XLPE Cable and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Kelly Benjamin
June 6, 2023

Performance Wire and Cable is a leading manufacturer and supplier of many types of cables, including XLPE cables. XLPE insulation continues to become increasingly popular.

What is XLPE Cable?

XLPE cable (Cross-linked polyethylene) is a type of electrical cable commonly used for power transmission and distribution. XLPE cable is made of a thermoset material, which means it is highly resistant to heat, moisture, and chemicals. This makes it an ideal choice for applications where the cable will be exposed to harsh environmental conditions, such as underground or underwater installations.

The XLPE insulation material is produced by chemically cross-linking polyethylene molecules. This process enhances the material’s strength and stability, improving its ability to withstand high temperatures and electrical stresses. XLPE cable has a higher operating temperature compared to PVC (polyvinyl chloride) insulated cables.

What are the benefits of XLPE?

The benefits of XLPE make it a preferred choice for applications where electrical insulation, chemical resistance, thermal stability, and mechanical strength are crucial factors. Its versatility and reliability have contributed to its widespread use in power transmission, cable manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and other industries. XLPE insulation performs at both high and low temperatures. Due to its structure, XLPE is extremely resistant to abrasion and other wear and tear. It also boasts resistance to high-voltage electricity, chemicals, and other hazardous materials. Cross-linked polyethylene insulation is also a more affordable option.

When should XLPE cable be used?

XLPE cable is commonly used in a wide range of applications, including power distribution in buildings, industrial installations, and utility power grids. It is available in various sizes and configurations, including single-core, multi-core, and screened cables. It can also be used for low-voltage, medium-voltage, and high-voltage Cross-Linked Polyethylene applications.

In short, XLPE cable should be used in industries that expose wire and cable to:

  • Extreme temperature conditions (high and low)
  • High-voltage electrical applications
  • Abrasion and stress
  • Water and other liquids
  • Chemicals and other hazardous materials

XLPE cable can be used for plumbing, mining, and various electrical applications. Cross-linked polyethylene cables can also be found across the chemical industry and within the commercial and residential heating industry. Don’t forget about dentists’ offices and other medical institutions, groundskeeping at stadiums and other venues, and much more.

What’s the difference between XLPE insulation and PVC insulation?

XLPE, as explained above, is cross-linked polyethylene material. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride insulation.

The main difference is that XLPE can be used for high and low-tension applications. Its structure provides great resistance to abrasion, stress, and other wear and tear. PVC insulation cannot withstand as much pressure, meaning it is only suitable for low-tension applications.

Other differences:

  • XLPE insulation tends to last longer than PVC insulation
  • Since XLPE doesn’t contain chloride, it is more environmentally friendly
  • XLPE insulation can withstand higher temperatures
  • Cross-linked polyethylene features more moisture resistance

What are the different types of XLPE insulated cables?

XLPE (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) insulated cables are widely used in power transmission and distribution systems due to their excellent electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties. Different types of XLPE insulated cables are based on their application, construction, and voltage rating. Here are some of the common types:

  1. Low Voltage XLPE Insulated Cables: These cables are designed for use in low voltage power distribution networks with a voltage rating of up to 1kV. They are typically used in homes, offices, and industrial applications.
  2. Medium Voltage XLPE Insulated Cables: These cables are designed for use in medium voltage power distribution networks with a voltage rating of up to 35kV. They are used for power transmission and distribution in industries, commercial complexes, and residential areas.
  3. High Voltage XLPE Insulated Cables: These cables are designed for use in high voltage power transmission networks with a voltage rating of up to 500kV. They are used for long-distance power transmission and distribution between power plants and substations.
  4. Armored XLPE Insulated Cables: These cables have an additional layer of protection in the form of steel wire or tape armor. They are used in applications where the cable is exposed to mechanical stress, such as underground or underwater installations.
  5. Unarmoured XLPE Insulated Cables: These cables do not have any armor and are used in applications where there is no risk of mechanical stress.
  6. Fire Resistant XLPE Insulated Cables: These cables are designed to maintain their electrical properties even in the event of a fire. They are used in buildings, tunnels, and other applications where fire safety is critical.
  7. Instrumentation XLPE Insulated Cables: These cables are used in instrumentation and control systems where signal transmission is critical. They have low capacitance and high insulation resistance, which ensures reliable signal transmission.

The appropriate type of XLPE insulated cable selection depends on the application and voltage requirements.

Performance Wire and Cable utilizes XLPE insulation on USE-2 wires, RHW-2 cable, and RHH cable.

Where can I order the XLPE cable?

Right here! Performance Wire and Cable offers various types of XLPE cable. Contact us today or give us a call. Our wire and cable experts will help you determine which cross-linked polyethylene cable is perfect for your next job.

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