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What Makes the Best Electrical Wiring Other Than Copper

1st Aug 2017

If you are undertaking a home improvement project or large-scale construction job, one of the most important materials you need to locate is electrical wiring. A great deal of modern life depends on electricity and devices, equipment, appliances, and machines that utilize electricity. While the rare person could go an entire day without encountering electricity or needing it, most people around the globe encounter electricity hundreds of times within a single day.

Just consider everything that is in your home. Your television, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher all need electricity to run. Likely, you have a washer, dryer, and automatic garage door. In addition to all of these bigger appliances and pieces of equipment, our lives have become inundated with electrical devices. Americans depend on laptops, cell phones, tablets, and other portable devices. Modems, servers, and hard drives power our businesses. It is impossible to deny the importance electricity has on our lives. 

What Makes a Good Electrical Conductor?
With so many items essential to keeping life, as we know it, moving forward, it is essential for the makers of electrical wiring to use the best materials available. Often, the best material is the one that can conduct electricity the best. Electrical conductors are defined as materials that have movable electrically charged particles. We call these electrons. When electricity hits a certain metal, those electrons begin to move, fast. The electricity will pass through the piece of metal, thus conducting electricity.

Therefore, the best metal conductors are those that have good electron mobility. Conversely, metals that make poor conductors will have low electron mobility. Two of the best conductors are silver and copper. For this reason, alone, electricians, construction workers, developers, and those in the telecommunications industry love to use both materials in electrical wire.

How Is Silver Used in Wiring Today?
Silver is the best conductor of electricity. Despite silver’s immense ability to conduct electricity, it is often not used in wiring. The reason is silver is exponentially more expensive than the other option, copper. Instead, silver is used in high-end, specialty equipment, where the need for impressive conductivity is necessary, and the price isn’t important. For example, silver is used in satellites and circuit boards.

Silver is also used in small amounts within some devices. Instead of forming entire cables or wires, silver is utilized within electrical switches to join contacts of the switch it is one and separate the contacts when it is off. When utilized in this small amount, it can still be an economical choice. There silver contacts are found in cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles. The same style contacts are also popular in industrial machines.

Uses of Aluminium
While copper and silver are considered two of the premier materials for conducting electricity, aluminum isn’t far behind. Plus, this metal has a characteristic that separates it from copper, when it comes to everyday electrical wiring. This characteristic is weight. While copper can be quite heavy, despite its malleable features, aluminum is incredibly lightweight. This makes it the ideal material for overhead phone lines and similar projects.

In actuality, aluminum is both cheaper and more conductive than copper when the materials are compared per unit weight. However, aluminum has certain characteristics that keep it from being useful in many situations. Aluminum will form an electronically resistant oxide on its surface. At first, this simply causes a device to overheat, but overtime if the aluminum is exposed to the elements for an extended period, it will stop conducting electricity altogether.

That would be a nightmare in portable devices, modems, and similar devices. As well, it keeps the aluminum from being used in any environment that is exposed to salt or thermal heat. Instead, copper is commonly used because not only can it be easily formed into electrical coils, but it is resistant to corrosion by salt, thermal heat, and other intense environments.

What About Steel?
Steel is commonly thought of as a construction material. It is heavy, durable and inflexible. Those qualities have made it the most common choice in constructing skyscrapers and warehouses. Any structure that needs to be big, immovable and sturdy will likely incorporate some steel beams. However, steel is an alloy of iron and can conduct electricity. The problem is it is nearly impossible to form steel into the shape and size required to make electrical wire. Steel is often used to encase wiring or other conductors, which is a much better use of the durable material.

Finding the Right Wire
At EWCS we carry electrical wire of all lengths, diameters, and sizes. Our goal is to provide any builder, renovator, or electrician with the exact wiring he or she needs to complete a project. Regardless of size or experience, we are happy to discuss the wiring sold through EWCS and the best option for your project. Visit our website at to learn more.