Since the invention of the telegraph and electromagnet, use of copper wire has been used as a common commodity in many electrical applications. Its demand rose when the copper wire was used as an electrical conductor in the invention of the telephone and later became a core ingredient in power generation and transmission systems.
Today, copper is an indispensable metal and is used in electrical wiring for both domestic and industrial use. Electronic circuitry, telecommunications, home appliances, and many other areas use copper today. It is estimated that half of all the copper mined is used to produce electrical copper wire and cable conductors. Today copper manufacturers have numerous copper wire products that can be used in a wide range of electrical and thermal applications, making copper a versatile metal of the future.
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Why is the use of copper wire so important?
Copper has excellent physical and chemical properties that enable it to become a widely used conductor in many electrical and heating applications. Let us have a look at them:
Electrical and thermal conductivity
Copper is a non-precious metal and has the best electrical and thermal conductivity. Compared to aluminum, the use of copper wire has the least resistance to electrical and thermal conduction and hence they are used in high conductivity applications like lightning rods for safety measures in buildings and skyscrapers.
Ductile and malleable
Copper is highly ductile and therefore it can be drawn into wires, strips, strands, and many more. Because of its versatility, copper wire finds applications in domestic as well as industrial applications that involve high electrical load transfers. It is also used as the core element in many appliances due to its ability to form different shapes.
Good Tensile Strength
Copper has excellent tensile strength and can resist several mechanical failures like necking or neck-down, stretching, breaks, etc. It is one of the reasons why copper is used instead of aluminum.
When a metal expands and contracts under certain cyclic load conditions, the resultant deformation is called Creep. The use of copper wire has negligible creep compared to its rival, aluminum. From published findings, aluminum has a significant creep rate of 0.022 % per 1000 hours under a stress of 26 N/mm2 at an ambient temperature of 200C. Compared to this, copper has 0.022 % but the temperature must be as high as 1500C. When the creep rate is higher, a screw can deform a conductor and reduce contact pressure. This leads to resistance in joints, overheating, oxidations, loose connections, etc. Copper exhibits negligible creep rates and therefore is the best metal to use of copper wire.
Copper has good corrosion resistance in addition to its other mechanical properties making it one of the best metals to be used for electrical transmissions. Since it has a low reactivity series, it does not corrode and therefore can be used in wires, pipes, and even radiators.
Low Coefficient of thermal expansion
For an electrical conductor, the use of copper wire expands at a negligible rate for a long period. This is because it can dissipate more heat compared to other metals and therefore can be used in not only wires but also a myriad of applications that involves heat dissipation like pressurized connections and joints thus reducing hot spots in an electrical system.
Solderability and ease in installation
Copper wires can be soldered easily to form connections. Thus, it can make electrical connections easy for transmission and termination points. Due to its strength, copper wires can be pulled through different areas and even tight places to lay conduits.
Types of Copper Wires
The following are the types of copper wires. Copper wire manufacturers produce them according to applications and therefore are segregated into the following categories.
Solid copper wire
A single copper wire, bare or sheathed, in an insulating cover can be used to transfer electricity. This type of wire is called a soil copper wire and is usually found in domestic applications.
When numerous thin copper wires are wound together to form a single wire, it is called a copper-stranded wire. It has high electrical conductivity and is used where there are fluctuating electrical loads and is normally found in industrial applications.
When copper wires are twisted, braided, woven, or twisted into a single assembly, we get a copper cable. Such cables are used in electrical appliances and industrial applications; tin is used as a coating agent to plate these use of copper wire to reduce oxidation and increase the life of such cables.
Chemical composition and manufacturing methods
Copper can be mixed with other metals to form alloys for different applications. For example, when beryllium is mixed with copper, it exhibits high strength with anti-sparking and non-magnetic properties. Apart from this, it can be mixed with different metals like titanium, bronze, brass, zirconium to increase desirable properties like solderability, strength, durability, etc. The use of copper wire is clad aluminum wires, nickel-plated copper wires, copper-clad steel wires, etc. give more conductivity with reduced weight. Oxygen-Free Highly Conductive Copper (OFHC) Wire has high thermal conductivity and recrystallization properties along with anti-corrosion properties.
Copper is one of the most versatile metals on earth and is abundantly found in many areas. The application of copper has made it an essential component in our day-to-day lives. Therefore, it is essential to rely on the genuine use of copper wire manufacturers that provide certified and good-quality wires for our needs. Do visit us today and have a look at our versatile collection of copper wires and other products.