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Stranded Wire Vs Solid Wire: Know The Difference

by | Dec 4, 2023

Wires are essential components of electrical and electronic systems that carry electricity from one point to another. There are two main types of wires used for power transmission: solid wire and stranded wire. Solid wire has a single core, while stranded wire is formed by twisting multiple thinner wires together to fit intricate geometries. Wire harnesses, cable assemblies, and other electrical power distribution equipment make use of solid and stranded wires. The choice between the solid wire or stranded copper wire depends on the specific needs of the electrical project, as each has its advantages.

Stranded Wire

Bundled wires are compressed together and then covered in non-conductive insulation. Because of its flexibility, it is perfect for bending and twisting to fit complex shapes on circuit boards or connecting electronic components in small areas. Stranded cable, being more malleable than solid wire, won’t split or sever. It is an apt choice for indoor applications, including speaker lines, printed circuit boards, tight spaces, and electronic devices.

Benefits of Stranded Wire

A stranded cable is made up of several small-gauge wire strands twisted together in a helix, and conductor size is specified using two numbers denoting the number of strands and gauge. Stranded wire is better for motion applications due to its longer flex life, ease of routing, and safe current flow. It generates less heat and experiences less skin effect when used for longer power transmission at higher voltage.

Stranded Wire Disadvantages

Stranded wire has drawbacks such as the increased risk of corrosion, lower current capacity than solid wire, increased voltage loss, high frequencies of noisy sound, complex connection, and termination procedures, and comparatively higher cost.

Solid Wire

When compared to stranded wire, solid metal core wire, commonly known as busbars, is a much heavier and thicker product. It is an apt choice for outdoor applications that require higher currents and greater durability. This robust and cost-effective wire can withstand harsh environmental conditions and inclement weather. It is frequently used in various outdoor settings, vehicle controls, electrical conductors, and building structures to transport strong currents.

Benefits of Solid Wire

Solid wires offer many advantages over stranded wires. They provide a perfect connection and termination, have a higher ampacity, reduce noise, are anti-corrosive, and are ideal for long-distance applications with low voltage drop. They are also less expensive than stranded wires.

Solid cable conductors are single wires with larger gauges. The gauge number represents the size of the solid wire, and it determines the cable’s specification, whether it has one, two, or four pairs.

Drawbacks of Solid Wire

When used repeatedly, the surface area of the cable may become damaged, and it is also susceptible to skin effects from high-voltage and electricity transmission lines. In addition, it is not subject to litigation in electronic, digital, and computer applications.

Custom cable manufacturers in India assist industries in choosing solid copper or stranded cable as per their customized choices.

Solid Wire and Stranded Wire Differ in

Major Distinctions Between Solid And Stranded Wires

To pick between stranded and solid wire during the manufacturing process:

  1. Weigh up their pros and cons.
  2. Consider their unique properties in relation to your project’s requirements and intended use.
  3. Determine the weather resistance, elasticity, and resistance to splitting or severing standards that apply to solid wiring for your application.

However, both the wires differ with respect to their-

1. Current Capacity

Solid wires are better for larger current capacity needs, while stranded wires have more dissipation due to air gaps and larger surface area. To achieve the same current capacity, stranded wires need a larger cross-sectional area. Skin effects can cause current to flow mainly on the outer surface of the conductor in AC circuits, but for household wiring with copper wire up to 6mm and a frequency of 50/60 Hz, the skin effect at depth is negligible.

2. Flexibility

Stranded and solid cables differ in flexibility. Stranded cables are more pliable, but their terminations and flexible strands may break over time. Solid conductors maintain their shape but can break if bent too much. Stranded wires are more durable and flexible, making them ideal for frequent movement or vibration.

3. Distance

Solid wires are a better option for longer distances because they have lower current dissipation, while stranded wire is suitable for shorter distances.

4. Routing

Stranded wires, being more flexible and bendable, are easier to route around obstacles than solid wires.

5. Cost

Solid wire is a more cost-effective option than stranded wire due to its lower production costs. The ease of production is the primary reason for this cost difference. Solid wire is single-core, which makes it significantly easier to create. On the other hand, to create stranded wires, it is necessary to twist thin wires together, which requires more complex production procedures.

6. Performance

Solid cables are better conductors than stranded wires. They can carry higher current loads, have stable electrical qualities across a wider frequency range, and are more robust and less prone to vibration and corrosion. Stranded cables suffer from higher attenuation and DC resistance due to air pockets in their cross-section. Thinner conductors have higher insertion loss than thicker ones.

Solid wires are better for fixed installations, while stranded wires are preferable for bending applications.

7. Amp capacity

Solid and stranded wires have similar power transfers at 50/60 Hz. Solid wire is easier to bend and terminate. It is easier to pull stranded wire through long conduits. Both have the same amp capacity and gauge designation. Still, the stranded wire skin depth has a larger diameter and higher DC resistance due to the packing of individual strands together.

8. Manufacturing ease

Solid wires is significantly easier to produce as it is single-cored. Stranded wires need more sophisticated production techniques to connect the thinner wires.

Conclusion

When choosing wire and cable, consider costs, indoor/outdoor use, load types, motion, ampacity, and environment. Solid wire is cost-effective and durable, while stranded wire is flexible. Large diameters are needed for high-power-lines, but temperature increases cause sag. Solid wire is cheaper and great for permanent wiring, while stranded wire is ideal for appliances.

Electricians prefer stranded wiring over solid wire for sizes eight and up due to its ease of use in complicated projects with lots of bends. Stranded wire is more flexible and more accessible to pull, making it a popular choice for replacing wiring. Solid wire is used for sizes ten and smaller due to more durability, ease of pulling, and reduced likelihood of mistakes, unlike stranded conductors. Choose the wire that best meets those requirements with the assistance of the best wire harness manufacturers in India.

Aparna Sushumna | Author

Aparna Sushumna

About the Author

Aparna Sushumna, a mother to a hyperactive toddler who is all over the house. I aspire to be a decent content developer. A Bachelorette of technology says my qualification but I anticipated being a singer. Thanks to the recession, I dwelled into various jobs, from coding to being a tech support executive to a help desk professional, only to conclude that there is something else I wish to do. Here I am to accomplish my profound passion for content writing. Music, nature, jewelry, beauty, mythology, life quotes, celebs, and their life, being my areas of interest.