What are wires made of anyway? If you’re asking yourself this question, make sure you take a look at this guide to learn all the specifics.
When you live in a tiny house, your first priority is making the best use of your space.
So it’s pretty easy to regard excess electrical wires and cables as irritants. Yet, without them, you wouldn’t be able to power your cozy space.
In fact, when you think about them in those terms, they’re pretty amazing. You may even begin to ponder what are wires made of. If so, we have some answers here.
The Basic Components
Despite the complex job that wires perform, there are really just two basic components. The first is the conductor which channels the current through the cable. The second is the insulation which maintains the flow of electricity in the conductor.
Sounds easy enough. But these two components have a big job to do. Let’s break it down even further.
Manufacturing the Conductor
A conductor is a material through which electricity flows. In this case, metals.
The most common metal used is copper because it is highly flexible and conducts electricity with very little resistance. In some specific cases, however, aluminum is chosen as a conductor.
1. Wire Drawing
Wire drawing is the first stage in the manufacturing process.
When wire manufacturers receive copper from the foundry, it is in the form of large 5-tonne coils. At this point, the copper wiring has an 8 mm diameter and is technically referred to as “wire rod.”
The copper wire rod diameter must first be reduced to 2 mm to increase ductility and conductivity. After that, the wire is further drawn to decrease the diameter to the needed size for each sort of conductor.
The wire next undergoes a heating process called annealing. This is a necessary step because after the wire-drawing, the copper loses some of its conductivity. Heating the metal and allowing it to cool slowly helps to remove internal stresses and toughen the metal.
From here, a reliable cable manufacturer will group copper wires together to make conductors. This is known as stranding. Conductors with different cross-sections are manufactured during this process. The size depends on the wire’s intended capacity.
There are individual machines used to make the wires depending on the cross-section of each conductor. Now the wire is ready for insulation.
Creating the Insulation
Since the current runs along the outside of the copper wires, they must be insulated from other wires and conductive surfaces. An insulating cover also serves to prevent any leakage of current from the wires.
There is a variety of insulation materials, including PVC, EPR, and XLPE to name just a few. The choice will depend on the material’s capacity and heat resistance. These will determine the cable’s maximum service voltage.
In some cases, cables contain several different wires wrapped together in an insulator. In these situations, there may be additional elements of protection.
And that’s it, in a nutshell!
Now You Know What Are Wires Made Of
Even though it’s unlikely that anyone will ever ask you if you know what are wires made of, at least you possess the knowledge now.
And it just might help you look at those pesky space-stealing wires in a whole new light.
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