A super flexible wire design requires two things, a flexible insulation material and the right conductor stranding. Even with the most flexible wire insulation, the flexibility of the wire will depend on the conductor stranding. Conductor construction is key in achieving a noodle like flexible wire. There are two things to look at when choosing the right conductor:
1. Number of strands. Conductors are made of many fine strands which are cabled together to meet the required gauge size. Conductor stranding is available from one strand (solid) to hundreds depending on the gauge size. The higher the strand count the more flexible and resistant to flexing fatigue the wire will be. For example a 24AWG wire, the stranding options are from 1 strand (solid) all the way to 105 strands. That’s quite a range.
2. Conductor construction. How these fine strands are put together is as important as the strand count. The most common configuration is concentric. Concentric conductor may be defined as: a central wire (strand) surrounded by one or more layers of helically laid wires in a geometric pattern. Rope stranding has the advantage of increasing flexibility by using a larger number of finer strands while maintaining a tighter diameter tolerance than a simple bunched construction. to read more in depth about conductor construction read our conductor stranding page on this blog.
Flexing vs. Flexibility
To some flexibility means to withstand repetitive flexing, while to others it means how much the wire will bend and rigidity. For both types of applications a high stranded conductor is recommended. For repetitive flexing one should consider using an alloy material for higher strength and flex cycles. For noodle like flexibility a standard copper conductor is fine.
Flexible cables also use high strand conductors, but there are more factors involved controlling the flexibility; Such as, Shielding, outer jacket material, cable lay construction and type of conductors just to name a few.
It’s always best to discuss your flexibility needs and the conductors available with a wire and cable manufacturer, especially one that works with high strand count conductors. Off the shelf (commodity) wire manufacturers usually work with solid, 7 and 19 strand conductors which are less flexible than the high strand conductors. For more information or to discuss your requirements, contact Calmont today.
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