One of the essential elements in industrial and residential applications and the manufacture of various machinery is an electrical cable. The materials used for electric wires include copper, high strength alloys, stainless steel, and copper-covered steel. In a few applications, pure silver, nickel, and metal alloy conductors might be used. Copper is the leading material for electric cables. This is because of its high thermal and electrical conductivity, solderability, malleability, and ductility. It also has high corrosion, fatigue, and wear resistance and melting point.
Whether you are looking for industrial, residential, or marine grade cablee, the copper cable will be categorized according to its coating type. The coating is designed to insulate the wires and boost some of its properties. The following are the types of coated copper cables.
Naked copper will slowly form an oxide with the oxygen in its surrounding to form copper oxide. This oxide film formed is a poor electrical conductor and should be removed or prevented from forming to guarantee the reliability of your electrical connections. The prevention of the oxide’s formation is achieved through the coating of copper wires with metals that oxidize slowly. The cable can be used as a processing aid, for the provision of low-resistance connection or for the facilitation of a termination. Bare copper will work best at temperatures of not more than 1,000 °C.
These conductors are used as soldering aids and are often specified in soldered terminations. Tinned copper is suited for cables that are frequently exposed to temperatures of up to 1,500 °C. Though slightly more costly compared to bare copper, tinned copper cables are labor-saving since they do not have additional expenses if the cables should be solder-dipped or manually twisted.
Silver Coated Copper
This is created through the electroplating of an 18 AWG wire using pure silver. The cable will then be cold drawn to its ideal size then annealed. The minimum thickness of silver coated copper is 40 microinches. Silver coated copper conductors are the ideal choice for wires used in operating temperatures of 150-2,000 °C. The cables will allow rapid soldering using hand irons. Care is nonetheless vital to avert the wicking of your solder under the silver coating since this reduces the flex life of the cable.
Nickel Coated Copper
These cables have a thickness of about 50 microinches. They are ideal for situations with operating temperatures of 200-2,600 °C in which silver coated cables will wick when soldered. Moreover, nickel coated copper wires will adhere exceptionally well to create a proper termination of your electrical connections without impairing their flexibility. Any connection that will be exposed to temperatures above the 2,600 °C allowed for nickel coated copper cables will need special soldering techniques.
Most people assume that any coated copper cable will suffice for their application. However, coated copper cables are different, and it is essential to pick the right one for your electric circuit. You should also ensure you get your cables from a supplier who deals with quality cables. This assures you of the cable’s safety for your connection and its ability to convey the required current.