Important IEC 60794 Test Methods for Mechanical Tests on Optical Fiber Cables

This article deals with the recommended tests and their relevant IEC number. Often, people working in the fiber optic industry find it difficult to remember the IEC number for a particular number. This post may help you to easily find the equivalent IEC test method and number for each test recommended by IEC. To purchase the IEC test method, we recommend visiting the IEC official website.

The tensile test, which is conducted on optical fiber cable is one of the major tests and all customers prefer to conduct this test either as a witness test or as a type test and in some cases as both. The tensile test is conducted as per the IEC test procedure and measurements are made in order to analyze the fiber attenuation as a function of the load on the cable during installation. The Tensile strength test is performed according to IEC 60794-1-2 Method E1. Some manufacturers conduct this test on a 50 meter sample while others prefer to do this test on a more than 120 meters sample.

The bend test is conducted to examine and ensure the ability of fiber optic cable to withstand bending around a pulley, which is simulated by bending around a mandrel of the desired diameter often with 20 times the cable diameter. The IEC test method is described in IEC 60794-1-2 Method E11.

The third important test is the crush test. As the name indicates the cable is crushed between two metal plates with a certain load applied on the plates. Crush test on fiber optic cable is conducted as per IEC 60794-1-2 Method E3.

The impact test is also conducted to ensure the cables resistive power against impacts that may happen in the field during installation, storage, or handling. Impact test on fiber optic cable is conducted as per IEC 60794-1-2 Method E4.

Torsion or twist (as called by some customers) also a prominent test to assess the impact of twists on the attenuation performance and sheath/structural integrity of the cable. Torsion test is conducted as per IEC 60794-1-2 Method E7.

Abrasion test is useful to know the abrasion resistance of the sheath and abrasion resistance of the marking. IEC 60794-1-2 Method E2A is for abrasion test on the sheath and IEC 60794-1-2 Method E2B is for abrasion test of sheath markings. There is a further classification for Method E2B based on the method of printing. Hot foil printing/hot stamping and embossing is one group of category and inkjet printing is another category.

The above mechanical tests on fiber optic cables if conducted according to the IEC test methods are enough to assess the mechanical performance of the optical fiber cable under test. There are many other mechanical tests in the IEC test methods, but we have dealt with the important ones only in this post.

Among all the above mechanical tests on fiber optic cables, the tensile strength test is the most important one and frequently conducted the test at the test laboratories of fiber optic cable manufacturing plants.

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