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 t
he 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.
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
to be more cost-effective.