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Deep-Sea Telegraph Cables: How they are Tested

Nature volume 13, pages 517520 | Download Citation



THE “testing” of a telegraph cable, whether long or short, proceeds upon the principle that the materials offer to the electrical current a certain resistance: the testing of a cable is the measurement of this resistance. In any cable there are two kinds of these resistance measurements; one of the resistance which opposes the current in its progress along the conducting wire, the other of that which opposes its lateral dispersion. The conductor-resistance is technically termed the copper-resistance, and is extremely small compared with the other resistance. The lateral resistance to the escape of the current opposed by the insulating substance which surrounds the copper-conductor is technically termed the insulation-resistance. Where the resistance to the direct propagation of the electric current through a conducting wire is represented in units, the resistance to lateral dispersion through the insulator will be represented by hundreds, or even thousands of millions, of these units. A third property is that known as the electro-static, or inductive capacity, or simply “charge”1 of the cable; in other words, that measured quantity of electricity which the given cable will take up in a given time. So much for the necessary explanation of technical terms.

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