Cable trays, zinc whiskers and data center short circuits

Article from cabling-product distributor explains causes and preventions of the potentially harmful metal shards.

An article posted in's Learning Center explains what zinc whiskers are, why they are potentially harmful and also maddening to data center administrators, and how a facility's cable tray may be the culprit.

The article reads in part, "Zinc whiskers 'grow' on steel surfaces that have been electroplated (galvanized) with zinc to prevent rust." It further describes a little bit of the science behind zinc-whisker creation and why they are just as likely to form in a cool, dry controlled environment as they are in a warm, damp one.

The article is a cautionary note meant to alert cabling and network professionals in all spheres that the material used to support cables - i.e., cable tray - can either potentially contribute to, or not contribute to, the appearance of zinc whiskers in a data center or computer room. Essentially, when using metal cable tray, the risk comes down to the manner in which the tray is protected from the elements (e.g. galvanized, powder-coat, etc.).

You can read the full article here.

Our Online Buyer's Guide includes a section on Cable Tray that includes information about the tray's composition material (steel, aluminum, plastic).

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