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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 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.
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.
Pictured above: Solid copper wire (left), stranded wire (right)
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.
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.
Pictured above: Insulated wire (left), bare wire (right)
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.
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.
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!
"I needed a 3 phase rotary phase converter to run a DoAll Mill."
The family friend I purchased the mill from had purchased one from TEMCo several years ago, and told me that's the company to deal with. Very competitive price, fast delivery, and a solid, quality product. The shipping was fast, and the phase converter was crated very well and had zero damage from shipping. This thing runs so quietly I hardly know it's running.
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"Excellent advice, service & product".
The staff helped determine exactly the size converter I needed, answered any questions I had thoroughly. The unit was shipped quickly & was very welled packed. The product is so well designed that installation was a breeze & the converter works great.
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- Michael Hall, 3/25/11
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and many thousands more.
TEMCo products meet the demands of tough industrial applications with dependability and quality.
Since 1968, TEMCo has become a trusted name in Industrial Power Products.
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Quick order shipment and prompt customer service. When they accidentally sent the wrong transformer on one order they immediately sent a replacement without any hassle at all! Good to do business with.
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"Not only is the equipment from TEMCo the best, they have been the most helpful and pleasant company we have dealt with."
We bought 2 of the TEMCo phase converters for our machine shop as we did not want to bring in 3 phase power. Not only are their converters the best quality in this type of equipment it is made in North America and the most reasonably priced.
The converters have performed flawlessly with hard use and we expect they will continue to serve us for many years.
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If anyone needs the type of equipment TEMCo sells, there should be no hesitation, they are the place to purchase it.
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