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gore-cablesA new white paper from W. L. Gore & Associates presents important factors to consider when selecting microwave/RF cable assemblies to ensure reliable performance in today’s challenging conditions. According to author Paul Pino, a Lead Design Engineer at W. L. Gore & Associates, it is critical to identify all of the application constraints that can affect the cables’ overall performance to preserve signal integrity and product reliability. Additionally, it may be necessary for a manufacturer/end user to evaluate a cable’s electrical performance while simulating mechanical and environmental stresses similar to those that would be found in the actual application.

In his paper, Impact of Materials on Microwave Cable Performance, Pino discusses the importance of identifying all of the electrical, mechanical, environmental, and application-specific conditions that will affect cable performance. He describes the advantages and disadvantages of typical materials used in cable construction, including an explanation of the testing and data analysis a manufacturer should complete in order to verify that its cable will perform in a specific application. He also discusses the ramifications of cable failure.

“The environments in which microwave cable assemblies are being used today are becoming more challenging with exposure to such conditions as extreme temperatures, chemicals, abrasion and flexing,” explained Pino. “Such elements pose additional hurdles for the smaller, lighter packaging used in today’s cable systems that must last longer and cost less. We have found that some customers are uncertain about what materials and constructions work best in their applications.”

One of the added complexities in designing a cable system is that electrical, mechanical, and environmental performances are interwoven. “For example,” continued Pino, “selecting a material that improves mechanical performance may have an adverse effect on the electrical characteristics of the cable assembly. At Gore, we have spent more than 50 years engineering cables specifically for harsh environments, so we understand the complexity of how performance constraints affect signal integrity and durability.”

For more information about Gore's full line of materials and cables & assemblies, visit www.gore.com/electronics.
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