J905e: Characteristics of Copper Wire

Characteristics of Copper Wire

Wire size in the United States with diameter less than about 0.5 in. is specified by its American Wire Gage (AWG) number. The AWG numbers are based on wire resistance, which means that larger AWG numbers have higher resistance and hence smaller diameter. Conversely, smaller gage wire has larger diameter and, consequently, lower resistance. Ordinary house wiring is usually No. 12 AWG, which is roughly the diameter of the lead in an ordinary pencil. The largest wire designated with an AWG number is 0000, which is usually written 4/0, with a diameter of 0.460 in. For heavier wire, which is usually stranded (made up of many individual wires bundled together), the size is specified in the United States in thousands of circular mills (kcmil). For example, 1000-kcmil stranded copper wire for utility transmission lines is 1.15 in. in diameter and has a resistance of 0.076 ohms per mile. In countries using the metric system, wire size is simply specified by its diameter in millimeters. In Table gives some
values of wire resistance, in ohms per 100 feet, for various gages of copper wire at 68◦F. Also given is the maximum allowable current for copper wire clad in the most common insulation

Gilbert M. Masters. “Renewable and Efficient Electric Power Systems”. Jhon Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey. ISBN 0-471-28060-7. 2004



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