Why Use Tinned Copper Wire?
Written June 2019 | Tony Holderby, Regional Sales Manager at Service Wire Company
The sole purpose of electrical wire and cable is to conduct an electric current from one point to another, but if the cable starts to corrode, it can quickly become damaged and result in loss of performance. While bare copper is fairly resistant to corrosion, tinned copper conductors prevent accelerated corrosion against wet and contaminated environments.
Protection Against Copper Corrosion
Tinned copper is primarily used for protection against oxidation and corrosion. In climates where copper has long-term exposure to water, the oxygen will combine with the metal and form copper oxide, weakening the bonds of the metal. It is worse if the wire is in contact with salt water. As more of this oxide forms, it weakens the integrity of the copper making it brittle and crumbly, a process known as corrosion. Corrosive copper wire is less efficient at moving electricity and can cause safety hazards.
By coating bare copper with a thin layer of tin, it can strengthen the copper’s natural properties, giving it extra protection against water, weather, and exposure to other corrosive elements while maintaining the same conductivity. Tinned copper wire is also easier to solder to connections as tin is a key element in soldering, ensuring all parts of the wire are protected against corrosion.
Tinned Copper Applications
Tinned copper wire is particularly useful in wastewater treatment facilities, underground subway systems, and projects exposed to excess oil, gas, or water. Tinned bare copper is frequently used in utility projects in the Northeast and environments exposed to excess sodium-chloride salts (seawater).
When considering bare or tinned copper, the environment should be a determining factor in the wire selection process. Tinned copper can extend the life of your cable, but it isn’t easily retrofitted in all projects. Thinking ahead and planning for potentially corrosive environments can prevent total replacement jobs in the future.
Tinned copper conductors are primarily used in wastewater treatment facilities, subway systems, and other contaminated environments susceptible to long-term exposure to exccess water. The tin coating on the copper protects the wire from corrosion and premature cable failure.
Benefits of Tinned Copper:
- Protects Against Corrosion
- Extends the Life of the Cable
- Easy to Solder
- Same Conductivity as Bare Copper
Service Wire offers solid or stranded tinned conductors in a variety of products, including:
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