Low and Medium Voltage Cable Fundamentals

Southwire Company Presented by: Sy Shaheen 1-800-444-1700

The basic function of the conductor is to carry load current. The conductor may be solid or stranded.



Comparison of Copper and Aluminum Conductors

Predominates in the Industrial Market place Greater conductivity

Predominates in the Utility Market Conduct 61% of copper for a given size Lighter in weight than copper 750kcmil : 704 lbs/Mft Very cost effective today COPPER AND ALUMINUM CONDUCTOR EQUIVALENT SIZES ALUMINUM CONDUCTOR

Heavier for same ampacity 500kcmil : 1544lb/Mft More costly.

COPPER CONDUCTOR (KCM OR AWG) 4/0 350 500 1000 Aluminum – 61% Conductivity of Copper


NEAREST STANDARD SIZE (KCM) 350 750 1000 1750

American Wire Gage
The American Wire Gage is based on the following definitions: The diameter of size #0000 (often written 4/0) is chosen to be 0.4600 inch and that of size #36, 0.0050 inch; the 38 intermediate sizes are governed by geometric progression. That is, the ratio of any diameter to that of the next smaller size (i.e. the next larger gage number) is

Circular Mil Sizes larger than 4/0 are specified in terms of the total cross-sectional area of the conductor and are expressed in circular mils. A circular mil is a unit of area equal to the area of a circle having a diameter of one mil (one mil equals 0.001 inch). The area of a circle, in circular mils, is therefore equal to the square of its diameter, in mils. Thus a wire 10 mils in diameter has a cross-sectional area of 100 circular mils. For convenience, sizes are usually expressed in thousands of circular mils (abbreviated kcmil).

WIRE GAGE TABLE-SOLID CONDUCTORS Diameter In Inches .4600 .4096 .3648 .3249 .2893 .2576 .2294 .2043 .1819 .1620 .1443 .1285 .1144 .1019 .0907 .0808 Cross Sectional Area in Sq. inches .1662 .1318 .1045 .08291 .06573 .05212 .04133 .03278 .02599 .02061 .01635 .01297 .01028 .00816 .00646 .00513


Circular Mils

Lb./1000 Ft. Copper 640.5 507.8 402.8 319.5 253.3 200.9 159.3 126.3 100.2 79.4 63. 49.9 39.6 31.4 24.9 19.8 Aluminum 194.7 154.4 122.4 97.13 77.00 61.07 48.43 38.39 30.46 24.15 19.16 15.19 12.04 9.55 7.57 6.02

0000 000 00 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

211600 167800 133100 105600 83690 66360 52620 41740 33090 26240 20820 16510 13090 10380 8230 6530

765 .0359 .000125 Lb.0126 Continued Cross Sectional Area in Sq.000158 .599 .19 .WIRE GAGE TABLE-SOLID CONDUCTORS.87 7.50 1.00101 .481 Aluminum 4.77 3.0571 .471 .0253 .0720 .00407 .185 .0179 .942 .0285 .146 AWG Circular Mils 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5180 4110 3260 2580 2050 1620 1290 1020 812 640 511 404 320 253 202 159 . Copper 15.00128 .748 .00161 .610 .0320 .0142 . Diameter In Inches .0226 .21 4.233 .000199 .37 1.295 .89 1.000401 .00 2.10 2./1000 Ft.0201 .7 12.000503 .0453 .77 3.0641 .0403 .371 .000804 .0159 .4 9.00203 .970 .22 .000638 .94 1.81 6.55 1.000252 .000317 .00323 .00256 . inches .46 1.0508 .90 3.92 3.

0230 .240 .0613 .7 31.0000196 .0000785 .0100 .0147 .0365 .0 50.0921 .0045 .0465 .0000503 .0000159 .0050 .194 .118 .2 64.303 .0071 .0040 128 100 79.120 .0730 .0 20.0000126 .0186 .0000312 .0949 .0 .4 39.WIRE GAGE TABLE-SOLID CONDUCTORS Continued 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 .153 .2 16.0000246 .0083 .40 25.0757 .0080 .0590 .387 .0484 .0089 .0056 .0233 .0000622 .0000396 .0113 .000100 .

. the greater the number of strands. the more flexible the conductor becomes. For any given wire size.Stranding • Stranded conductors were developed to overcome the stiffness of solid wires.

each layer is applied in a direction opposite to that of the layer under it. twelve. the first layer will contain six wires. etc. the third. Each layer after the first has six more wires than the preceding layer. the second. The following diagram shows this relationship in convenient form. Except in compact stranding. . eighteen. If the core is a single wire and if it and all of the outer strands have the same diameter.Concentric Stranding A concentric stranded conductor consists of a central wire or core surrounded by one or more layers of helically laid wires.

Types of Strand Construction Approximate size comparison: 3% 9% 15% Concentric Compressed Compact Solid .

.Insulation • A material that has a high resistance to the flow of current to prevent leakage from the conductor to ground. There are two types of insulations. a thermoplastic and a thermoset insulation.

INDUSTRIAL/UTILITY PRODUCTS INSULATION TYPES 1.105ºC 80ºC 90º to 105ºC 150ºC 150º or 200ºC Types -High Molecular Weight Polyethylene HMPE -Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) -Polypropylene -Thermoplastic Elastomer TPE -Tefzel -Teflon . Normal Temperature Rating 75ºC 60º. 90º. Thermoplastic Definition: A classification for an insulation that is extruded and quenched. 75º. It can readily be softened and re-softened by repeated heating without a substantial change in physical and chemical properties.

CP) Types - Normal Temperature Rating 75º C 75º C 85º C 125º C 90º C 2a. when subject to heat and pressure. undergoes a chemical change known as vulcanization or crosslinking. through irradiation techniques.INDUSTRIAL/UTILITY PRODUCTS INSULATION TYPES (Continued) 2. Normal Temperature Rating 90º C 90ºC Types -Crosslinked Polyethylene (XLPE) -Ethylene-Propylene-Rubber (EPR) -EPM -EPDM . the properties are not affected. CROSSLINKED Definition: A classification for an insulation which is extruded as a thermoplastic and then converted to a thermoset compound through chemical means. or through exposure to humidity or moisture. Thermoset Definition: A classification for an insulation that is extruded and then. Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR or GRS) 0il Base Rubber Butyl Rubber Silicone Rubber Hypalon (Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene) (CSPE. The process fixes or establishes the properties of the material so that when again exposed to heat.

The Thermoset and Thermoplastic Process Curing Tube I Conductor Thermoset Process Cooling Tube I Conductor I : Insulation Thermoplastic Process .

Rated 90°C dry. 75°C wet. Rated 90°C dry. High Heat resistant. Nylon covered. (Can not be direct buried) Note: -2 indicates 90°C wet or dry. High Heat resistant.600 volt Cable Designation THHN/THWN: Thermoplastic. XHHW: XL polymer (thermoset). Dry or Wet (W) locations. Dry or Wet (W). XHHW-2 rated 90°C wet or dry Example: . 75°C wet.


000 Btu/hr. is placed behind the tray in a horizontal plane. . is then extinguished and the cable fire is allowed to burn itself out.UL Vertical Tray Flame Test A large scale ribbon burner flame propagation test performed in a standard configuration flame room. 18inches from the tray bottom and 3-inches away from the cables in the tray. Test samples usually 9/c #12 Tray cable or single conductor 1/0 awg) are mounted in the tray with ½ diameter spacing. The burner is applied for 20 minutes. Two test are performed to demonstrate reproducibility. A 10-inch wide ribbon burner having a theoretical heat output of 70. The cables must not propagate flame to the top of the tray as defined by blistering or charring of the cables. An 8 foot high 12-inch wide steel ladder rack with 9-inch rung spacing is mounted vertically in the center of the flame room. filling the center 6inches of the tray.

.Medium Voltage. 5 and 15kv Cable Fundamentals Conductors: The same conductor concepts for low voltage cables do apply to medium voltage cables.

Electrical stress lines . projections on the surface of the conductor bundle cause concentration of electrical stress.As voltage increases. This can lead to degradation of the insulation.

having a nominal dielectric strength of only 55 volts per mil.Medium Voltage Cable Conductor (Strand) Shielding The semi-conductive layer between conductor and insulation compensates for air voids that exist between conductor and insulation. Without strand shielding an electrical potential exists that will over-stress these air voids. Modern cables ar e generally constructed with an extruded strand shield. while most cable insulations have dielectric strengths over 700 volts/mil. This forms ozone. it causes corona (partial discharges). Air is a poor insulator. which chemically deteriorates cable insulations. . As air breaks down or ionizes. The semi-conductive strand shielding eliminates this potential by simply “shorting out” the air.

ie. crosslinking. thermoplastic. .Medium Voltage Insulation The same insulating concepts for low voltage cables do apply to medium voltage cables. thermoset.

220” NOTE: Some customers specify a 133% IL Cable even though their system complies with 100% IL Definition: i. the phase-to-phase voltage rating of the cable is specified along with an insulation level category – 100% Insulation Level (IL) or 133% Insulation Level (IL). . the two remaining phases continue to operate but with a higher than normal voltage applied across the insulation.) The Insulation Level (IL) category is used to define what happens to a cable during failure conditions and determines the proper insulation thickness for the cable. desire over insulated cable for lower electrical stress operation and perceived longer life. ICEA 5kV – 100% IL . CABLE INSULATION THICKNESS COMPARISON CHART Industry Standard UL MV-90. (Several years ago. A greater insulation thickness is required on some cables to withstand this higher voltage.e.090 “ 5kV – 133% IL .175” 15kV-133% IL .e.voltages occurs during the failure. When one phase fails. these categories were referred to as Grounded Neutral (GN) and Ungrounded Neutral (UN). A normal insulation thickness can be used for these cables because no exposure to over. These cables are often used on delta connected circuits or ungrounded neutral circuits. Some customers still use these terms.. removing all three phases from the circuit).100% Insulation Level – 133% Insulation Level (Grounded Neutral) (Ungrounded Neutral) For shielded medium voltage power cables. fault current is transmitted to circuit breaker which opens. respectively. 100% IL Cable in this category are used on electrical systems with relay protection such that ground faults (cable failure) will be cleared within 1-minute (i..090” 15kV-100% IL . 133% IL Cables in this category are used on electrical systems where a ground fault (cable failure) cannot be cleared in 1-minute but the faulted cables will be de-energized within 1 hour.

Ethylene Propylene Rubber – – – – Good Insulating Properties Flexible. Easier to Work With Tree Retardant Premium Cost • Low Voltage .Used by Some Utilities and Most Industrial Plants .Occasionally Used • Medium Voltage .Medium Voltage EPR • EPR .

Typically Used by Utilities .Widely Used • Medium Voltage .Medium Voltage XLPE • XLPE – Cross-Linked Polyethylene – – – – – Excellent Electrical Properties Less Expensive than EPR Physically Tough Insulation Good Aging Characteristics Stiff • Low Voltage .

.….………………….…………..…………..………….……………….………… XLPE • Lower Electrical Losses…….EPR or XLPE • Initial Cost…………...……………..………….EPR • Flexibility…………...……………………..……………………….XLPE for Medium Voltage Applications Consideration………. Multiple factors affect most applications...Typical Cable Choice • Thermal Overload…......EPR or XLPE • Dry Conditions….EPR or XLPE • Wet Conditions.. XLPE * This is only a general Guideline..EPR • Aerial Installation….EPR -vs. select Materials on a case-by-case basis .

Ingredients EPR • • • • • • • • Base Filler (EPDM) Clay Filler Silane Zinc oxide Paraffin Wax Polyethylene Red Lead Peroxide • • • • TR-XLP or XLP Polyethylene Anti-oxidant Peroxide Tree-retardant Additive for TRXLP .

Flame Res. Dissipation Factor Dielectric Losses Smoke Evolvement Acid Gas Generation Corona Resistance Electrical Stability – H20 .XLPE INSULATION TR-XLPE EPR 5 3 3 Thermal Stability Moisture Resistance S Ruggedness Flexibility Spliceability Medium Voltage Insulation Compound Comparisons Ratings: 4 3 3 1 1 4 4 5 5 5 = Exceptional 4 = Excellent 3 = Good 2 = Fair 1 = Poor 4 2 4 3 3 4 3 4 3 4 5 5 3 4 1 2 4 4 5 4 5 4 4 4 5 3 2 3 3 2 3 1 2 4 5 5 4 5 4 4 5 5 SIC Dielectric Strength Impulse Strength Cost Oil Resistance Chemical Res.

This is What We Have Built This Far Conductor shield Conductor Insulation .

Insulation Electrical stress lines go to ground Ground .Proximity of cable to ground can cause electrical stress concentration on the outer surface of the insulation.

220 mils insulation. The average radial stress is determined by the ratio of the applied voltage to the total insulation thickness: S = E/t At 15kv.Electrical Stress Electrical stress is defined as the electrical force acting on a unit positive charge. S = 15 = 68 Volts per mil 220 S = Average stress in volts per mil E = Voltage applied in volts t = Insulation thickness in mils .

The stress at any point in a homogeneous cable insulation is given by: S = E 2.303 r log D/d S = Stress in volts per mil E = Voltage to ground in volts d = Diameter of conductor in mils (over strand shield) D = Diameter over insulation in mils r = Distance of point from axis in mils .Electrical Stress Cont.

998 1. As the radius of the conductor increases the electrical stresses decreases.2 44.00 1.48 51.0 .Electrical Stress Cont.29 1.813 .4 46. Example: The stress at the surface of the conductor interface operating at 8660 volts to ground: Conductor Size Conductor Diameter “d” Insulation Diameter “D” Stress v/mil 4/0 500 kcmil 750 kcmil .528 .

– To limit radio interference. The shield must be grounded . – To reduce the hazard of shock.Insulation Shield • The function of the insulation shield is to: – Confine the electrical field within the cable – Obtain symmetrical radial distribution of voltage stress within the insulation.

Equal Electrical Stress Line Distribution Insulation shield Electrical stress lines Conductor shield Insulation .

C = 7. of insulation. If the insulation shield is not grounded. of conductor including shield material (in) V .35 e Log D/d e : dielectric constant of insulation. SIC D : OD. (in) d : OD.The Capacitor Affect The insulation shield does not confine the voltage to the insulation. the cable acts like a long line capacitor and presents a serious shock hazard.

– The metallic shield is used to ground the nonmetallic insulation shield. – To prevent shock hazard – To provide fault current path – Sometimes to provide a system neutral (URD cable) .Metallic Shield • The metallic shield can either be a wire shield or tape shield.

Medium Voltage Cable with Wire Shield Insulation Insulation shield conductor conductor shield Wire shield .

p: 58 – Protect the underlying cable from physical abuse – Protect the underlying cable from water ingress – Protect the underlying cable from chemicals – Protect the underlying cable from corrosion .Jacket • The purpose of the jacket is to: .

FR-PVC: Fire Retardant PVC . CPE: Chlorinated polyethylene . Unlike Hypalon has no sulfur LSZH: Low Smoke Zero Halogen .Primarily used as a thermoset jacket or insulation for 600 volt and a thermoplastic jacket for Medium Voltage.Primarily used as a thermoplastic insulation on 600 volt cables and a jacket on 600 volt medium voltage cables. DuPont polymer Primarily used as a thermoset jacket in 600 and Medium Voltage cables.Jackets Hypalon CSPE: Chlorosulfonated polyethylene. . Does have chlorine. LSZH is a Polyolefin compound.Primarily Used as a thermoplastic jacket.

35 Fail 0. 121C.000 BTU/Hr. * Vertical Ladder Tray Test LOW TEMPERATURE RATING Cold Bend Test Temperature Passed (C) HALOGEN CONTENT (Chlorine) (%) COEFFICIENT OF DYNAMIC FRICTION () in PVC Duct LIMITED SMOKE TEST (PASS/FAIL) UL 1685 28 28 30 40 PASS -10 29 PASS -35 19 PASS -30 13.5 Fail 0.PVC PHYSICAL PROPERTIES Tensile Strength (PSI) Elongation (%) AGING CHARACTERISTICS Air Oven.35 Fail 0. at 70.5 PASS -40 0. 168 Hrs.3 LIMITING OXYGEN INDEX (LOI) (%) FLAME RESISTANCE 20 Min. * Tensile Strength (% of Unaged Value) * Elongation (% of Unaged Value) MOISTURE RESISTANCE 7 Days in 70C Water * Mg Absorbed/Square Inch CPE Hypalon SOLONON 1500 100 1400 150 1800 300 2000 160 85 60 8 85 50 25 85 65 35 111 63 14.35 Pass .0 0.

Complete Medium Voltage Cable Insulation Insulation shield conductor conductor shield jacket Wire shield .

The Manufacturing Process of 15kv Cable IS Curing Tube I Thermoset Process CS Conductor CS: Conductor Shield I : Insulation IS : Insulation Shield PVC Jacket Cooling Tube Assembled Cable Thermoplastic Process .

TERMINOLOGY • AWM • TC • TFFN • PLTC Appliance Wiring Material Tray Cable Fixture Wire Power Limited Tray Cable • MC • MTW • MV-90 • MV-105 Metal Clad (IA) Machine Tool Wire Medium Voltage 90 C Medium Voltage 105 C • FOR CT USE • VW-1 • SUN RES • DIR BUR • OPEN WIRING • LS Cable Tray Flame Test Designation Flame Test Designation For Wire Sunlight Resistant Direct Burial TC Optional Listing Limited Smoke .

Dielectric Loss DL = .0030 . SIC (specific inductive capacity) tan a : power factor of insulation in decimals D : outside diameter of insulation.0008 .9 tana .4 2. (in) d : outside diameter of conductor including shield material (in) 2 TRXLP EPR SIC 2.00276 V e tan a log D/d V : phase to neutral in kV e : dielectric constant.

Megger Testing .

000 volts. The minimum acceptable value for insulation resistance per ICEA (S-73532) is given as: IR > 2000/ L Mega-ohms IR: Insulation Resistance L: Length of circuit in feet . with all other cables connected together and grounded.Megger Testing The megger test is a common electrical test performed on low (600 volt) cables after they have been pulled in to raceways or conduit. A megger test is performed with a low voltage instrument that measures the leakage current through insulation. The test voltage is usually between 500 and 1. The megger test procedure consists of applying a dc voltage to the cable being tested.

Southwire’s “2 to 50 Megohm Rule” Acceptable: A megohm reading of 50 megohm or higher Investigate: A megohm reading between 2 – 50 megohm Unacceptable: A megohm reading less than 2 megohm .

High Potential Hi-Pot Testing .

Installation testing is important in that it provides assurance that no damage has occurred during installation or in handling after leaving the factory. the test can serve as an acceptance test and assure the owner that the cable has not been damaged and should perform satisfactorily.35KV System Voltage KV Phase to Phase 5 8 15 25 28 35 Accceptance Test Voltage (KV dc. Recommended dc Test Voltages for Shielded Power Cable Systems From 5 . low current dc power to the cable. If the cable is installed by a contractor. Cond-gnd) 23 29 46 61 68 75 Acceptance test voltage duration is normally 15 minutes.DC Installation Testing DC installation testing is accomplished by employing high voltage. Cond-gnd) 28 36 56 75 85 100 Maintenance Test Voltage (KV dc. Maintenance test voltage duration is normally not less than 5 minutes or more than 15 minutes .

A plot of leakage current and vs. • Capacitive charging current required to charge up the capacitance between the conductor and the shield. . Current decreases with an RC time constant depending on the cable length and the resistance of the set. The absolute value of the output current is not of primary importance as there is no set current value for a good/bad insulation.Three Components of dc Current The output current of the test set into the cable is not the true leakage current. • Dielectric absorption current required to polarize the molecules in the cable dielectric. • Leakage current a relatively constant value at a fixed temperature and dc voltage. test voltage should result in a straight line for good insulation. It is based on the sum of the three components below.

Components of dc Proof-Test Current Capacitive Charging Current (Ic) C u r r e n t Dielectric Absorption Current (Ia) Total dc Test Current It = (Ic)+I(a)+I(l) Leakage Current (IL) Time .

• • • • Bad Insulation A rising current at a steady voltage is an indication of questionable condition Leakage current between phases differ greatly. There should be a fairly close match in the leakage currents between the three phases at a given voltage. A falling leakage curve is indicative of good insulation.Behavior of dc Current Good and Bad Insulation • Good Insulation The total test current should never increase appreciably at a constant dc test voltage. A drop of current with respect to time. A rise in current with respect to time indicates a bad insulation. • .

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