What are electrical cable type tests?
Type tests (short for Prototype) are predominately destructive tests, conducted to determine if the cable construction and materials are compliant with standard specifications. As inferred in the name, prototype tests are done to prove design and the required cable parameters - they are only required to be done once and are generally not repeated.
Examples of type tests include:
- Corrosive and acid gas emissions testing
- Mass of zinc coating for galvanised wire armour
- Smoke density testing (the 3m cube test for LSZH cables)
- Flame propagation test for multiple cables
- Shrinkage test on insulation
- Abrasion test
As you would expect from the above examples of type tests, cables are burned, baked or otherwise tested to understand the limits of their performance, beyond what would normally be seen during operation. The cable length being tested is rendered unusable afterwards. Type tests are generally undertaken by the cable manufacturer prior to them being made available for sale in the marketplace, but Type testing may also be conducted by independent laboratories and/or certification bodies looking to affirm compliance.
The requirements for type tests, routine tests or sample tests are categorised in the relevant standard to which the cable is manufactured to.
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