Copper Wire at Work

Kelly Benjamin
February 28, 2015

Copper has been used as the electric conductor in electric wiring since the 1820s, when the electromagnet and the telegraph were invented. Copper wire is used in countless types of electrical equipment, as well as various applications, including telecommunications and power generation, transmission, and distribution. About half of all copper mined is used in the manufacturing of electrical copper wire and cable.

Demanding electrical applications often require wire because of its durability and level of resistance to environmental changes and wear. It is resistant to corrosion caused by moisture, humidity, pollution, and more. Bare copper wire is often used due to its resistance to oxidation utilizing a thin layer of another metal, such as tin, gold or silver.

The wire – particularly copper building wire – is strong and flexible and therefore easy to work with. It can be easily installed without the use of special tools, washers, or compounds. The hardness of the wire keeps all connections securely in place, while the flexibility makes it easy to join. Better still, it can be bent and twisted without breaking. As you can probably guess, electricians love copper wire!

In building wire, copper is reliable, strong, and the most economical conductor available. It has a conductivity rating of 100% IACS or better and requires less insulation than other conductors. It can also be installed in smaller channels where lower-conductivity conductors have been installed. Copper building wire connections will not corrode or creep, unlike aluminum wire, which can wear due to anodic corrosion.

Copper wire and cable is all around us, as it’s used to distribute power through buildings, in data networks for telephone, cable TV, and Ethernet connections, and even in automobiles. Due to its flexibility, hardness, and strength, even as technology advances, copper will most likely remain as the dominant material for most electrical wire applications.

If you would like more information on the copper wire that we provide at Performance Wire and Cable Contact us!