Trying to determine the right wire for your electrical work? It’s not always as simple as leaving everything to wire cutting services or checking a manual if you’re dealing with a new application.
Even if you’re comfortable with wiring and basic electrical, don’t rush to a decision; stop, take a moment, and consider these seven components of the wire selection process.
Basic durability should always be a high priority consideration in any wire selection process, electrical or otherwise. In wire design, durability usually refers to a wires ability to be exposed to various forces without failing; i.e. regular flexing, continuous pressure, etc.
This is an area where a detailed discussion with your wire cutting services can be of particular use; you want to figure out early on whether you should invest in durability or put together a long-term plan for frequent maintenance to replace damaged sections.
Voltage and current levels
This one, you’ve probably already taken into account—but make sure you consider unusual usage cases and how your wire might behave in unexpected but plausible scenarios.
Pay extra attention to anything and everything in your application which could conceivably alter the voltage and current levels; you don’t ever want a surprise hitting your electrical wire if you can possibly avoid it.
Not every wire can withstand every environment safely, and when wires are exposed to corrosive or otherwise intolerable environments, it can quickly become as dangerous to resolve as it is costly. Insulation can minimize the exposure of a wire to its environment, but in many applications, it becomes implausible to entrust corrosion prevention solely to the housing of the wire.
In these applications, wire cutting services like LaurelWire.com will often recommend the use of gold, which is an excellent conductor and corrosion resistant, or aluminum, which is acceptably conductive, comparatively inexpensive, and highly resistant to common sources of corrosion.
Conductors behave differently at different temperatures, so make sure you’ve carefully assessed what sort of running temperatures you’re looking at for your wire application. You may need to balance the potential costs of wire which can operate effectively in extreme environments against your options for controlling temperatures in the area, depending on the specifics of your application.
And remember, your wire needs to be reliable and viable for all of your operating temperatures, not just a single high or low benchmark. Surprises are your enemy in electrical wire. Your wire cutting services can’t help you choose wire accurately if they don’t know every factor.
Suspension, Pressure, and Other Environmental Concerns
Heat, cold, and corrosion aren’t the only environmental factors you need to access. Some forms of wire excel in their strength for suspension, i.e. connecting between two distant points without the need for additional supports, while others will need to be attached to a support at all points.
Similarly, pressure concerns from underground or underwater wiring require their own set of solutions. This can be solved with the wire itself, insulation, or the housing of the entire wire assembly, but it needs to be resolved in some way.
Many factors go into choosing the right wire in electrical applications—and in new applications, you can’t always follow in the footsteps of other engineers and electricians. Take your time looking at similar usage cases and talking to your wire cutting services provider—and pay special attention to unexpected failures.
Your goal should be to find the wire that meets your needs without exceeding them excessively; you get what you pay for with wire cutting services, but you shouldn’t break your budget.