A building wire or a building cable is a construction material used in almost every commercial or private building across the globe. In a layman’s language, it is the branch circuit wiring cable. Aluminum is one of the most eminent construction materials. Aluminum is preferred for a number of reasons and that’s what this article is about. In this post I will expound on what aluminum building wire is, how it’s made? And what makes it special over other building wires?

Construction of the wire

Most aluminum building wires are stranded; twisted like a rope, this helps achieve the desired structural attributes and phases required. If it were not stranded, it would be much weaker and would probably fail when bent a couple of times as often done in construction sites. Occasionally, where structural rigidity is not necessary, the un-stranded aluminum wire could be used, this could be to give an aesthetic value or to damp charges.

Features of Aluminum Building Wire

The building wire has to components:

  • A stranded aluminum electrode
  • A polyethylene Insulation of USE-2 or XHHW

The electrode

The aluminum commonly used in making this building wire is the AA-8000 series aluminum alloy, in accordance to NEC 310.14. The AA-8000 aluminum series has a high strength to weight ratio with a slightly large diameter as compared to copper made electrode of the same capacity.

Aluminum made electrode is lighter than copper made electrode and it weighs half of it. The light nature of aluminum make it easy to be carried during installation with less fatigue. Aluminum is also malleable, a property that makes it suitable for use in making this building wire because the product should be flexible enough to withstand bending and twisting without breaking. Moreover, its gives an effective electric conductivity permitting the electric current to flow smoothly with minimal resistance.

A polyethylene Insulation of USE-2 or XHHW    

As far as safety is concerned, electric transmitting wire should be insulated to prevent direct contact which can cause electric shock. Electric currents are very dangerous and can get you electrocuted when you touch the unprotected wire. Insulation also protects the aluminum building wire from damages that may be as a result of; abrasion, cutting, corrosive chemicals alongside the strong sunlight rays.

There are many ways for insulating a building cable I.e. the XHHW-2 manufactured to safeguard the aluminum building wire, the cross-linked polyethylene insulator has a rating of 90degrees temperature operation in both dry and wet conditions. The polyethylene insulation on the other hand is made of polyvinyl chloride, which is non-biodegradable thus do not rot. This aspect make the wire to last longer.

Applications of the Aluminum building wire

The Aluminum Building Wire is used in the wiring of power grids including the overhead power distribution as well as in mechatronic wiring in some airplanes. These are just but a few places where this building cable can be put to task thanks to its unique features.

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