When To Use Stranded Cable Vs Solid Cable

When To Use Stranded Cable Vs Solid Cable

If you are confused as to whether you should make use of stranded cable or solid cable, you aren’t alone. A lot of people struggle with deciding which one to choose between these two cable types. To assist you in picking the best cabling network for a specific application, we would take a detailed look into these two cables, alongside the use of each of them. 

Stranded Cable

The stranded cable comprises multiple thin strands of small-gauge conductive wires, twisted together to form a thick wire. The small gauge wire is usually copper. The thick wire formed is encased with PVC insulation to build a lightweight, flexible cable. 

Solid Cable 

Also known as non-stranded network cabling, the solid cable is built with solid insulated multiple single-strand conductor wires. Generally, every one of the solid wire strands is built from copper or any other similar conductive metals. These solid wires sheathed individually are joined together and confined into a PVC outer jacket, forming a semi-rigid cable. 

When To Use Stranded Cable

Stranded cables are ideal for those who need cabling for intricate uses, including electronic devices and circuit boards. This is because they remain protected and intact even when bent or twisted when connecting electrical devices. 

They are suitable for usage in applications where a short run of cable is required, mostly if the cable will be flexed or bent repeatedly, such as cables and patch cords.

When To Use Solid Cable

Solid cables are ideal for those who use heavy-duty or outdoor applications, as they might be exposed or subjected to harsh weather conditions, erratic movements, and corrosive particles. For this type of situation, the solid cable is recommended.

They are ideal for use in an application that involves long runs through ceilings, floors, and walls, as its superior signal handling minimizes the risk of signal deterioration, and its semi-rigid feature makes it easier to pull through buildings. Cables that are solid are cat5e plenum cables for example. They have solid cores and are constructed to be ran over longer distances.

The Significant Differences Between Stranded Cables And Solid Cables 

While both stranded cable and solid cable serves the same purpose, below, we will look at the differences between these two:

Signal Capacity 

While each cables’ signal handling capacity differs according to the user specification of the material, generally, solid cables provide a more powerful signal distribution compared to stranded cables, mostly in an application where long network cable lengths are being used. 

Brittleness

Solid cables are somehow brittle and can snap if exposed to reoccurring manipulations, such as either installing connectors or removing them. This is due to the fact that the individual wires in a solid cable are built with a single continuous wire. On the other hand, stranded cables are less expected to snap when bent and flexed during disconnection and connection. 

Durability

Solid cables can withstand being pulled through wall jacks and walls, while stranded cables are more probable to distort and shred. 

Flexibility

Solid cables are relatively rigid and can stand up to bending, while stranded cables bend easily and are pliable.

The Advantages Of Stranded Cables 

Unlike solid cables, stranded cables are easier to route. Due to their extremely flexible features, they can resist a significant amount of flexing and vibration without breaking and fatiguing. To this effect, you won’t always have to replace them as frequently as with the solid cables. Stranded conductors are often found in patch cables. They are created to be ran for shorter distances. Usually from a router to computer.

Disadvantages Of Stranded Cables 

These cables are far from perfection. They offer a comparable carrying capability as solid cables upon having a quite larger diameter. Also, they are more costly than solid cables, as their cost of production is relatively higher. They have a high cost due to the intricate production process that is needed to manufacture complex wires. Furthermore, they are more likely to lose momentum due to corrosion from capillary actions.

The Advantages Of Solid Cables 

Solid cables are demanded most times because, unlike the stranded cables, they are cost-effective and more affordable. This is because of their cheaper cost of production. They are more durable and quite simple. As thick single strands of cables, they are effortless to produce and more resistant to threats. Compared to stranded cables, they have a more compact diameter. Upon the reduced size of the solid cables, it doesn’t reduce the current carrying capacity.

Disadvantages Of Solid Cables

Although solid cables have a lot of significant properties, they also have little demerits. One of the major issues associated with solid cables is that they are only sold in small gauges. However, if there is continuous vibrations or flexings, the cables will break and wear down eventually. Therefore, solid cables are not suitable for applications such as vehicles or robotics that require a good number of movements.

Conclusion

The universal rule in choosing the appropriate cabling network is that constructions require the durability and rigidity of solid cables, while applications involving multiple re-wiring and re-routing of networking cables are suitable for stranded cables.

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