9 Things to Know Stranded Wire VS Solid Wire in Electrical Applications


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As the name suggests, ‚ solid wire consists of a single metal core with an outer insulation layer. The stranded wire has many thinner wires. These wires called strands and twist around each other to form a single bunch.

So what wire is best for your project? To understand this, you need to know how stranded wires and solid wires differentiate.

That is why we put together this handy article on nine things you need to know about stranded wires and solid wires.

Wires used in electrical applications
Alt – Wires used in electrical applications

1.Stranded Wire VS Solid Wire Manufacturing Ease

The solid wire only has one copper strand and an insulation layer. It’s because of this that the solid wire is easier to manufacture.

Stranded Wire, on the other hand, has several thin copper strands twisted together to make it. Manufacturing these strands is more expensive when compared to solid wire manufacturing.

2.Stranded Wire VS Solid Wire The Thickness

In short, a solid wire is thicker than stranded wire.

For one, a solid wire has only one thick copper core. Stranded Wires consists of multiple thin wires. The thickness of these wires helps in giving different properties to the wires.

Solid Wire
Alt – Solid Wire

3.Stranded Wires VS Solid Wires of Durability

The thickness of the wire is a tell-tale sign of how durable it is.

In short, the thicker the wire, the more durable it is.

As solid wires consist of only one thick strand‚ it is much more durable than the stranded wires. The thin structure of the strands in the stranded wire has the opposite effect. The thinness makes them fragile and much less durable.

Being less prone to corrosion is also a benefit that occurs because of the thickness of the wire. The solid wire has the thickness, which results in an anti-corrosive effect. You can use the solid wire effectively outdoors. On the downside‚ the stranded wires are very prone to corrosion. There are air gaps in the stranded wire among the twisted strands. It makes the stranded wire vulnerable to corrosion. It is why we do not see stranded wires in applications exposed to the outside.

Solid wire also has the upper hand in damage resistance. It has only a single metalcore. As a result, the solid wire has fewer chances of getting damages. But‚ stranded wire has fragile, thin strands. It makes the wire prone to damages.

4.Stranded Wires VS Solid Wires Malleability

Flexible Stranded Wire
Alt – Flexible Stranded Wire

Stranded wires are much more malleable than that of solid wire. The twisted structure of the strands allows bending. So‚ the stranded wires are well-suited for applications that require flexibility and movement. Solid wire is much less flexible and only used in static applications that need no movement. Solid wire lacks the strength to endure motion.

So, when considering flexibility, stranded wires are highly resistant to damage. Solid wire is not made for flexibility and can break if bent.

5.Stranded Wire VS Solid Wire Costing

When considering the cost, solid wires are far less expensive. It is because it has a simple‚ straightforward manufacturing process. Stranded wire is an expensive investment. But in the long run, stranded wires are worth the investment. It is because of its strength and malleability.

Whether a wire is expensive or not highly depends on your requirement. So‚ to make a decision that cuts down costs, you need to consider your requirement first.

6.Flexing Issues

Flexing is the ability to bend into complex shapes. The single thick core of the solid wire is not made for flexing. These wires are highly likely to break when flexed. The solid wire may also break on the application of load and continuous vibrations.

Stranded wire, however, has a structure that facilitates flexing effectively. These wires are especially useful when connecting electrical applications in tight spaces. The stranded wire can withstand constant movement better. It’s why companies use the stranded wires in applications such as a robot arm or a car door. Stranded wires also used to connect most electrical applications in the household. They are also used in circuit boards and inside electronic devices.

Stranded Wire used in Household Applications
Alt- Stranded Wire used in Household Applications

7.Load Carrying Capacity

Dissipation is a common thing among any wire.

It is also one of the main challenges to the load-carrying capacity of a wire. Electricity goes through to a magnetic field when it travels through the wire. It causes electricity to dissipate into the air slowly. When the surface area of the outer layer is high‚ dissipation is more likely to happen.

The stranded wire consists of many strands and has air gaps among the wires. So‚, the surface area, is larger. But the solid wire uses only one strand. It significantly decreases the surface area where dissipation can take place.

So the load-carrying capacity of the solid wire is better than that of the stranded wire.

8.Impedance and Skin Effect

Impedance is the resistance of an electric component when introduced to a current.

When current passes through a cable‚ it induces a magnetic field around it. Sometimes‚ an electrical application can pass alternating current through the conductor. Alternating currents result in a changing magnetic field. The changing magnetic field induces an opposing eddy effect.

This effect forces the current to travel close to the surface of the conductor, known as the skin effect. It happens when alternating currents travel close to the surface of a conductor. It limits the area of the conductor available to carry the current flow. As a result, the resistance of the conductor increases.

You can naturally assume that the stranded wire reduces this effect. But this is not the case. All the strands of a stranded wire are short-circuited together and act as a single wire. The skin effect causes an increase of resistance where the skin depth is smaller. The small skin depth of the stranded wire causes higher resistance.

So‚ the stranded wire is more affected by the skin effect. It is the reason why stranded wires have a less load-carrying capacity than the solid wire.

9.Internal and Outdoor

There are some limitations to these wires because of their physical structures.

Stranded wires are fragile and have air gaps in between the strands. When exposed to outside elements, strands begin to corrode and get damaged. It affects the durability of the wire. But‚ in an indoor environment‚ stranded wires are the best choice. These wires are flexible and strong. For this reason, they are a staple in many electrical appliances indoors. These include the wiring systems in speakers and such electric applications.

When considering the outdoor application, solid wire is the best. The rugged‚ simple nature of the solid wire is effective for damage resistance. With the thickness of the core, these wires are immune to corrosion as well. It makes them capable of handling extreme weather conditions.

Solid wires are not used for intricate applications that require flexibility. But‚ the solid wire is perfect for tasks like carrying current through a building. You can use the solid wire when you need to pass high current. It is a wire that can only withstand little movement but is very durable.

Conclusion

Select the best wire for your project
Alt – Select the best wire for your project

The wire you need can change depending on the situation. To select the best wire, you need to understand each wire’s capabilities and drawbacks. Now you understand the difference between the solid wire and the stranded wire. And we hope this article helped in making your choice.

So‚ If you need customized cabling‚ CLOOM Tech have an expert team ready to help you. With our state-of-the-art labs, you can ensure that your projects get delivered on time. We can help with everything from PCB design to network cabling needs. Contact us today to get started with your project!

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