While LSF cables and LSZH cables have many of the same design properties and functionality, they also differ from one another in ways that are important to understand when choosing which cable or wire to use for a project. The reason these two cable types are often compared is because they are both relatively new designs that use compounds with the goal of emitting less harmful gasses. In order to understand the differences between the two cable types, it is necessary to break down the theory behind each design.
What are LSF Cables?
LSF stands for “Low Smoke and Fumes.” This type of cable is made up of PVC compound that has been modified to decrease the amount of gas and smoke that is produced when burning compared to traditional PVC designs.
What Are LSZH Cables?
LSZH stands for “low smoke zero halogen.” This type of cable and wire emits very low amounts of smoke and emits no toxic halogens when exposed to heat. In the past several years, there has been a noticeable increased awareness and demand for these products as environmentally friendly initiatives have popped up all around the globe.
What are Halogens?
Halogens are chemicals which use an element from the 17th column of the periodic table as one of their components. In wire and cable compounds, the halogen containing ingredients are typically utilized to impart improved flame retardant properties to polymeric materials, with the most common elements used for this purpose being bromine, fluorine, or chlorine.
LSZH vs LSF Cables: Which Should You Use?
LSF and LSZH cables differ in several important ways. Confusing these two cables could lead to a life threatening situation in the case of a fire. LSF cables are still made using PVC compounds and while they are designed with reduced smoke and hydrogen chloride (HCI) emissions in mind, there are no strict standards in place to confirm the quality of the design. LSZH cables, on the other hand, are subject to very strict standards regarding the amount of HCI emissions they would give off when burning. For this reason, LSZH cables and wires are generally the safer option.
LSF cables have their place as a cost effective alternative to traditional PVC cable, but can still produce a dangerous amount of toxic gas and smoke. In areas that are at high risk of fire or areas that are heavily populated, LSZH is the strongly recommended option. Quadrangle Products uses LSZH cable and wire in many of our designs. Contact us today to learn more about our LSZH products!