What are electrical wires made of?« Back to Questions List

Electric energy has become an essential part of our life without which it has become difficult to carry on one’s every day activities. The electrical wires perform the job of carrying the electric energy throughout our house and everywhere else. Are we not interested in knowing what these electrical wires are made of?

The electrical wires are normally made of copper. The metal is red in color and is easily available. It is very good conductor, has good malleability and ductility. Being malleable and ductile, it can be easily molded and bent. These desired properties allow it to carry electricity without much loss. Copper wires are reddish in color.

electrical wire 

In mid 1960s, price of copper became so high that an alternate was thought about. Thus, aluminium wires came into being. Aluminium is silver white in color and is cheaper and available in abundance as well. The wires were manufactured in small sizes for use at homes. Today it is commonly used in power grids, airplanes and some houses too. As the
conductivity of aluminium is comparatively less than that of copper, to carry the same amount of current as copper, an aluminium wire has to be larger in diameter. Large diameter ensures less resistivity, therefore more conductivity y. For the same length and size of wire, copper is better conductor than aluminium and will have less voltage drop than aluminium. 

electrical wire 1

Copper clad aluminium wires are made by bonding a layer of pure copper over an inner aluminium core. It has higher electrical conductivity than pure aluminium and is lighter than pure copper. It delivers almost the same conductivity as that of copper wires but with slightly higher resistance. Copper clad aluminum wire is used in overhead coaxial cable for high frequency television signals and other telecommunication related applications.


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