Wire and Single Core Overview

What Is a Wire?

The term wire is often used interchangeably for different subsets, or types of wire, such as single core, which we will see later. The wire can be a single strand of metal, or it may be a number of strands together in a single insulated sleeve. Many different types of wire exist, and they can serve a number of different functions. In some cases, they might bear mechanical loads. They can send and receive telecommunications signals, and they can transfer electricity, which is one of the most common and well-known usages of wire.

Wires are available in different sizes and will come in solid, single core, stranded, and braided varieties. Most of the time, the wire has a circular diameter, but it is possible to create wire in different forms as well, such as square and hexagonal.


What Is Single Core?

Single core simply means that there is just a single piece of metal wire, typically copper or aluminum, and it generally has some insulation around it. The wire can be different gauges, or thicknesses. As the size of the wire increases, the flexibility will generally decrease.

Another term for this would be solid wire. These are helpful in certain situations, such as wiring breadboards. One of the reasons that some choose to use single core in certain applications is that the cost is lower than that of the braided and stranded wire. However, there is less flexibility with solid core, so it might not be the ideal choice for every application. One of the benefits of this type of wiring is that it tends to be more rugged and durable than the other types of wiring. Therefore, the solid single core wire could be a good solution for any locations where the environment or corrosion could cause damage to the wiring.


What Is the Difference Between Wire and Single Core?

Wire and single core could actually refer to the same thing based on the usage of the term wire. If there is just a single strand, then the wire would be single core. However, when many people refer to wire they consider the strands and braided wire rather than just a single strand, or single core wire.

Stranded wire, which people typically think of when considering wire, features a large number of small gauge wires wrapped in an insulator. It is more flexible than single core wire and these wires tend to be better conductors because they have a greater surface area given the larger number of wires, even though each of the individual wires happen to be smaller. They are common in a number of different types of applications. They are in many line cords for appliances, control cables, musical instrument cables, and more.

When wire has more strands in a single stranded bundle, it offers more flexibility and durability. The wire is stronger and the quality improves, but the cost of the wire also increases. The smallest number of strands in a wire is seven, with one in the middle and six wires surrounding it. The wires can become very large when used for different applications.


What Types of Wire Exist?

Today, many different types of wires are readily available on the market to help with many different applications and projects. The following are the most common types of wires available, and each has specific uses. Always make sure you are getting the best wire for the job, whatever it might be.


  • What Is Automotive Wire? – Two main types of automotive wire are available – cross-linked and PVC. The Cross-linked wire is capable of dealing with far higher temperatures than the PVC wire. When choosing automotive wiring, it is important to choose wire that has plenty of strength, can handle the temperatures within the vehicle, and that can resist the damaging effects of automotive fluids, such as fuel, oil, and brake fluid. Before choosing the wiring, it is also important to make sure it is the right type of wire for the application. Never use the wrong wire just because it might be a bit cheaper, as it can be dangerous and lead to fire. This is true with automotive wire, but it is true with any type of wiring. Always use the right wire for the job.
  • What Is Braided Wire? – Braided wire and stranded wire are very similar. They have a number of small strands of wire actually braided together and then enclosed in an insulated sleeve. Just as the stranded wires are good conductors, the braided wires tend to conduct electricity better than single core wires as well. They are also quite durable. Many use the braided wires as cables for noise reduction and electromagnetic shields.
  • What Is Harsh Environment Wire? – As the name would suggest, harsh environment wire is useful for environments where there is a danger of high temperatures and chemicals that would damage most wires. Harsh environment wire can stand up to oils, ultraviolet light, and some acids and alkalis. It is important to remember that not all types of harsh environment wiring have the same operating temperature and ability to stand up to different environmental situations. It is therefore always important to know what type of wire you are buying and to double check to make sure it will work for your needs.
  • What Is Hookup and Equipment Wire? – Hookup and equipment wire is generally single insulated conductor wire that is useful for applications that have low voltage and low current. Most of the time, you will find this in internal computer wiring, consumer electronic equipment, appliances, control panels, and in some areas of vehicles. Generally, this type of wire will be in use enclosed in electronic equipment. Many different types of wire are available with various voltage and current ratings. Always make sure you are choosing the right option for your particular project. Some wiring, for example, is better for conditions where there may be distortion or vibration than other wires will be.
  • What Is Lead Test Wire? – Lead test wire is the wire that connects to the power source. When choosing the wire for a project, it is important to consider the type of wire, the wire insulation it offers, and the stranding. Most of the time, the lead test wire will have stranded copper wire within an insulating jacket of silicone or PVC. High strand counts are generally going to be a better option for your lead test wire.
  • What Is Thermocouple Wire? – Thermocouple wire is wire used within a thermocouple from the sensor point to the CJC end point where they measure the signal. The thermocouple measures temperature. This type of wire will have a quality PVC insulation, as it may need to operate in high temperatures. The wires also tend to be very flexible. When choosing the thermocouple wire, make sure you check to see what temperature resistance they can offer. For example, silicone generally has a higher resistance, and it might be the better choice for high heat applications.
  • What Is Extension Wire? – Extension wire can have either a silicone or a PVC coating, and they will generally have a round shape. Some types of extension wire will work with thermocouples. It is important to make sure that the characteristics of the extension wire is similar to the characteristics of the thermocouple so they can work well together. The wire is available in many different colors, and you can find those that will work with single and double elements.
  • What Is Copper Wire? – Copper wire is easily the most popular metal within wiring today, and there are both single core and stranded varieties available. Copper has been used in electric wiring since the early 1800s, and the demand for copper grew even more near the end of the 1800s when they used it as a conductor for telephones. Today, copper wiring comes in many different types and forms, and it is in use for power generation and transmission, power distribution, electronic circuitry, telecommunications, and more. Most of the wiring in buildings actually uses copper wiring.


People continue to use copper wire because it is one of the best and most affordable options for the job. It is highly conductive, very strong and durable, and resistant to corrosion. It is also easy to install, and is available in solid core and stranded varieties, as well as larger cables. When it comes to the stranded wire, it is very flexible, but provides more ruggedness and durability as a single core wire.


  • What Is High Temperature Wire? – Most of the time, you will find the high temperature wire in places where there is high heat, naturally. These places can include ovens, car motors, equipment motors, and even high intensity lights. In many cases, the cable features copper with a nickel coating, although it might include pure nickel in some cases. This is generally more expensive though. Because the temperatures are higher, there is a greater need for an insulator that can stand up to the heat. Some of the common materials for these include ceramic fiber or fiberglass.


What Is a Single Control Cable?

Single core wiring cables are generally best suited for fixed installations, although they can also work well for the internal wiring of certain types of devices. Depending on the size of the copper, the voltage will naturally be different, as will the temperature range in which it can operate. As with all wire purchases, be sure it works for your project before buying.


  • What Is Switchgear? – A switchgear cable is an electrical cable used in switchgear systems that isolate electrical equipment. This is something of a catchall term though, as it can refer to many different types of cables that can perform the job, such as the tri-rated cable. Different types of switchgear systems will require different types of cables. For example, high voltage systems are outside and will need to have cables that can stand up to the elements. Low voltage systems are inside buildings, and will require other wires. The switchgear system is equipment that helps to protect the power system from load conditions that might be too high, as well as fault conditions in the system.
  • What Is Tri-Rated Cable? – Tri-Rated cable is a type of single core cable that is flame retardant and features high quality insulation. They are high temperature cables that can work in high heat environments continuously. Another term sometimes used for tri-rated cable is panel cable. The cable comes in a variety of different colors. The cable should have a rating of 300/500V.
  • What Is Considered Conduit Cable? – Conduit cables feature thicker, harder, and tougher outer coatings for insulation and protection. This outer coating is known as the conduit tubing. They are helpful for larger wires and actual cables that need to have the additional protection. Some of the conduit cabling even has a slit along the middle that makes it possible to slip onto and off the cable, or raceway, easily. Permanent coverings are available as well.
  • What Is Considered Trunking Cable? – In the telecommunications field, the trunking cables refer to the cables that go through the exchange building that links the selectors. More often, it refers to a system of enclosures for cabling that features a base and a removable cover. The “trunking” is the cover portion that contains the cables, cords, insulated conductors, and more.


These are some of the most common types of wires available today. Different wires listed here help with a wide range of different types of projects that are commercial, industrial, and even personal. Knowing what types of wires to use in different situations, and knowing the proper safety protocols for the wiring, is highly important. Always make sure to understand the limits and the capacities of what the wires can handle so you can keep safe from any potential accidents or injuries that could occur.