Stranded wire is extremely versatile and employed in a number of industrial, commercial, and consumer applications. While some applications require solid conductor wires and cables, stranded wire is often preferred for its greater degree of flexibility.
Stranded cables and wires are used heavily in industries which require a great deal of lifting, support, and tension such as aerospace, automotive, communications, chemical, electronics, defense, security, and medical industries. To suit the needs of these industries and more, stranded rope is increasingly specialized. If uncertain, wire rope suppliers should be consulted in order to select the proper wire and avoid potentially costly and dangerous mechanical failures.
Stranded wires are identified by listing both the number of strands and the amount of wires per strand respectively as well as the lay and pitch of the rope. Identification codes can also extend to specifics such as core type, workload limit, and more, listed in abbreviated form.
The connections, fasteners, fittings, and other hardware attached to the stranded wire are also important as they offer differing degrees of wire versatility in terms of fray prevention and connectivity.
Like wire rope, stranded wire has three basic elements: wire filaments, strands, and cores.
The first components are the cold drawn rods of metal that are relatively small in diameter as compared to the rope as a whole.
These filaments are twisted or braided together to form a strand, or grouping of wires. The strands may consist of as few as two or as many as several dozen filaments depending upon the intended use of the finished product.
The core is the element around which the strands are wrapped in a helical pattern. Cores can be made of metal or fiber and the strands may be positioned around the core in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction known as the lay.
The materials chosen for the wires, strands, and cores are crucial and must provide the appropriate strength, flexibility, and wear resistance for their intended use. Stainless steel cables are popular, as are a number of other steel cable types, because they provide specific desired characteristics such as strength and wear resistance.
Other materials such as copper and aluminum may be chosen for their good electrical conductivity whereas nickel alloys are chosen for electrical resistance.
The specific material employed in the construction of stranded wire is selected with regards to the application in which it will be used.
Other important considerations include diameter, difficulty of flattening, temperature resistance, and average lifespan.