West Penn Wire Blog

Solid Vs. Stranded Cable

Posted by Samantha Flannery on May 23, 2019 10:02:00 AM
In low voltage cabling, we hear the terms solid and stranded on a regular basis. When these two terms are being discussed it generally goes back to the copper material within the cable and how it is arranged. The main, distinct difference between these two is the overall flexibility.  In the article below we will be looking at some distinct differences between the two. 
Stranded cables are made from several thinner wires that are woven together into one cohesive bunch and are insulated. These cables are used in situations where the wire is installed in cramped space. This cable can also be used when the wire needs to be highly flexible and in areas with a great deal of vibration. In a low voltage system, a stranded conductor may consist of 7, 19 or even more strands to make an AWG size.  For example, a 7-strand of 26awg will give a DCR of an 18AWG. Other factors to consider for stranding is skin effect. Skin effect is a phenomenon where the electrons in a conductor become stimulated and travel on the outside surfaces of the conductor. A stranded conductor compared to a solid conductor of the same AWG has more surface area hence a better, quicker signal.
  • Highly Flexibility
  • Easier to Route
  • Can withstand large amounts of repetitive motion
  • Replaced less often
  • Expensive
Solid cables use one solid copper wire per conductor and they should not be bent or twisted repeatedly. They are traditionally used as a backbone cable in walls, conduit, ceilings, where a great amount of flexibility is not needed. This cable is more rigid and transmits signals well over long distances. Also, solid cables are cheaper to manufacture so they are considered to be more cost-effective. 
  • Cost-Effective
  • Cant withstand large amounts of repetitive motion
  • Not highly flexible
Note: Both solid and stranded conductors are annealed - to make the conductors softer and easier to work with. Most low voltage copper conductors are processed ETP electrolytic tough pitch or oxygen free. Both allow up to 99.9% conductivity.

>>> Want to learn more about these cables or have questions? Click here to contact our sales team. 

Topics: Low Voltage Cables, bulk cable, Solid Cable, Stranded Cable

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