Frequently Asked Questions
Wire size SWG or AWG gauge or Square - which size do I need?
Wire sizes are based on traditional imperial size draw ratios or `Gauges’ developed in the 19th century. As a result of wire development on different continents, the modern wire industry uses TWO wire gauge tables; either
- AWG = American Wire Gauge ( Brown & Sharpe Gauge 1855) or
- SWG = Standard wire gauge ( British Standard wire gauge)
Although there are some similarities between these two tables, many wire gauges have different diameters. For example: a 12 g SWG=2.63mm , yet 12g AWG=2.05mm diameter wire.
To add to the confusion!!
SQUARE: Wire used in the electrical industry is typically supplied as Cable or multi stranded wire made up of a number of individual strands of wire. Cable is sized by its CROSS SECTIONAL AREA also commonly called SQUARE, as in square mm. For example a 6mm² or 6mm square single wire has a diameter of 2.77mm.
Metal Gauges: Wire gauge tables should NOT be confused with Gauges used to identify thickness of sheet metal. Sheet metal gauges ( now considered archaic) are based on weight per area ratios and are not interchangeable nor have any correlation with wire gauge tables.
To avoid confusion all wire should be referenced in wire diameter either metric(mm) or imperial (thousands of inch).
Before ordering your wire ensure you have referenced the correct Gauge table AWG or SWG for your specification and provide us with either an imperial or metric wire diameter conversion.
See wire gauge tables for your selection.
What is difference between Soft Annealed and Hard drawn wire?
When wire is drawn down through the drawing dies to finished size it progressively work hardens to an eventual hard drawn state. Annealing is a process of heat treating the finished hard drawn wire, changing its grain structure to return it to a relaxed state. Hence the wire becomes `soft annealed’ and is designated a temper H0.
As a general guide for users;
- Annealed wire is easily bent into shapes and can be readily wrapped around a pencil into a spiral. Annealed wire is sold in either coils or on cable spools as it easily winds.
- Hard drawn wire resembles fencing wire and feels similar to a steel wire coat hanger and requires some effort to bend depending upon its thickness. Hard drawn wire is supplied in larger diameter coils or catch weight coils.
Badger Wire carries most of its stock wire in the Annealed state.
What is wire temper? I require a custom temper and strength?
Tempering of wire is a process of part drawing and part annealing to achieve a desired strength, elongation and hardness. This is a `made to order’ process and request for specialty tempers are subject to Minimum Order Quantities to set up machines. Typical tempers include wire that is ¼ hard, ½ hard , ¾ hard , Hard drawn or spring hard.
Badger wire has developed proprietary processes through a combination of drawing methods and heat treatment to manufacture the full range of tempers for each wire grade. Customers are asked to specify the mechanical properties and the relevant Standard you wish your wire manufactured to and our metallurgist will advise what properties can be achieved with the available grades of wire we have on hand.
Surface contaminants on the Aluminium and copper wire
All our wire is supplied in bare finish and contains some surface mill oil/lubricant from our drawing processes. Some products require use of heavy lubricants which can leave a film on the wire. Some customers prefer this to remain as it lubricates their manufacturing process, while other clients require a clean finish. Please advise us if you have specific surface finishes so that we can adjust our production methods.
Copper and brass wire can be hand cleaned using household solvents. Industrial cleaning can be achieved using a trichloroethylene bath or vapour degreasing.
Aluminium wire can be cleaned using a hot water/ caustic bath.
All annealed wire is typically clean of lubricant as it is removed in the annealing processes.
If your requirement is for a high quality clean finish, Eg: Food grade finish see Services - Surface Cleaning/Oiling
Does Corrosion occur on copper and aluminium wire
Non ferrous wire does not rust like steel wire.
However, Copper wire will tarnish with exposure to air and it is recommended that an inhibitor coating is used to maintain the bright lustre. Tarnish on copper can be removed through mild acid dipping but this will also remove the bright lustre and leave a dull surface.
Brass wire will blacken over time and similarly an inhibitor is recommended to maintain the yellow colour. Brass can be easily be cleaned using commercial 'brite' dips which will return it to a bright yellow colour.
Aluminium wire does not corrode but will form a 'white rust' and pitted surface when exposed to corrosive environments such as salt air. Aluminium wire can be restored by caustic treatments.
Badger Wire has a fully equipped testing laboratory and undertakes in house process testing to verify batch quality. If you require product certification please specify this at time of order to ensure the relevant testing and certification is carried out.
Mill certificates are also available showing batch assays from the source rod.