What Are Aerial Power Cables and Underground Cables?

We all need electricity and information to live comfortably in today's society. To access them, you will most likely need an overhead line cable. Unfortunately, finding the right product for your specific needs can be a complex process. As with other cables, there are several factors to consider when choosing the ideal option. For example, what are these cables made of, do they carry any significant risks, etc.

1. Understanding aerial power cables

Aerial power cables are cables that are strung high above the ground, usually using utility poles. In most cases, this cable will come in handy when transferring power and data. Unlike most cable types, this cable type is common, especially in crowded residential areas. They are popular mainly because they are a less expensive alternative to underground cables.

Unlike most wires, aerial power cables are made of aluminum. As we pointed out before, this cable type is strung high above the ground. Thus, air provides a considerable portion of the insulation required. It requires less insulation than underground cables, making it the cheapest cable on the market. Having said that, there are several types of aerial power cables that you need to be aware of.

Selecting the ideal cable for your overhead application requires some serious consideration, not least because choosing the wrong type of cable can often have some far-reaching consequences. Generally speaking, the three core parameters for selecting overhead power cables are: the electrical conductivity of the cable, the tensile strength of the cable, and the total density of the cable. The most common aerial power cables are bare aluminum cables. It often comes in handy when dealing with power transmission over long distances. This cable type is ideal if you plan to do long distance EHV installations.

2. Comparison of aerial power cables and underground cables

Typically, electricity is transmitted via overhead or underground cables. Each of these cables has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your intended application. When choosing which one to use, you need to consider four key factors, namely your voltage needs; the total cost of the cables you need; the safety requirements of the intended application; and the type of application you have in mind.

Aerial cables are less costly than underground cables and are easier to install, troubleshoot and upgrade. It's also important to note that overhead-type wires can carry extremely high voltages, while underground cables are more expensive and more challenging to install. Still, the underground option has its advantages in certain situations. That's why you'll always find most people combining the two types of cable in certain applications when required.