Electric wires are used in nearly everything today, from toasters to computers to the satellites orbiting high above the Earth, but wires are delicate hardware, and they need protection from heat, cold, pressure, and more. Fortunately, over the years many different sleeving and coating materials and solutions have been developed for wires to be used in nearly any machine or environment, and materials such as heat resistant sleeving, braided sleeving, flame-retardant sleeving, and silicone rubber coated sleeving, among others, are produced today to keep wires safe no matter where they are working. In some cases, the simple plastic coating found on ordinary wires is not nearly sufficient to keep the copper wires inside safe; only silicone rubber coated sleeving or similar materials will do the job. And no matter how tough or advanced, wire sleeving or plastic coating like silicone rubber coated sleeving or electrical tubing needs to be regularly inspected and repaired or updated to prevent problems. Where might cables and their tough protective sleeves be found?
Wires and Space
Ever since the 1950s when Sputnik 1 entered orbit, humanity has been putting satellites in orbit around the Earth, and today, many of those artificial satellites are used for mass communication and GPS, such as with geospatial tracking, cell phones, WiFi, and more, and without these satellites and their constant hard work, a lot of electronics down on Earth would no longer be able to transmit data, and even pagers would be affected. In fact, the Satellite Database has a listing of all satellites orbiting the Earth today, and that list has some 2,000 operational satellites on it. These satellites rarely have to worry about problems such as meteors, but they are exposed to the sun’s powerful radiation and the extreme cold of outer space, so their delicate inner components must be protected.
Many wires can be found inside a space satellite, and the delicate copper threads in them are coated with the right plastic sheathing or even hoes and cables to protect them from the cold and solar radiation. What is more, these wires must not come loose or the entire satellite may be compromised. This also means that the crimping work must be done well; that is, how wires are pressed into metal endings that allow them to interface with electronics. Wires on a satellite, if crimped well and protected from the elements of outer space, will function well.
Wires and Extremes
Outer space is not the only place where wires may be exposed to environmental extremes, and down on Earth, there are many hazards that may present themselves to wires. The mildest is simple wear and tear, where years of use may cause a wire’s plastic sheathing to fray and split over time and expose the wires inside, which is a serious problem. These exposed wires are hot, and they are liable to set flammable materials on fire upon contact, such as carpets, drapes, or paper, and this gave rise to the term “electrical fire.” What is more, such exposed wires are also a shock hazard to people and pets both in the home and workplace. Among American workers, unfortunately, electric shock hazards at the office and other workplaces claim nearly 300 lives per year and cause around 4,000 injuries, meaning that in the United States, electric shock ranks sixth among causes of workplace deaths.
Wires may also face other extremes, and if they are not protected, such as with silicone rubber coated sleeving or safety cable kits, they may soon be damaged and rendered useless. The engine of a car, train, or airplane is a good example of this. These engines make use of wires, but the engines generate a lot of heat and may also have instances of high air pressure, and this is highly harmful to wires. So, tough woven cables are used to shield them, and these cables are built to endure heat, pressure, and even extreme cold to protect the wires inside at all times. An airplane 35,000 feet up, for example, is exposed to great cold, and wires must be protected from that, too. And of course, even this tough cabling may fail sometimes, so professionals should inspect vehicle cables every so often and report problems.