3 Key Differences of Flexible and Rigid Cable Assemblies

Coaxial cable assemblies are a means for signal conductors and are usually produced in two formats, or a combination thereof: in either a flexible format or in a design with a rigid composition. Generally, a coax cable maintains a core, comprised of a signal conductor, with tubular insulation surrounding that core, and a final tubular shield surrounding both layers. If a cable is described as “set” and is unable to bend, aside from intentional shaping, then the cable is generally a rigid cable assembly. If the cable has a braded shield that allows a sense of give to the cable, then it is most likely a flexible, or semi-flexible cable. In other words, the cable’s function and purpose dictates the flexibility, or rigidity, of the assembly and can be described by three key differences:

The outer shield is the most important factor for flexible assemblies.

The most outer shield of a cable defines the flexible cable. The innermost part of the cable begins with a metal conductor. A polymer insulator is fixed around the conductor. Finally, a braded shield and a jacket encase and protect the cable from outside elements. With a flexible assembly, these outer layers must be malleable and pliant. The more pliable the outer shield, the more flexible the cable. If a wire is able to bend, but then remains in a bent position, then the wire is characterized as more of a semi-flexible cable.

The outer shield is so very important for a flexible assembly, as it allows these cables to be used for a variety of functions. Generally, the more flexible cables are used to transmit signals for televisions and other household appliances. Unfortunately, this pliable trait is also the cause for some malfunctions in the transmission power. Without a rigid assembly, the wire can bend until the signal is no longer transferable.

Strict bends, or “elbows,” define rigid assemblies.

Whereas a flexible cable is concerned with a malleable shield, rigid assemblies are most noted by their inability to bend spontaneously. If the cable needs to move in a certain direction, or “turn,” then strict bends, known as elbows, are added to the cables to allow the cable to move in a distinct direction. Unlike the flexible cable, these elbows are inflexible and will not move. In other words, the bends are permanent. Elbows come at a fixed 45 degree or 90 degree angle. These types of fixtures are best suited for high-power connections indoors.

Higher performance qualities are attributed to rigid cable assemblies.

One of the most notable differences between the two types of cable assemblies is the performances and functions of both. The adaptable nature of the flexible cable makes it conducive for cable carriers. This is great for home appliances, like televisions and computer systems.

Because of the firmness of the rigid cable assembly, it is more commonly used in situations that require a higher performance level. The diameter size of many rigid cables allows for multi-channel DTV/analog transmission. The elbows allow for some sense of flexibility, and a rigid cable assembly can last for several decades, making it an ideal candidate for higher-functioning purposes.

Interested in learning more about the functions and differences of flexible and rigid cable assemblies? Check out www.lodanelectronics.com today!