Question & Answer: Explain, in detail, Mechanical splice versus Fusion splice and a short summary of…..

Explain, in detail, Mechanical splice versus Fusion splice and a short summary of their procedures.

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Mechanical splice :

Mechanical splicing is simply aligned and designed to hold in place by a self-contained assembly. Two fibers are not permanently joined, just precisely held together enabling light to pass from one fiber into the other. (Typical loss: 0.3 dB)

->Mechanical splices are simply alignment devices and don’t permanently join two fibers together, designed to hold the two fiber ends in a precisely aligned position thus enabling light to pass from one fiber into the other.

->A Mechanical Splice is a fiber splice where mechanical fixtures and materials perform fiber alignment and connection.

->Mechanical splice doesn’t require a large upfront investment in tools.

->mechanical splicing generally has higher loss and greater reflectance than fusion splices because the fiber is crimped to hold them in place, do not have good fiber retention or pull-out strength.

->mechanical splicing is normally used when splices need to be made quickly and easily

->mechanical splice, the typical insertion loss (IL) is higher—between 0.2 dB and 0.75 dB. This is because the two fibers are simply aligned and not physically joined. (Insertion loss is the loss of signal power resulting from the insertion of a splice in optical fiber.

Fusion splice:

In fusion splicing, a machine is used to precisely align the two fiber ends together, then the glass ends are “fused” or “welded” together using some type of heat or electric arc. This produces a continuous connection between the fibers enabling very low loss light transmission. (Typical loss: 0.1 dB).

->fusion splice is a junction of two or more optical fibers that have been melted together. This is accomplished with a machine called fusion splicer that performs two basic functions: aligning of the fibers and melting them together, typically using an electric arc.

->Fusion splice typically has a higher initial investment due to the investment required to add a fusion splicing machine to your toolkit.

->A fusion splice is a process of using localized heat to melt or fuse the ends of two optical fibers together.

->Fusion splice offers lower insertion loss and better performance, because fusion splice provides a continuous connection between two fibers. The typical loss in fusion splice is < 0.1 dB, providing better protection against cable failure and weak signals.

->The advantages of fusion splicing are primarily lower loss and better reflectance performance. Fusion splicing is mainly used with single mode fiber, while mechanical splicing work with both single and multi mode fiber.


Steps for Fusion Splice

Step 1: Fiber preparation. Fibers are prepared by stripping away all the protective coatings, such as cladding, jacket and sheath. Once only bare glass remains, the fibers are carefully cleaned–and here, cleanliness is next to godliness.

Step 2: Cleaving. Cleaving isn’t cutting. As the word implies, it’s scoring the fiber using a cleaver and pulling or flexing it until it breaks. The cleaved end must be mirror-smooth and perpendicular to the fiber axis to obtain a proper splice.

Step 3: Fusing the fibers. Fusion, in turn, consists of two steps: aligning and heating. Alignment can be fixed or three-dimensional, manual or automatic, and is normally accomplished with the aid of a viewer that magnifies or enhances the images of the fiber ends, so that they can be properly positioned. Common magnifying devices are video cameras, viewing scopes and optical power meters. Aligning the fibers means perfectly matching up their two ends, so that light can pass from one fiber to the other with a minimum of loss, reflection or distortion. Once the fibers are aligned, they are fused or burned together by generating a high-voltage electric arc that melts the fiber tips, which are then pushed or fed together

->Step 4: Protecting the fiber. Protecting the fiber from bending and tensile forces will ensure the splice not break during normal handling. A typical fusion splice has a tensile strength between 0.5 and 1.5 lbs and will not break during normal handling but it still requires protection from excessive bending and pulling forces. Using heat shrink tubing, silicone gel and/or mechanical crimp protectors will keep the splice protected from outside elements and breakage

Steps for Mechanical Splice

As previously mentioned, the differences between the two lie in the last two steps. Thus, the step 3 and step 4 for mechanical splices are described below.

Step 1 and 2: see the process for fusion splice.

Step 3: Mechanically join the fibers. There is no heat used in this method. Simply position the fiber ends together inside the mechanical splice unit. The index matching gel inside the mechanical splice apparatus will help couple the light from one fiber end to the other. Older apparatus will have an epoxy rather than the index matching gel holding the cores together.

Step 4: Protect the fiber. The completed mechanical splice provides its own protection for the splice

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