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Materials Used to Make Electrical Wire

Updated April 17, 2017

Electrical power is delivered to houses and outlets in the house with electrical wiring. These electrical wires are made from metal and insulators, and the type of wire impacts the quality of the system.

Wire

The main component of electrical wire is the metal which conducts the electricity. Most modern electrical wire is made from copper because it has high conductivity and flexibility. During copper shortages and as a lower-cost alternative, the less conductive aluminium or copper-plated aluminium was used in electrical wires. However, the most common metal found in electrical wires is copper.

Insulators

Because the current runs along the outside of copper wires, they need to be insulated from other wires and conductive surfaces. In the past, rubber was used to insulate the copper, but modern polymers are preferred now. Some insulators used for electrical wires include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Teflon and polythene.

Cables

Sometimes multiple wires are bundled together in a cable. These individual insulated wires are wrapped or braided, and sometimes they are wrapped in a secondary casing called shielding to protect them from electromagnetic interference or provide further insulation.

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About the Author

Kevin Carr has been writing for a variety of outlets and companies since 1991. He has contributed to McGraw-Hill textbooks for middle school and high school, written for the Newspaper Network of Central Ohio and has been a featured film critic for online publications including 7M Pictures and Film School Rejects. Carr holds a Bachelor of Science in education.