On average, humanity consumes over 60000 terajoules of electricity per hour, thanks to Thomas Edison’s invention of wires. If the world ever runs out of electricity, even for an hour, life will turn into a living nightmare; patients will die, every engine will stay put, heaters will freeze, and no food will be cooked nor delivered. Fortunately, the situation is in a fiction story, which won’t happen soon. Currently, building wire has proliferated to every industry and is used from home wiring systems to industrial electrical engineering stuff.
Building wires come in different sizes, shapes and are made of conductive metals to fit various functions. Though their manufacturing processes incorporate knowledge from multiple fields, physics and mathematics have a permanent stake in the making of a building wire. Here are some of the extreme building wire types you should know;
- Armored cables
As the name suggests, this is the fortress of all wires, which stands guard even in the toughest conditions where other types of wires can’t perform. These cables are cost-effective, durable, and above all, deliver continuous streams of power.
Armored cables are wires bundled together and protected by multiple layers of different materials. Aluminum is used instead of steel to cover armored cables. Though steel is stronger than aluminum, using it to cover these cables results in overheating caused by the effect of current on a ferromagnetic material (steel). Furthermore, steel corrodes after prolonged exposure to acidic rain- common in industrial areas.
Where are armored cables used?
Just like structures are designed to take in wild wind gushes and intense earthquakes, armored cables are designed for areas with poor environmental conditions and to take in intense stress. These cables are a solution to any wiring projected subjected to physical damages. They are especially useful in power plants where many cables wear out easily from constant friction and repairs.
- Metal-clad cables
Metal-clad and electric metallic tubing have identical uses, but their properties differ. In any given job, an electrician can choose to use either cable depending on the construction specification. Metal-clad is a super-strong cable strengthened by a metal jacket.
Uses range from indoor applications to dump outdoor areas. When using it in an outdoor setting, make sure the building wire is buried several inches down as per the law requirements. According to section 330.15, cables should be buried or follow, building’s surface. Furthermore, the cable should be protected with an extra layer of non-porous plastic to prevent water from slipping into the cable and causing short circuits.
- Single conductor cable
These cables are highly recommended since they are very safe to use. Single conductor building wire contains a central conductor surrounded by a mesh of copper. For further protection, this cable is wrapped in steel and copper mesh and jacket, respectively. The galvanized steel also stabilizes the cable. The final layer is made of tough, water-resistant plastic, which echoes’ steel jacket functions.
A single conductor cable is branded with a unique purpose. Some are for conducting electricity to cookers while others carry information; hence they find a special place in networking and computing. When buying a single conductor building wire, understand which types you need and how they are applicable before shelling your money on bad choices.
- Non-metallic sheathed cables
Also known as Romex, non-metallic sheathed cables are widely used in residential settings. They are cheap, flexible, and easy to work with since they don’t require an electrician to have years of experience. This cable has a pair of wires, a black building wire, and a copper earthing wire which are wrapped with a thin layer of paper inside a plastic coating. Some people dispute the function of the thin paper; some argue it is to prevent wires from sticking on the plastic layer, while others agree on insulating as the main purpose, which in either case, they are right.
- Instrumental cable
The goal of most building wires is to transfer electricity efficiently while reducing the risk of causing fires and shocks. However, instrumental cables were designed to facilitate high-speed communication within a company or a city setting. They are strong outside but stealthy inside; hence it is almost impossible to tap electrical signals being transmitted.
The various conductors in instrumental cables are protected with different screening levels from PE bedding to the sheathing. This also protects these wires from corrosion and absorbing moisture.
The need for communication and electricity has made man create different types of wires. Armored cables represent the sovereignty of cables that reach their services in inhospitable conditions, while instrumental cables ensure information is delivered to the targeted destination. All in all, a building wire serves any purpose involving communication and connecting households to power sources.