Types of Wire and Cable

There are two basic types of wire: STRANDED and SOLID CORE. Stranded wire is more flexible than solid core wire, and solid core wire is less expensive, carries more current, and handles harsher environments. Wire is available individually, in jacketed bundles, and in shielded jacketed bundles. It is also available in coaxial arrangements where a central wire is surrounded by an insulator and then a conductive foil or braid.

Jacket refers to an insulating cover around a wire or wires, and shield refers to a conductive sheath that surrounds but is insulated from a wire or wires. The purpose of a shield is to act as a Faraday Cage and block electromagnetic interference, to prevent the wire from emitting it, and to block it from reaching the wire.

Fiber-optic cable is another type of cable that conducts light instead of electric signals. It is used for transferring high rates of data as it can transmit very high frequency signals. Fiber-optic cables also provide electrical isolation, which is important for long-distance connections that can have large earth ground voltage differences. And, they do not emit electromagnetic interference nor are they susceptible to it.

Solid Core Wire
Stranded Wire
Coaxial Cable
Jacketed Cable
Shielded Cable
Fiber-Optic Cable

Wire Size

The size of wire is specified by its gauge (American Wire Gauge or AWG) or by its diameter in mm. Resistance of wire is inversely proportional to the cross-sectional area of the wire, so wire with a larger diameter has less resistance per unit distance.

AWG Diameter (mm)Ω/1000 ft.Ω/kmMax current for chassis wiring (A)Max current for
power transmission (A)
Max freq for
100% skin depth
08.252460.09830.322424245150250 Hz
17.348220.12390.406392211119325 Hz
26.543040.15630.51266418194410 Hz
35.826760.1970.6461615875500 Hz
45.189220.24850.8150813560650 Hz
54.620260.31331.02762411847810 Hz
64.11480.39511.295928101371100 Hz
73.665220.49821.63409689301300 Hz
83.26390.62822.06049673241650 Hz
92.905760.79212.59808864192050 Hz
102.588260.99893.27639255152600 Hz
112.303781.264.132847123200 Hz
122.052321.5885.20864419.34150 Hz
131.82882.0036.56984357.45300 Hz
141.628142.5258.282325.96700 Hz
151.450343.18410.44352284.78250 Hz
161.290324.01613.17248223.711 k Hz
171.150625.06416.60992192.913 k Hz
181.023626.38520.9428162.317 kHz
190.911868.05126.40728141.821 kHz
200.812810.1533.292111.527 kHz
210.723912.841.98491.233 kHz
220.6451616.1452.939270.9242 kHz
230.5740420.3666.78084.70.72953 kHz
240.5105425.6784.19763.50.57768 kHz
250.4546632.37106.17362.70.45785 kHz
260.4038640.81133.85682.20.361107 kHz
270.3606851.47168.82161.70.288130 kHz
280.3200464.9212.8721.40.226170 kHz
290.2870281.83268.40241.20.182210 kHz
300.254103.2338.4960.860.142270 kHz

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