In recent times, halogen-free wire and cable products have become popular. For one, these cabling products are designed putting safety in mind. Some of the issues that are addressed in the engineering of the halogen-free conductor cables are such as fire safety, environmental degradation, and fire damage prevention. An example of halogen-free cable is the RSCC Aerodefense MIL-DTL-24643/43 Tin Plated Copper Overall Shield Low Smoke Zero Halogen Cable designed for use in shipboards. This cable is made of tinned copper and is used for non-watertight, non-flex applications, especially on small boat shipboards.

Typical applications for MIL-DTL-24643/43 include lighting, combat systems, power circuits, and communications. An insulation material made of cross-linked XLPE and a jacketing material made of cross-linked polyolefin low-smoke, halogen-free are used to offer protection to the cable.

But what are halogens?

In the periodic table, you will find non-metallic elements known as halogens. There are five halogens in that table and they include bromine, fluorine, astatine, iodine, and chlorine. One of the materials that contain these elements is the PVC and that is the reason why you may find cables insulated or jacketed with PVC material are used in applications that demand fire safety. Halogens, when used in insulation and jackets of cables, they make them highly flame retardant.  When they are exposed to fire, or when they burn, halogens release a thick toxic smoke. They also become corrosive and these features may result in damage of equipment or again pose safety concerns.

Why use halogen free cables

Using halogen free cables helps eliminate environmentally sensitive materials that may present health hazards on people. You may have seen the initials LSZH used in such cables. LSZH means low smoke zero halogen, and it is used to describe the insulation and jacketing material used on the conductors. The compounds used to make the jacket and insulation do not contain fluorine, iodine, chlorine, or astatine, which are known to emit dangerous substances after they get in contact with fire. This means that LSZH cables release little to no toxics and emit minimal smoke when they come in contact with fire. The LSZH cables may also be called low smoke halogen free (LSHF) or low smoke non halogen (LSNH) or low smoke zero halogen (LS0H). So, when you see these initials used in descriptions of the cables, you may want to know that they literally mean the same thing.

Where can you use halogen free cables?

These cables are meant for use in applications that demand for low smoke generation, low toxicity, and low corrosiveness. For instance, they are used in industrial shipboard, rapid transit, and commercial fields where safety of people and protection of equipment are of great concern.

So, if you’re in the market seeking cable products that ensure safety of people while not being able to degrade the environment, you may want to consider the halogen free cables. In marine environments, the cables may also need to endure the harsh conditions experienced in these locations including ability to resist corrosion. They also should resist high temperatures and humidity.

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