ABKnowledge and also Employability science 8, 9 (revised 2009)9Unit D: electrical Principles and Technologies
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Why Wires?

Think around all the wires that you usage every day. Wires space a huge part of ours lives, even if us don’t constantly realize it. Electric wiring, etc strings, and record clips are just a few examples the wires. Even the net is comprised of a the majority of computers linked by wires. Wires are such a consistent presence in our resides that we don’t always think about.

You are watching: Why are all electrical wires made from metal


Ethernet cables at a large data center (Source: Ultima_Gaina via iStockphoto).


What are wires made out of?

Wires room made from metals. Few of the steels used include steel, copper, aluminum, and also silver. We usage these products to do wires because of their properties. Metals have actually a high melt point and space usually a solid at room temperature. They space also ductile. This means that they have the right to be quickly stretched. Finally, steels are good conductors of heat and also electricity. This way electricity and heat can conveniently flow through them. 

Did friend know? 

Silver is the aspect that is ideal at conducting electricity.

How space wires made?

Wire drawing is a procedure that is frequently used to do wires. Illustration wires entails reducing the diameter of metal rods to the desired diameter. Diameter is one more word because that the width of a one or cylinder. Wire gauge is a measure up of a wire’s diameter. The cable drawing process can produce countless different size of wire. Let’s see exactly how it works.

First, a piece of steel, dubbed a billet, is boil to about 2000°C. This makes it simpler to readjust its shape. The warm billet is fed v a collection of rojo stands which rotate the metal right into a rod that is 1-4 centimeter in diameter. The pole is then created into coils.


Hot mill in ~ Charter Steel, Saulville, WI (Source: Charter Steel)


The coils room left outdoors come cool. Each coil weighs around 700-900 kg! The coils can develop some surface ar rust and get dirty during storage. This need to be cleaned off before the following step. Cleaning involves dipping the coil in a warm water solution with chemicals the removes any surface dirt.


Rod garden at the Henkel coporation, group in Madison Heights, MI (Source: Henkel Corporation/ David Gzesh)

The pole is then passed into through a collection of lubricated dies. A lubricant is a product that provides something slippery. Oil is frequently used as a lubricant. A die is a device that is offered to press, cut, or form a material. Here, dies mitigate the big diameter of the rod to smaller sized diameter wire. Wires have the right to withstand the force of this process because castle are very ductile. A much less ductile material, favor glass, would certainly shatter.


Carbide dies from the great Die agency in Belcamp, MD (Source: Paramount dice Company)


Dimco Indio dies from the dice India production Co. In Bawana, Delhi, India (Source: dice India manufacturing Co.)

Eventually, thin wires are formed. Lubricants, such together the ones produced by Blachford chemical Group*, mitigate friction and provide a obstacle as the wire passes with the die. Lubricants do the process go quicker and assist the die to critical longer. 

*Refers come Blachford Corporation and also H.L. Blachford Ltd.

Dry lubricant dice box diagram (Source: Henkel Corporation/ David Gzesh)

For illustration steel wire, the lubricant is a powder. The dice box is filled with the powder and also the cable is pulled first through the powder and also then through the die. The die has a cone at the front. Its diminish diameter forces a coating of the lubricant onto the wire. The finished wire will have a irradiate lubricant film left ~ above it and also may require cleaning prior to further processing into finish products. 

This process can create dust. This dust can be a dust to explode hazard. This is why that is essential to control dust in a wire illustration operation.

Left: dry lubricant box. Right: Wire illustration lubricant (Source: Blachford Corporation/ David Gzesh)
How It"s Made electrical Wires (2018, 4:45 min.)


Did you know? 

Scientists at Stanford University developed the world thinnest electric wire. That is only three atoms wide. 

How carry out we use wires?

People usage wires come create numerous other products. Because that example, nuts and bolts are made from steel wire. Wire drawn to a particular diameter is then pressed right into the form of a bolt or screw. The reduced section is then threaded to produce a spiral. Nails are likewise made from cable sections that space flattened ~ above one end and sharpened in ~ the various other end. 

Assortment the nuts and also bolts (Source: Adam Smigielski via iStockphoto).

Drawn wires are also used to make usual items such as staples for document staplers. In this case, a really thin wire is passed through a square die, quite than a round one, to give the final shape. The is then cut, bent and also in some instances sharpened into the finished product. Paper clips are also made that wire formed into their standard shape.

Some etc strings are made of piece of steel wire. The wires are drawn to different diameters and also strengths. Banjos and also pianos likewise use wire. Other examples of steel assets manufactured from wire are shelving, fencing, welding wire and also syringe needles.

Close-up of electrical guitar strings. The diameter the the strings decreases native left to right (Source: georgeclerk via iStockphoto).

Did friend know? 

Wiretapping, or eavesdropping on exclusive conversations, has actually been used since the 1890s. Wiretapping it s okay its name from human being connecting listening gadgets onto the wires that bring sound. 

Some wires bring electricity. This wires are often made from copper or aluminum. Wires of various sizes carry different varieties and quantities of electricity. A wire’s gauge determines exactly how much electric present it can carry. Cables are groups of wires go together together. Wires that bring electricity space wrapped in an insulator, such together plastic. The insulation keeps civilization from getting shocked. It likewise makes sure the electricity flows to the best place.

High voltage strength lines space made of wire cables (Source: RuudMorijn via iStockphoto).

Wire is additionally used to make jewelry, such as earrings. Silver and gold wires are developed using a similar procedure as the one described above. However, they are often drawn by hand and created top top a smaller scale. 

These are just a couple of of the many ways the we usage wires. Following time you plugin your computer system or use a paperclip, think around all of the measures that walk into producing it. 

Let’s Talk science appreciates the work and also contributions the H.L Blachford Ltd. In the breakthrough of this Backgrounder.

H.L. Blachford Ltd. Logo

About H.L Blachford Ltd.

H.L Blachford Ltd was established in Montreal in 1921 by Henry Lloyd Blachford and has grown its operations to encompass manufacturing web page in the USA, Canada, and also the UK. Blachford manufactures stearate based products for a selection of industries consisting of rubber, tire, powdered metal, plastics, PVC, food, cable drawing and also metal working. Blachford is likewise a leading manufacturer that noise and also vibration regulate technology, hefty duty rubber mats and also headliners for the transportation and farming equipment industries.

Learn more


Learn an ext about the chemistry and different varieties of wires offered to conduct electrical power from the Edison technology Center. 

Why are metals an excellent conductors the heat and electricity?

Learn an ext about the chemical structure of metals and why they are good conductors from school Science.

Wires, cables, and WiFi

Learn an ext about how wires help the internet move details from khan Academy. 

The history of cable Manufacturing

Learn much more about the history of wire production in this video from cable Association International. 

Drawing line in Operation

See what wire drawing looks choose in this video clip of 9 Block Frigerio drawing in action from Bongard Machines.


Design Insider. (n.d.).What is a wire drawing facility?

Hanania, J., Heffernan, B., Donev, J., (2020, April 28).Wire.Energy Education, college of Calgary

Manufacturing.net. (2013, may 4).Application Overview: wire Drawing.

Wikipedia. (n.d.).

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Wire drawing.

Related Topics

Properties the Materials
Electricity Transmission
Electricity Use



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