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Anti-Termite material for fiber optic cables?

Termites attack fiber optic cables, especially the cables laid underground directly in the soil. Termite attack on telecom infrastructures and cables are a common problem in almost all countries. In order to protect the cables from termites, cable manufacturers offer different designs than the conventional cables.

What is the effective solution to protect fiber optic cables from termites?

There are some methods to effectively prevent termite attack on fiber optic cables. Termites bites on the outer surface of the cable. While biting, they inject chemicals in order to make the biting portion smoother so that they can penetrate more deeper. This biting process damages the outer surface of the cable.

There are poisonous chemicals that can be mixed with the sheathing and or jacketing materials. This method helps in two ways, by killing the termites and by keeping away them from the cables. Another ways to add protective layers. This could be either metallic or non-metallic. One of the most popular methods employed in cabling industry is to provide polyamide outer layer. Polyamide jacketing materials or Nylon jacketing materials provide a non-metallic protection from termites. Widely used polyamide in fiber optic cable outer jacketing is Nylon-12.

Nylon-12 has superior mechanical and environmental characteristics compared to Nylon-6, Nylon-6,6, Nylon-11 or similar polyamides. Nylon-12 is expensive and had shortage in the market. A jacket thickness of around 0.5 millimeters is effective to protect from termite bite damage over a period of more than 25 years. Use of Nylon avoids the danger of adding poisonous chemicals to the soil and then to the ground water through deployed cables.

Nylon–12 outer coating is proven way. Australia, New Zealand and India are some countries where Nylon-12 jacketed cables are popular. Indian customers recently moved away from Nylon design.

Good question and useful answers. I am happy that there are people here to answer  🙂