Electrical Materials: Different Types of Electrical Wire & Cable

by jesonpitt

Learning about the different types of electrical materials is important if you are doing any construction or renovation project.

Learning about the different types of electrical materials is important if you are doing any construction or renovation project. The most common elements that you will usually come across when doing any such task are electrical wires and wire cables. Find out exactly what these two materials do and how they work and how many types there are that you should know about.

Electrical Wire

Any single flexible strand or cylindrical metal rod is known as a wire. Electrical wires carry electricity as well as telecommunications signals.

Electrical Cable

Cable or wire cable is the combination of two or more wires bonded and running side by side to form a single assembly. These wires may be braided or twisted together. Electrical cables are used commonly in industrial sites and installation in buildings.

Types of Electrical Wire and Wire Cable

When it comes to electrical materials, wire and cable are certainly the more commonly used products. There are so many different types of wire and cable available in the market that you will be surprised. Here are some of the important types of electrical materials you will come across:

Electrical Wire

The wire is actually a type of conductor used to carry electric current from the power source to the other end or an end user device in most instances. These wires can also be used for lights or outlets. Three different styles of wire exist: Bare wire, insulated solid wire and an insulated stranded wire. A bare wire is non-insulated or bare as the name suggests. An insulated wire on the other hand, is a piece of solid wire encased and coated in plastic coating. An insulated stranded wire (also known as Type NM cable) has several copper strands of smaller sizes wrapped in plastic coating for protection.

Wire Cable

Cables can be used in a variety of industrial settings and for many construction purposes. Commonly, two different types of electrical wire cable are used which are referred to as Nonmetallic sheathed cable and armored cable. Nonmetallic sheathed cable contains a bare ground wire with a couple of insulated conductors, wrapped in outer protective plastic sheath. In an armored cable there are insulated wires, black, red, white and green which are located inside a protective flexible metal housing. This metal housing is known as cord. Armored cable is mostly sold cut to length, but precut length roll can also be purchased.

Special Types of Wire Cable

In addition to these, other types of wire cables also exist namely Flexible cables, Mineral-insulated copper-clad cable, Shielded cable, Twinax cable, Coaxial cable, Multicore cable (covered by cable jacket), Single cable, Twisted cable and Twisting pair. Other special cable types are also available like Bowden cable, Arresting cable, Direct-buried cable, Heliax cable, Elevator cable and Heavy-lift cable. For power transmission for greater distances (more than a couple of kms) electrical materials and wire cables are specially designed for instance high voltage cables, HVDC (high-voltage, direct current) and power cables are used.

Updated: 05/29/2015, jesonpitt
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