Copper Wire

Looking to buy some copper wire, but are you not sure which kind you need? TEMCo will help you pick the right wire. Call us at 877.474.8209 or view our online product selection by clicking the links below.

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Soderon 155 » GP/MR-200 »


What is Copper Wire?

Copper is the metal most commonly used in electrical wiring. Of all non-precious metals, copper has the highest electrical conductivity rating.

What is Copper Wire used for?

Copper wire is used in applications which require tight coils of wire. It can be used in a wide variety of applications, including loudspeakers, overhead lights, and telephone cords.

Copper Wire for Motor Copper Wire for Speaker Copper Wire for Transformer

Copper Wire Specifications

Square, Round, or Rectangular/Flat Copper Wire

The benefits of using square wire is that they will have less space between the turns when they are formed in a coil. Square wire is most often used in confined spaces and for higher power applications that have a larger capacity and wire gauge.

Round wire will not fit together as tightly as square wire, and will have more space between the wires.

Copper wire also comes in a rectangular/flat shape. Rectangular wires are arranged in a plane and are then laminated into a flat ribbon of flexible insulating plastic. Since rectangular wire is easily wound, it is often used in edge-wound coil springs.

Rectangular Copper Wire Round Copper Wire

Pictured above: Rectangular wire (left), round wire (right)

Solid vs. Stranded Copper Wire

Solid wire, also known as solid-core or single-strand wire, is a single piece of insulated wire. These wires do not bend easily, and are used in applications where they are not meant to be moved frequently.

Stranded wire, on the other hand, contains multiple wires braided together. These types of wires are more flexible than solid wires and are easier to install. The more strands the wire has, the more flexible it will be. The minimum number of strands that a wire can have is seven, with six wires wrapped around one in the middle.

Stranded wire is used when higher resistance to metal fatigue is needed. Fatigue occurs when a wire is subjected to constant loading and unloading, causing the wire material to crack. The flexibility of the stranded wire helps to curb this problem.

Stranded wire is generally used in circuit board connections, audio headphones and connections that involve moving joints. Solid wire is found in electric motors, coils and magnet wiring.

Solid wire has less surface area than a stranded wire, so it is less susceptible to corrosion.

Solid Copper Wire Stranded Copper Wire

Pictured above: Solid copper wire (left), stranded wire (right)

Litz Wire

One example of stranded wire is litz wire, which contains multiple stranded wires braided together. The wire is designed to reduce the skin effect and proximity effect.

The skin effect occurs when an alternating current becomes concentrated in the surface layer of a wire, leading to an increase in effective resistance. How deep the current is flowing in the wire is known as the skin depth, which will be approximately a centimeter for a wire running at 60 Hz, and will be less at higher frequencies.

The proximity effect is when an alternating magnetic field is flowing through a conductor, resulting in adjacent conductors developing eddy currents. Eddy currents are swirling electric currents that can alter distribution of current. They may cause the current in the adjacent wire to concentrate i9n the parts of the wire that are farthest away from other conductors that are carrying current in the same direction.

Litz Copper Wire

Insulated vs. Bare Copper Wire

Insulated wire is typically covered with plastic or rubber, unless it is magnet wire, in which case the insulation will be a thin varnish. The insulation is meant to enhance the thermal endurance of the wire.

Bare wire, as the name indicates, does not have any insulation. The turns of the wire cannot touch each other, as they would short out, so the wire needs to be spaced out accordingly. Insulated wire can be wound so that the wires are touching, and for a wire that requires hundreds or thousands of turns, insulation is necessary.

Bare copper is better at dissipating heat than insulated wire. The insulation does not effect on the inductance of the coil, but can increase the losses of the coil at high frequencies.

Bare wire applications include overhead power sources for transit systems, such as trains, buses, as well as industrial cranes. They are sometimes found in large inductors used in transmitters; in these cases the bare wire can be silver plated, which allows for greater conductivity.

The wires offered by TEMCo is the Soderon 155 line, which has a polyurethane insulation and a polyamide overcoat, and the GP/MR-200 line, which has a polyester-imide insulation with an overcoat of polyamide-imide.

The advantages of the double coated wire are increased strengthen and durability. The dual coats also give the wire the properties of both insulations. The insulation of the GP/MR 200 will allow for increased dielectric properties and chemical resistance, while the insulations on the Soderon 155 make it more resistant to solvents and give it greater windability.

Insulated Copper Wire Insulated Copper Wire

Pictured above: Insulated wire (left), bare wire (right)

Magnet Wire

Magnet wire, or enamelled wire, is wire made of copper or aluminium that is coated with a very thin layer of insulation, as opposed to the thicker plastic insulations of regular copper wire.

Magnet wire is used in windings of electric motors, transformers, inductors, generators, headphones, loudspeaker coils, hard drive head positioners, electromagnets, and other devices.

Aluminum has lower conductivity than copper, so aluminum magnet wire needs a cross section that is 1.6 times larger than wire to compensate. Cooper is the highest conducting non-precious metal.

Magnet Copper Wire

Tinned Wire/Tin-coated Copper Wire

Tinned wire is wire coated by tin.

There are two ways you can create tinned wire. The first method is called the hot dipping method and the other method is called electroplating.

  • Hot Dip Process - The tin will be melted in an electric pot and the wire is then coated by being dipped in the melted tin.
  • Electroplating Process - The wire will be coated in a solution containing tin salts, then connected to an electrical circuit. A current will then be passed through the wire, causing the metal ions in the solution to bond with the wire.

Tin wire is resistant to corrosion and offers high conductivity.

Tinned Copper Wire

Tinsel Copper Wire

Tinsel wire is the most flexible type of wire. It is prepared by wrapping numerous copper foil strands around textile core. Due to the thinness of the foil, the wire becomes extremely bendable. Tinsel wire is good at resisting metal fatigue.

Tinsel wire can be utilized in telephones cords, handset cords and loudpeakers. There is a braided wire that comes out of the center of the speaker's voice coil that connects to the speaker tabs. This wire will be tinsel wire.

Where can I purchase Copper Wire?

Click the links below to view the copper wire selection offered by TEMCo. Wires are available for purchase in different gauges, temperature ratings and insulations. TEMCo can give you quotes on any wire you might need, so give us a call today!

View Soderon 155 Wire Selection View GP/MR-200 Wire Selection

Call us at 877.474.8209