Cables can have single as well multiple cables. Multicore cable are electrical cables that carry multiple cores that are made of copper. However, the term is used only for cables that carry more cores than is usual for that type of cable. For instance, if a cable design typically has four core, this would not be considered a multicore cable. However, if a cable that normally carried only two cores is found with four cores, it would be a multicore cable.
We often see multicore cables in video camera, broadcasting etc. Multicore cables are often used to put multiple functions in one cable. These are also highly customised, since a single cable can carry whatever functions we want. For instance in a video camera cable, the cores carry video, audio as well as power.
The cores are bundled together, splitting at the end with each end attached to the function it is designed for. Multicore cables can also be built from existing cables by twisting them together, irrespective of the sizes the individual cores.
Multicore cables carry multiple uses in one single cable. Hence, these are used where:
- We need multiple functions
- Space is limited.
One of the most commonly seen avenues of their usage are in entertainment — with musical instruments videos, for theatre and concerts. These are also important for instruments in aviation and medicine. Flexible multicore cables are also used for internal wiring, in areas with fire risk and with hi-power appliances.
Since a single cable combines different conductors, the multicore cable is also useful where space is a limitation, such as in aviation. It is also handy when we need multiple functions from a single cable. For instance, video cables often have AV, video and audio.
Benefits of multicore cables:
- Space saving: A multicore cable takes almost 40% less space than cables with similar functions. By combining multiple conductors with different functionalities in one cable, we end up saving space and the confusion that can ensue because of multiple cables pooling around. This makes them popular in tight spaces like an aircraft.
- Improved performance: Multicore cables usually have a heavily jacketed construction, unless otherwise required. With multiple cores, it is also important to ensure that the risks of thermal or electrical heating are minimized as much as possible. This is also why multicore cables are usually made of copper, which has higher ability to withstand heat. This gives the cables a superior mechanical, electrical, and thermal performance
- Corrosion resistant: The heavy jacketing of the multicore cable is also necessary for another purpose — resistance to corrosion from chemicals and fluids. This is why these cables are used in extreme conditions, such as airframe communications, engine bay and so on.
- Ultra flexible: Multicore cables are also available in ultra-flexible options. These flexible cables are useful in equipment that moves continuously, such as rotating turrets. Flexibility is important here because the equipment moves often with the cable moving along. Flexibility is important here to ensure that the cable can move without friction causing overheating or cuts and abrasions.
- Multi-functional: As mentioned before, the multicore cable combines multiple functions in one jacket. This is very important in communication systems where instruments are now increasingly multifunctional as well. This often means multiple connections that would be quite cumbersome to achieve with individual and separate cables. Instead, we have multiple core within one cable that achieves the same function.
Flexible multicore cable
Of the multicore cables, the flexible multicore cable is perhaps the more commonly used. As the name suggests, these cables are constructed to be flexible. Found in homes, in control panels and portable devices, the flexible cables have a wide usage. The cables have a strong, flexible jacketing which also makes them useful in a range of environments.
Most flexible cables have a PVC insulation because of its high flexibility and ability to withstand corrosion. Copper is again a common conductor. It is flexible and a good conductor of electricity. It has a high resistance to corrosion and has a high melting point. The ductility and malleability adds to the cable’s flexibility.
The multicore cable is one of the most space saving solutions in cases where we need a multi-functional cable. It is also one of the toughest and corrosion resistant cable.