLE - Two or more cables which have been banded together by stainless steel strapping.

BANDWIDTH - The frequency range of transmitted electrical or optical signals, expressed in Hertz. The greater or higher the bandwidth, the greater the information carrying capacity.

BARECONDUCTOR - A conductor not covered with any insulating material.

BASEBAND - The frequency band occupied by all the transmitted modulating signals.

BASEPRICE - The price of copper per pound before any adders are applied. To this base price, adders are used to determine price for drawing the copper into a wire and for tinning or insulating the bare copper wire.

BATTERY CABLE - A single conductor cable either insulated or uninsulated used for carrying current from batteries to the point where power is needed. May also be used for grounding.

BAUD - Unit of measure for data transmission speed representing bits per second, e.g., 9,600 baud = 9,600 bits per second (bps).

BC - Abbreviation for bare copper.

2BC - Abbreviation for double bare copper shield.

BCCS - Abbreviation for bare copper-clad steel.

BC-S - Abbreviation for double shield; 1 bare copper, 1 silver.

BEADED COAX - A coaxial cable in which the dielectric consists of beads made of various materials.

BELLWIRE - Common term for wire primarily used for making doorbell and thermostat connections.

BELT (BELTED TYPE CABLE) - Refers to the number of layers of insulation on a conductor or number of layers of jacket on a cable.

BEND RADIUS - The radius of curvature that an optical fiber cable can bend without causing harmful effects on the optical or mechanical performance of the cable.

BENDING LOSS - In a fiber optic system a form of increased attenuation caused by: a) Having the fiber curved around a restrictive radius of curvature; or b) Micro bends caused by minute distortions in the fiber imposed by externally induced disturbances. Excessive bending loss may result from poor drawing or cable manufacturing technique.

BENDING RADIUS - Radius of curvature around which a fiber is bent under a stated pulling force.

BerC - Abbreviation for beryllium-copper alloy.

BIAS - a) A voltage applied to a device to establish a reference level for operation. b) A high frequency voltage combined with an audio signal to reduce distortion.

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

BLASTING WIRE - Wire used for detonating explosives. It is usually a very inexpensively constructed wire.

BLK - Abbreviation for black.

BMS - Abbreviation for Boeing Material Specification.

BOND STRENGTH - Amount of adhesion between bonded surfaces, e.g., in cemented ribbon cable.

BONDABLEWIRE - An insulated wire whose surface has been specially treated to make it possible to adhere to other materials such as potting compounds. The term usually refers to extruded PTFE insulated wires. The etching process roughens the surface of the insulation permitting an interlocking effect with potting compounds.

BONDED CONSTRUCTION - A type of insulation construction in which the glass braid and nylon jacket are bonded together as in certain wire sizes of MIL-DTL-5086 Type II.

BOOT - A protective covering over any portion of a cable or conductor in addition to its jacket or insulation.

BPS - Abbreviation for bits per second.

BRAID - A fibrous or metallic group of filaments interwoven in cylindrical form to form a covering over one or more wires. It can be made of materials such as cotton, glass, nylon, or copper fibers. Usually fibrous braid is saturated with an impregnant to protect it against moisture and fraying.

BRAID ANGLE - The smaller of the two angles formed by the shielding strand and the axis of the cable being shielded.

BRAIDEDWIRE - Woven bare or tinned copper wire used as shielding for wires, cables, and ground wire for batteries or heavy industrial equipment. There are many different types of constructions.

BRAKE WIRE - Wires used in the manufacture of both home and truck trailers to supply current to the electrical brakes on the equipment.

BRAZING - The joining of the end of two wires, rods, or groups of wires with a nonferrous filler metal at temperatures above 427° C (800° F).

BREAKDOWN(PUNCTURE) - Adisruptivedischarge through the insulation.

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 a voltage or defects or decay in the insulation.

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

BREAKING STRENGTH - The maximum load that a conductor can withstand when tested in tension to rupture. This force is usually expressed in pounds (lbs) or kilograms (kgs).

BREAKOUT- A breakout is a joint where a conductor or conductors break out from a multi-conductor cable to complete circuits at various points along the main cable. The rest of the conductors continue on within the jacket. The breakout may itself be jacketed and the joint sealed.

BROADBAND - A frequency band that extends over a relatively large range.

BUFFER (TUBE) - Metallic or nonmetallic tube used to protect optical fibers from physical damage, providing mechanical isolation and/or protection.

BUILDING WIRE - Commercial wires used in the building trades such as:Types RR, RH, RL,TW,THW, and THHN wires. General used for light and power, 600 volts or less, usually not exposed to outdoor environment.

BUNA RUBBER - A synthetic rubber used as a replacement for natural rubber.

BUNCH STRANDING - A conductor in which all individual wires are twisted in the same direction without a predetermined pattern.

BURIAL CABLE - A cable installed directly in the earth without use of an underground conduit. Also called “direct burial cable.”

BUS (BUS BAR) - A conductor, often a heavy strap or bar, used to make a common connection between several circuits.

BUTT BRAIDER - A machine used for braiding or shielding cable or wire. It may be 8, 16, 24, 32, 48, or 64 carriers. These braiders are manufactured by New England Butt Company and operate on the maypole type principal.

BUTYL - Used for any of various synthetic rubbers made by polymerizing isobutylene.

BX - A very common type of armored building wire in various configurations, rated at 600 volt.
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