Not all cables are made of copper. Some of them are made of bundles of thin strands of glass or silica. Known as fiber optic cables they are commonly used in the aerospace, telecommunications and medical industries. They serve as the pathways for data. While there are other types of data-transmitting cables available, fiber optic cables are unique in several ways.
Fiber optic cables are nonconductive. They don’t conduct electricity. Therefore, they aren’t used to transmit electricity from outlets or other sources to various devices. Fiber optic cables are specifically used to transmit data. Data can travel long distances through fiber optic cables. Fiber optic cables are simply made of glass or silica, which are nonconductive materials.
#2) Thinner Than Hair
The glass or silica strands used in fiber optic cable are thinner than a stand of human hair. The specific size, of course, can vary. For some fiber optic cables, the glass or silica strands are about 5 microns in diameter. For others, the glass or silica strands are about 10 microns in diameter. Regardless, the strands of transparent material in these cables are always thinner than a strand of human hair.
#3) Designed to Carry Light
One of the defining characteristics of fiber optic cable is its ability to carry light. As previously mentioned, fiber optic cables are nonconductive. While they don’t carry electricity, they do carry light. Light is essentially how fiber optic cables transmit data. They transmit on-and-off light signals to achieve binary code. Pulses of light will travel through fiber optic cables, and the orientation of these pulses will define the data.
#4) Made of Multiple Layers
While they may look solid, fiber optic cables are actually made of multiple layers. The innermost layer is the core, which contains a bundle of glass or silica strands. Surrounding this core is a protective coating that shields the strands from interference. There’s typically another protective layer on the outside of fiber optic cables. Known as the outer jacket, it ensures that the light remains trapped inside of the glass or silica strands while further protecting them from damage.
#5) Super Strong
Don’t let their thin size fool you into thinking that fiber optic cables are weak. The individual glass or silica strands used in fiber optic cables are very strong. They have a tensile strength, allowing them to bend without breaking. And thanks to their multiple layers of protective shielding, the risk of damage to fiber optic cables is minimal.