Even with all the various sizes and shapes of wire, and their massive number of applications, it’s possible to break them down into just two basic categories – solid and stranded wires. Solid wires are exactly as they sound: a single, (relatively) thick thread of metal; while the alternative is actually a series of extra-thin wires wrapped together.
Though both styles are equally effective in conducting electricity, they do have some subtle distinctions that make them suitable for different purposes. Learning the differences will help you make the best pick for your specific situation.
When the need of the hour is flexibility, stranded is the way to go. This loose rope of minute wires is highly flexible, easily bending and wrapping around corners. Extension cords and other long appliance cables are typically made of stranded wire, as they’re frequently folded, twisted, and tucked out of the way. For more static applications, where the wire won’t be subjected to repetitive movements, a solid wire is an excellent alternative.
Stranded wires tend to be larger than solid wires with the same current-carrying capacity (as defined by area of conductive material). This is because stranded wires are composed of rounded wire threads, which do not fit neatly against one another and will thus have small air-filled spaces between them. Solid wire offers a more compact option, if the rigidity is not an issue for you.
Though this will, naturally, be dependent on a number of factors like width, stranded wire tends to be slightly pricier than solid wire, as additional processing is needed to assemble this wrap of conductive threads. Of course, you should weigh installation costs against maintenance costs – running solid wire is cheaper initially, but in high-motion environments it will not last as long as stranded wire. Careful planning will ensure the most economical selection for your needs.
If you have questions or other inquiries regarding steel wires, contact the experts at Madison Steel today.