Cable Basics 101: Conductors – Brought to you by Allied Wire & Cable

Visit Allied Wire & Cable at – There are many components that go into an electrical cable, from the conductor, to the insulation, to any shielding or jacketing it may have. Arguably, the most important component is the conductor, because without it, you don’t have a cable.

The conductor is at the center of the cable, and it carries the electrical signal from point A to point B. While that is the simplest definition, a lot goes into making and choosing the proper conductor for a particular cable. You need to choose the material, and any applicable coating. And what about stranding, or do you need solid? All of these choices are important when deciding on what conductor you want.

You can choose copper, silver, nickel, silver or nickel plated, or a variety of high strength alloys as your conductor material. Each of these options has its own benefits and limitations on where they should be used.

After choosing a conductor material, you need to choose between solid or stranded. Solid simply means your conductor will be one piece of metal, while stranded is a bunch of smaller pieces held together, which increases the flexibliity of the wire.

If you choose stranded, you need to choose your laying options: bunched, unilay or rope lay. The lay will determine how the strands are configured around each other.
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