Bend radius is the measure of the smallest radius a cable can bend before it experiences excessive attenuation or breakage. This is a critical factor in the performance of cables in applications where the cables are subjected to frequent bends, such as in fiber optic or coaxial cables. The bend radius of a cable is usually specified by the manufacturer and is typically stated in terms of the diameter of the cable.
For fiber optic cables, the bend radius is especially important as it affects the performance of the cable. Bending an optical fiber too sharply can cause micro-bends that cause light to be scattered, reflected, or absorbed, leading to signal attenuation. Bending an optical fiber too sharply can also cause the fiber core to break, resulting in a permanent loss of signal. To minimize signal attenuation and breakage, fiber optic cables should be bent with a radius of at least ten times the diameter of the cable.
For coaxial cables, the bend radius is important since excessive bending can cause the cable to kink, resulting in a reduction in cable performance due to signal attenuation. To minimize signal attenuation, coaxial cables should be bent with a radius at least four times the diameter of the cable.
In general, cables should be bent as little as possible and with a radius that is at least four to ten times the diameter of the cable, depending on the type of cable. If a cable is not bent properly, it can lead to signal attenuation or breakage, which can lead to poor performance or even permanent damage. Therefore, it is important to remember the importance of bend radius when dealing with cables, as it can have a significant impact on the performance of the cable.