Allied Encyclopedia – Cable Testing: Flame Test, UV Test & ER Tests

Allied EncyclopediaLook at a spec sheet and you will see information on all kinds of data on cable characteristics. Flame-retardant. Excellent UV resistance. Poor flexibility. The spec sheet gives you all of this information, but have you ever wondered how we get that data? Products go through rigorous cable testing to determine what properties they have and to what extent those properties hold up.

Some of the most common cable tests include:

Flame Tests

Flame tests determine how cable reacts to fire. For many of these tests, a vertical flame is applied to the cable at different intervals while they measure how long the cable burns in response. Usually, there is a short standardized amount of time that the cable is allowed to burn once the flame is removed. If it burns longer, the cable is considered to have failed the flame test.

UV Tests

UV tests examine the ability of jacketing or connectors to resist UV rays. Sometimes, sunlight and UV radiation can cause the cable to degrade. It is important to know whether the cable is stable enough to be used in an application where it will be exposed to extensive sunlight. If the cable does not stand up to the UV light applied in the UV tests, manufacturers can consider adding UV stabilizers like carbon black to make the cable more weather and UV resistant.

Exposed-Run (ER) Tests

Exposed-run tests are used on unarmored cables to determine if they are rugged enough to be installed as exposed wiring, without a tray, conduit, or other cable raceway to protect them. This is also called open wiring. In exposed-run tests, the cable must withstand a series of crush and impact tests that challenge their durability and mechanical strength. Using cables that pass exposed-run tests can potentially lower installation cost because you may no longer require the trays or other materials that usually house cable.

Those are just a few of the tests that give us important information on the cable’s physical qualities. Hopefully now you know a little more about what goes into cable spec sheets and the process of how cables are classified. If there are any other types of tests you’d like explained, let us know!

About awcwire
Allied Wire & Cable is a value-added manufacturer and distributor of electrical wire and cable, tubing, and more. We are a family owned and operated company, serving a wide range of industries, including the military, automotive, aerospace, and telecommunications markets. Allied is headquartered in Collegeville, PA. Additional locations can be found across the US, in Merrimack, NH, Tampa, FL, Pewaukee, WI, and Las Vegas, NV. For more information on Allied, visit our main website at

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