Some data cabling enthusiasts may wish to lay data cables in their homes without involving an electrician. Such people may buy copper-clad aluminium cables and use them when setting up that data network. That type of cable may have shortcomings that can affect the performance of the system. This article discusses some of the reasons why copper-clad aluminium cables may not be the best type of cables to use for data cabling.
Copper-clad aluminium cables have a thin coating of copper over an aluminium core. Such a cable is likely to overheat during the transmission of data signals. This is because aluminium is not as good at transmitting electricity as copper may be. Consequently, the aluminium core is likely to overheat due to its resistance to electrical transmission. This overheating can put your premises at the risk of an electrical fire in case the data network is used heavily for an extended duration. Avoid this problem by using cables made from other materials, such as only copper, so that those cables don't overheat as they are being used.
The copper-clad aluminium cables are also at a greater risk of being damaged during the installation process. Aluminium can break easily if it is flexed or bent during the installation process. This susceptibility to damage results from the poor malleability of aluminium. Cracks may therefore develop on the cables as they are moved around during the installation process. Those damaged sections eventually affect the integrity of the signals that are transmitted over your network. Secondly, the cracks form points of weakness where the cable can eventually break. You are therefore better off buying other cables, such as copper cables, that won't break during the installation process.
Susceptibility to Oxidation
Aluminium combines with oxygen to form an oxide layer on the surface of that exposed aluminium. Exposure can occur at different points, such as at socket connections. This oxide layer affects the ability of that oxidised section to transmit data signals. Heat will therefore build up at that oxidised point and cause the cable to overheat. Cables made from copper don't suffer the same degradation in the presence of oxygen. Thus, copper-clad cables may not be as good as copper cables when one is installing a data network.
As you can see, copper-clad aluminium cables have several shortcomings that can have a detrimental impact on any data cabling application in which they are used. It is better for you to take a cautious approach and involve an electrician so that he or she helps you to select the most appropriate type of cables for your needs.