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What types of metals are typically in wires?

by stickythighs
Tags: metals, types, typically, wires
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stickythighs
#1
Aug10-08, 01:44 PM
P: 72
What type of metal are typically in wires?

I believe that usually wires are made out of copper. Are most wires made out of copper?

Does the size of the wire usually determine what metal is in a wire? For instance, are larger wires typically composed of copper, while smaller wires are typically composed of iron?

Is iron ever used in wires?

Is steel ever used in wires?

Is aluminum used in wires?

I would like a general overview of the types of metal in wires.
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mgb_phys
#2
Aug10-08, 02:26 PM
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Generally electrical wires are copper because it has very good electrical conductivity. The wiring in some american houses form the 70s are aluminium because of the high price of copper at the time. The electrical wires on high voltage pylons are generally aluminium, although it is a poorer conductor than copper it is much lighter so can be thinner to support it's own weight.

Wires used on suspension bridge cables are steel.
Redbelly98
#3
Aug10-08, 02:48 PM
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Also, wires used as filaments in light bulbs are made from tungsten.

stickythighs
#4
Aug10-08, 03:03 PM
P: 72
What types of metals are typically in wires?

mgb phys,

I appreciate the pithy remarks of your response.

What are high voltage pylons?
hage567
#5
Aug10-08, 03:32 PM
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Quote Quote by stickythighs View Post
What are high voltage pylons?
They are these things:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_pylon
Sakha
#6
Aug10-08, 05:31 PM
P: 295
On some very precise applications they sometimes use Silver alloys wires and for applications that require really small wires and very little corrosion gold is sometimes used.
Astronuc
#7
Aug10-08, 07:07 PM
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Quote Quote by mgb_phys View Post
Generally electrical wires are copper because it has very good electrical conductivity. The wiring in some american houses form the 70s are aluminium because of the high price of copper at the time. The electrical wires on high voltage pylons are generally aluminium, although it is a poorer conductor than copper it is much lighter so can be thinner to support it's own weight.

Wires used on suspension bridge cables are steel.
In some cases, some transmission lines are comprised of Al strands around a steel core.

Piano wires are steels - specifically 'spring steel'.

Guitar strings are steel or bronze wound around steel cores.
mgb_phys
#8
Aug10-08, 09:12 PM
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I forgot to add, the wires inside a computer chip, connecting between the silicon and the pins are often gold. Gold can be stretched into much finner wires than any metal.
NoTime
#9
Aug11-08, 01:19 PM
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Any metal that can be formed into a wire, is made into wire for one application or another.
If by wire you mean conductive connector then you can include some non metals like polymers or carbon nanotubes.
Redbelly98
#10
Aug12-08, 07:46 AM
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While I'm hesitant to drag this thread out further, owing to the OP's lack of response, I am compelled to add:

Nickel-chromium ("Nichrome") resistance wire is used to make heater elements.


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