Solid Bare Copper
WesBell Bare Copper is soft drawn solid copper suited for overhead transmission and distribution applications. Also used for uninsulated hook-ups and jumpers. Bare copper is most commonly a ground wire in electrical construction. You’ll see this ground wire in NMB, ROMEX®, UFB and most high voltage electrical cables because they all need to be grounded. The rest of the wires in these cables are insulated or protected with a coating of material that is designed to block certain environmental conditions.
Solid Copper Construction
The construction is simple, once the copper is drawn from a liquid base it’s put into a machine that forms it into a circular wire form. It’s always solid to start with, but larger gauge sizes become very stiff and difficult to work with. However, since larger gauge sizes are still necessary in the industry, smaller sizes of solid copper are wound tightly together to form a bigger size. If you braid the copper strands together and connect them into the same spot, the current will run through all of the strands together as if they were a combined single solid strand.
Solid Copper Applications
Copper wiring dates back to the 1820’s and in 1876 the invention of the telephone created a massive need for drawn copper as a connection point to electrical current. The string used to connect the two cans that kids used to talk is a similar example or the need for a copper wire. In 2016 it’s become a complicated industry to sales and devices, but the core of the invention is that a single copper strand transmits current from an energy source to telephones, electronics, power distribution, equipment, etc.
After years of using copper wire to transmit current the insulation became a big concern as well. The insulation is the protection to avoid corrosion of the copper in certain applications. Handling copper wire while installing it is dangerous, moisture and water can damage copper, and heat is also a big concern. There are thousands of different types of insulation that block heat, moisture, voltage, etc. from attacking the copper itself, and therefore, protecting the transmission of current.
Solid Copper Manufacturers
Several manufacturers draw copper and form it into different sizes of wire. They also wrap it onto spools for easy unraveling during installations. However, unlike most wire and cable, there aren’t any fancy designs of bare copper wire because the fancy part is designated for the insulation and protection of the copper. Copper is copper. It can be formed into a circular form of wire to create a better product, so manufacturers win business with fast deliveries, quality of form (diameter and consistency) and pricing.
Wikipedia: “Electrical conductivity is a measure of how well a material transports an electric charge. This is an essential property in electrical wiring systems. Copper has the highest electrical conductivity rating of all non-precious metals: the electrical resistivity of copper = 16.78 nΩ•m at 20°C. Specially-pure Oxygen-Free Electronic (OFE) copper is about 1% more conductive.”
Conductors and Commodities
Between 2008 and 2013 the price of copper went up dramatically affecting most businesses in the industry, some good and some bad. As prices rose the competition became fierce, pricing structures were all over the map due to previously purchased inventory, manufacturers listed prices that were only true for 4 hours at a time, and engineers decided to look for alternate sources for transmitting current.
Aluminum became a popular choice as it was cheaper and lighter, along with having far less demand than copper. After a few years of increasing the amount of aluminum wire into the industry, and a slower market in 2015-2016, copper prices have settled back down to normal (previous) levels. Copper is a better conductor of electricity than aluminum, however, price wars in business can sometimes ignore that fact by simply using a slightly larger aluminum wire than the suggested copper wire choice. For example, 10 AWG copper was replaced with 6 AWG aluminum for a cheaper price per foot and a cheaper price for shipping to the destination.
- Bare solid copper
- Call for hard drawn
- Overhead transmission and distribution
- Uninsulated hook-ups and jumpers
- Ground wire in electrical construction