Copper wire can be divided into two categories:
solid and stranded. In the case of solid wire, one strand of flexible copper wire is used. Sometimes it is bare, other times it is encased by insulating material. Solid wire is more rigid than it’s stranded counterpart. Because it is not easily bent, it is most often applied as a permanent copper wire, such as those used as magnet wires in motors and transformers.
Stranded copper wire, on the other hand, contains a
cluster of copper wires which are braided or simply twisted together. There are several key benefits to stranded wire that do not exist in solid wire, most importantly that it is flexible. Flexibility makes stranded wire easier to install. Also, stranded wire is more durable in applications where the wire will be exposed to vibration, and stranded wire can be manufactures to have the same resistance characteristics.
A copper cable is made by braiding together
multiple wires which run together in a single unit. In order to make the copper cable more flexible, the manufacturer may strand the wires that comprise the cable. Plating the copper wires within the cable with another metal, usually tin but sometimes gold or silver, is done in order to reduce oxidation, which extends the life of the cable. Plating the wires also facilitates soldering.
Flexible copper cables can also be designed to cancel out
electromagnetic interference from other sources. One way to accomplish that end is to use twisted pair cabling, which is a type of wiring in which two conductors of a single circuit are twisted together. Another design that reduces electromagnetic interference is the coaxial cable. This flexible product is comprised of a copper wire at it’s core, which is then covered by a tubular insulating layer. The insulating layer is in turn surrounded by a second conducting shield of flexible copper and is then finally encased in a final insulated sheath.
Twisted pair cable is widely used to build
communication networks such as telephone lines, Cable TV and Internet connections. Because of its low cost when compared to that of optical fire and coaxial cable, flexible twisted pair copper cable is the most common cable used in constructing data networks.
Coaxial cables are used to build computer networks and to distribute the
Internet. Other common applications include the distribution of video and Cable TV, RF and microwave transmission and as feedlines that connect radio transmitters and receiver to their antennas. Coaxial cables can
larger distances and provide better protection against electromagnetic interference; however, when connecting devices over a short distance or between offices, it is harder to work with. Therefore, it is not typically used to build office networks and is being replaced by fiber optic cables which provide larger capacity.
Building wire is the most common use of
flexible copper wires. It is used to distribute power throughout structures ranging from mobile homes and residential structures to commercial property and industrial buildings. It is also used in the electrical systems of automobiles and boats.