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Copper Magnet Wire »
What is Magnet Wire?
Copper or aluminium wire, covered with a layer of insulation or enamel, is called magnet wire. Its primary purpose is to convert electric energy into magnetic energy.
Transformers, inductors, motors, speakers, hard disk head actuators, electromagnets and any other application that needs a tight coil of wire will use magnet wire.
Magnet Wire Current FAQ
How to Determine Magnet Wire Current
American wire gauge (AWG) provides standard specifications for solid, round wire, including the diameter, current and weight. The United States and Canada are the biggest countries that use AWG standards, which start at 0000 and end at 40, with the higher gauge wire having the smallest diameters.
Larger wires can handle greater magnet wire current. The wire must be large enough to handle the current flowing through it or it may melt the insulation around the wire and cause greater problems such as short circuiting and electrical fires.
A 0000 wire has a maximum current of 302 amps, while a 40 gauge wire has a maximum current of 0.0137 amps. See the chart below to find out the wire gauge you need for your the current of your device.
How does does the conductor type affect the magnet wire current?
Conductivity is the measure of a material's ability to conduct current. Of all metals, copper is the most frequently used despite being the second most conductive metal, behind silver. Copper is a non-precious metal, making it much cheaper.
Another frequently used conductor is aluminum. It is, in most cases, less efficient than copper due to aluminum needing a cross section 1.6 times larger in order to create the same current capability as an equivalent copper wire.
Copper is 300% more durable than aluminum, but is much more susceptible to corrosion.
Copper and aluminum have low resistance to magnet wire current, but it does increase as the gauge of the wire goes up.
Common Magnet Wire Current Problems
Changes in magnet wire current can lead to problems such as the skin effect, the proximity effect and eddy currents.
When alternating current concentrates in the surface layer of a conductor it is called the skin effect, which will lead to an increase in the wire's effective resistance. The skin depth is how deep the current flows at the outer layer of the wire. It will be approximately a centimeter for a wire running at 60 Hz, and will be less at higher frequencies.
An alternating current creates an alternating magnetic field around it when current flows through a conductor. This can result in swirling electric currents that are produced when a conductor is exposed to a changing magnetic field, known as eddy currents, in adjacent conductors. This is known as the proximity effect.
Eddy currents are able to alter the distribution of current in the adjacent wire. The current might begin to concentrate in the parts of the wire that are furthest away from other wires carrying current in the same direction.
To counteract these problems, litz wire is sometimes used.
Litz wire is made up of numerous individually insulated wire strands that are braised together, following one of eight patterns. Litz wire carries alternating current and is designed to reduce the problems that arise from the skin effect and proximity effect.
Applications such as conductors, inductors, transformers, motors, inverters, television equipment, and heat induction equipment all can use litz wire.
Magnet Wire Current Chart
The following chart refers to copper magnet wire current based on AWG standards.
Where can I buy Magnet Wire?
TEMCo offers wires in different gauges, currents, temperature ratings and insulations. Solid, insulated, copper magnet wire is available for purchase from TEMCo's selection guide immediately. Other types of wire you may be looking for, including aluminum, plastic or rubber insulated, bare or stranded wire, can also be supplied by TEMCo. Call us for a quote today!
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TEMCo's Phase Converter and Transformer customers include:
American Family Radio
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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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