Comparing Insulations to Insulations: Gel Buffer Tubes VS Dry Buffer Tubes

by | Nov 30, 2021

Comparing Insulations to Insulations

Gel Buffer Tubes VS Dry Buffer Tubes

Today our comparing segment takes a look at two comparable tubing insulations, Gel Buffer Tubing and Dry Buffer Tubing, that have similarities in applications but are also very different. Today’s segment is designed to not only serve the purpose of helping you understand which tubing insulations are better for what scenarios, but also to display their purpose and performance in relation to fiber optic cable utilized in applications for the newest mobile network of communications and standards, 5G. 

Buffer Tubing, what are their uses?  

Due to the outdoor application settings fiber optic cables are utilized for, and taking into consideration the problems that arise in this industry such as interference of signal and sound, the employment of buffer tubing is a ‘no questions asked’ solution due to the resistance it offers against the interference of signal, allowing for reliability. Another vital perk that buffer tubes offer is the resistance to water, allowing it to be excellent for outside applications where element exposure is high. 

Gel Buffer Tubes, what are they? 

Fiber optic cable with gel buffer tubes offers barrier protection between the cable fibers and rain, snow or moisture when implemented in outside applications. The way this works is the gel covers every inch of the tubing that isn’t taken up by the fiber optic which in turn not only prevents moisture and water from entering into the fiber optic but it too acts as a barrier covering and glue to keep everything together.  

Dry Buffer Tubes, what are they? 

Similar to gel buffer tubes, dry buffer tubes offer barrier protection between the cable fibers and any rain, snow or moisture when implemented in outside applications. To create these barrier protections, components and substances including string, adhesive and foaming agents are utilized and are frequently coated with a substance called Super Absorbent Polymer which serves the function of soaking up any and all moisture or water, protecting the fiber optic from additional penetration of water. Super Absorbent Polymer typically dehydrates and will activate again, providing long lasting insulation for the cable. 

Similarities Between Dry Buffer Tubes and Gel Buffer Tubes 

Although there is much overlapping between dry buffer tubes and gel buffer tubes, such as preventing ambient contaminants from accessing the fiber optic and serving as a filler between fiber optic and exterior components of cable; there are also plenty more distinguishable factors.  

The distinguishable factors include the more evident difference, the gel filled buffer tube versus the one that is not. Gel occupies the tube and conforms to the fiber optic cord’s exact form. Dry buffer tubes on the other hand, simply cover the portion of the tube that it loops and makes contact with, and will swell to soak any liquid that may leak. 

A slim downside to the Super Absorbent Polymer inside dry buffer tubing is the inconsistency of perfect operation and performance every time anything penetrates the dry buffer tube due to the dirtiness that intrudes cables when being processes. Too, gel tubing is not recommended to be utilized in applications where cables are upright, as gravity will pull down the gel, defeating the purpose of the gel. 

Z-Tronix Dry Buffer Tubing and Gel Buffer Tubing Insulation Solutions 

Puzzled still? Don’t worry, Z-Tronix has got your back! Message or call 562-808-0800 today and speak with a Z-Tronix wire and cable expert to answer any and all questions you may have about its application or specification as well as, how we can create a harness or assembly for you today.