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What is magnet wire ?

  1. Jul 2, 2013 #1


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    What is "magnet wire"?

    I have a test procedure I am trying to follow and it calls for "two strands of twisted magnet wire." I know it is referring to something like this:

    I know the transmission line characteristics of twisted wire and why one would do this when making a measurement but my question is: What makes "magnet wire" different from common insulated solid copper wire? This is the first time I ever saw this magnet wire term.

    I looked at this page:

    And it seems like this is just a colloquial term for insulated solid copper wire because people often use this wire type when making various inductive devices despite all the details in the wikipage. Is this right or am I missing something important? If so, I get the abbreviation because insulated solid copper wire is a mouth full and repeatedly typing it kind of sucks too.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    The second article from wikipedia really describes it well. Magnet-wire has a polymer film insulation that can withstand 250C temperatures which while high is the heated environment in a transformer winding and ordinary plastic insulation would melt causing an unwanted short.
  4. Jul 2, 2013 #3
    One advantage is the insulation is very thin - so for a transmission type experiment, the physical distance between the conductors may be critical to the effect being studied - i.e. the conductors will be very closely coupled.
  5. Jul 3, 2013 #4


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    Got it. Thanks for the replies guys.
  6. Jul 3, 2013 #5


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    Wire for winding transformers and magnets would usually be 'enameled'. The insulation can cope with quite high temperatures and it packs tightly. You can either get it with an enamel which allows you to solder to it directly ('self fluxing' iirc) or a tougher enamel which needs to be scraped off (one brand name was Lewmex, I think). As it happens, I bought some of this the other weekend.
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