How to handle Fiber, Safely
Although fiber is rigid with approximately 8x the tension strength of copper, it should still be handled with care and with the proper handling techniques to ensure maximum efficiency and reduce risk of damages. Fiber optic cables consist of very thin glass tubes covered by layers of polymeric materials.
Incorrect handling of fiber can lead to improper connections and damage to other optical components.Always wear safety glasses with side shields and protective gloves when working with fiber.
When working with fiber cables keep in mind the bend radius of the cable. Bend Radius is how sharply a cable can be bent without compromising the integrity of the cable. All cables have a bend radius that is unique to the type, make, and length of each cable. Bending the cable beyond its minimum bend radius could cause the glass within your fiber cable to break resulting in reflection and refraction thus rendering your cable ineffective.
When attaching a fiber optic cable to an instrument, ensure that the it is anchored properly. Never allow a fiber cable to dangle and bear its own weight.
When securing your cable, it’s important to remember not to strap your cables too tightly or to any object that may cause it to break. Strapping your cables too tightly can apply excessive pressure to the cable and could cause the glass inside to fracture or break. Excessive pressure also makes your cable more susceptible to failure during its life. When running your cable be sure to avoid any sharp edges or angles as this can lead to your cable warping or breaking over time.
Another key rule to keep in mind is to always keep the connectors capped. Fiber optic cables and connectors can easily be contaminated with smudges from hands, dust, and even hair. These tiny particles can lead to major issues and greatly hamper the efficacy of your cable. Therefore, it is imperative to always keep connectors covered until time for use
In the unlikely event that your fiber optic cable does suffer a breakage, exercise extreme caution when handling the damaged area as tiny glass particles a fiber optic splinters can pose a hazard. Tiny glass particles can become lodged in your hands and easily penetrate your skin.
Whether installing or cleaning fiber optics, it is not advisable to look into the cable or place the laser emitting source in front your eyes. Always ensure that the fiber cables are disconnected from the laser source prior to handling and use a power meter to ascertain that the fiber is dark.