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The Various Types of Copper Wire, Explained

Copper wire comes in several different varieties, and if you’ve never purchased it before, the differences can seem confusing. Between solid wires, copper braid, stranded copper and more, knowing the right type for you requires a general understanding of how these different wires look and function, as well as their pros and cons. While the differences between them are too numerous and complex to list here, a basic primer can help you understand where to start looking when you’re choosing your copper wire.

Solid and Stranded Copper Wire

Solid and stranded copper wire are two types that are mostly similar with just a few notable differences. Solid wire is exactly what its name suggests: A single, relatively thick strand of copper. Stranded wire, on the other hand, is a thick bundle of very thin copper strands, which are bound or twister together to form a whole. Stranded wire is more malleable, while solid wire is more rigid. That rigidity and relatively more compact size makes stranded copper wire more resistant to environmental corrosion, while the malleability of stranded wire makes it resist the stress that comes with regular manipulation—for example, stranded wire is often used in applications like appliance power cords and computer mice.

The Strong Weave of a Copper Braid

Similar to stranded copper wire, a copper braid consists of many smaller wires working together as one. Unlike a stranded wire in which they are simply bound together, though, the wires in a copper braid are deliberately woven to create a strong, single piece. Because it can contain hundreds of finer wires, the copper braid is highly tear-resistant, and won’t degrade or wear out from repeated manipulation the way that a solid wire might. Another advantage of copper braid is that it is more cost-effective than some other types of cable, like coaxial cable.

The differences between these and other types of copper wire are much more numerous and complex than just these, so whether you’re considering a small or large-scale application, it’s best to speak with an expert before you invest in wiring—especially when working with a material as valuable and long-lasting as copper. To learn more about the differences between different types of copper wire, contact Arcor Electronics.