An electrical cable with one or more insulated conductors enclosed by a common conductive layer is defined as a shielded cable also called screened cable. The shield may be composed of braided strands of copper (or other metal, such as aluminum foil ), a non-braided spiral winding of copper tape, or a layer of conducting polymer. Usually this shield is covered with a jacket.
With shielding electrical noise and electromagnetic radiation can be reduced. In other words, they help to keep the signal stable and decrease interference with other devices. This is achieved by utilizing a shield that is typically composed of copper tape, a layer of conducting Aluminum Foil or a braid (made of copper mostly), and is enclosed with a jacket.
There are different levels of shielding, namely STP, SSTP, FTP. And for different levels of shielding they are :
UTP – Unshielded Twisted Pair
STP – Shielded Twisted Pair
SSTP – Screened & Shielded Twisted Pair
FTP – Foil Twisted Pair
There are also different types of shielding, including braided shield, foil, and screening. The shield can be applied to each one of the pairs in a cable, or to all the pairs together.
Foil shielding consists of aluminum foil wrapped individual, pairs, or multiple wires. Foil shielding provides 100% coverage and a 25% overlap. A drain wire is commonly found with foil shields for grounding purposes.
Braid shielding is made from bare or a tinned copper stranding weaved into a shield surrounding the inner wires of a cable. Braid coverage is less than foil shielding and ranges from 60 – 95%.
Spiral wrap shielding is made when the shielding material is wrapped around the desired wires or core of a cable. Spiral wrap shielding provides both high flexibility and excellent coverage. However, it can reach 100% in terms of overall coverage.
Shielding combinations are often used. The most common construction is a cable with a foil and braid shield; many high-quality data cables use this combination of shielding.
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Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is prevalent throughout the factory floor. This is when shielded cables come in handy. This is because shielding lessens electrical noise and minimizes its impact on signals and also decreases electromagnetic radiation. Shielding prevents crosstalk between cables near each other. Shielding not only protects cable but it can also protect machinery and people as well. They are usually used in industrial installations where nearby equipment causes electromagnetic interference.