What Makes a Cable Durable?

Cables are one of the ubiquitous tools of modern life that we take for granted but can‘t do without. Having a cable fail is never a pleasant experience, particularly when a replacement isn‘t immediately on hand.

Fortunately, not all cables are born equal, and some will stand up to the trials of everyday life better than others. Let‘s take a look at the various way cables can become damaged, and some of the in-built features that can prevent these.

Source of Damage: Bending and kinking
This is the main way that cables gradually wear down over time and eventually stop working. A single bend is no problem for even the flimsiest of cables, but over its lifetime a cable can be expected to be bent and twisted thousands and thousands of times. Tiny amounts of stress from each bend add up over time, and eventually part of the internal wiring will split and the cable will stop working.

Solution:
The most effective way to extend the life of a cable is to reduce the stress that each bend or kink causes. Coating the internals in high-quality material such as braided nylon helps soak up a lot of that stress and strain, and also prevents some of the more extreme kinks that do maximum damage. Generally speaking, the thicker the cable jacket, the more stress will be absorbed, although there is a trade-off to be had with flexibility. Individually insulating each section of internal wiring also helps dissipate the force on the vital innards of the cable.

Source of Damage: Tugging and stretching
We‘ve all done it. Your device is still connected to the charger but you absent-mindedly grab your phone and go. Next thing you know your phone charger is flying across the room, or at the very least the cable is yanked violently from the port on your device. This kind of strain is completely different from bending a cable thousands of times, and causes a different kind of damage.

Solution:
In this case, the internal strength of the cable is more important than the casing, and there is nothing stronger than Kevlar. AUKEY uses Du Pont licensed Kevlar (also known as aramid fiber) in the internals of cables such asImpulse Braided A-Cto give them incredible resistance to stretching and pulling forces. Although there‘s a lot of marketing gimmicks surrounding “bullet-proof cables”, the true value of Kevlar in cables is in its tensile strength (resistance to stretching). As you can see in the image below, the Kevlar (aramid fiber) is contained inside the internal wiring. Therefore, it will do nothing to protect against cutting or other external damage, but it does allow the cable to suspend heavy weights or be tugged violently without the all-important wiring splitting or snapping.

Source of Damage: Crushing
A crushing force is different again from both bending and stretching, although there is some degree of crossover. Crushing is one of the most common ways cables are broken, but because the damage is internal and not easily visible, this form of damage doesn‘t get as much attention as more obvious damage like fraying. Cables are often thrown in luggage with little thought or care, and in the process of transportation will get crushed and squashed in all ways imaginable.

Solution:
A robust cable jacket is probably the best way to protect against crushing, and multiple layers of protection will certainly help. Making the cable very thick would certainly solve the problem, but that causes additional issues such as overheating and makes the cable less flexible. AUKEY‘s self-developed Graphene Skin technology provides the best of both worlds. Not only is graphene very strong and provides resistance to crushing, but it is also incredibly thin, meaning you don‘t get the unwanted side-effects of an overly thick cable.

Source of Damage: Gnawing and Scratching by Pets
Anyone who as ever kept a rabbit or a rodent will be familiar with the fearsome cutting power of small teeth. Larger pets can also be fatal to an unattended charging cable, whether it be a cat using it to sharpen its claws or a dog treating it as a chew toy.

Solution:
If teeth manage to penetrate the casing it‘s basically game over, so it‘s all about surrounding the vulnerable innards with something hard to cut or split. Once again, nylon braiding is the way to go here. The tightly braided material is not only strong, but is specifically designed not to split or fray, thereby not giving the furry assailant a chance to get a foothold it can work on and wear down. Having said that, a determined mouse could probably gnaw through pretty much anything, but a braided cable will at least put up a fight. Cat claws and dog teeth should certainly be no problem.

Source of Damage: Stress on the connector joint
It often seems like cables are never quite a long as you need them to be, and they often need to be stretched that little bit too much from the port of the wall charger. This puts a great deal of strain on the cable‘s weakest point; its connector joint.

Solution:
It depends on the exact usage scenario, but often using a 90-degree connector head can solve this issue. Instead of being pulled tight at a right angle out of the port, a 90-degree connector head keeps the cable joint more straight relative to the cable direction. This arrangement is also usually much more compact, giving you more room to work with when connecting to the rear of a PC for example. It‘s also handy when charging a smartphone while it‘s in use. A regular cable will get the way of your hand, particularly when gaming. Your hand will naturally push against the cable and cause stress on the joint. With a 90-degree connector, the cable is kept much more tightly against the device itself, which is better for both the cable and the user.

Source of Damage: Corrosion
The vast majority of USB cables use steel connectors, and steel has the tendency to corrode over time. This is particularly true if you expose it to the outdoor elements. A rusted and deformed connector is not only bad for the cable itself, but it can also damage the device you plug it into.

Solution:
Many of AUKEY‘s USB cables now use high-quality materials like zinc alloy or aluminum alloy in the connector. This is a material that is highly resistant to corrosion, and will continue to look spotless even after years of use.

Source of Damage: Heat
As mobile charging becomes faster and more powerful, the energy passing through a cable becomes greater. It goes without saying that you should use a cable rated for the amount of power you are charging with, but even still, some cheaper cables will burn out after prolonged use. Damage from heat is unlikely to be dramatic, but continual exposure to heat can gradually wear down the internals of the cable until one day you‘ll find it‘s unresponsive.

Solution:
AUKEY‘s Graphene Skin solution is perfect for this. As discussed above, aside from being very strong, Graphene is also very thin. Using graphene as part of the cable insulation means it‘s able to better dissipate heat and keep the cable cool throughout extended periods of high-powered charging.

You can check out a selection of Aukey latest cables here, and also on Amazon.

Did this article help you? If so, please tell me in a comment what do you think about it.

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