in a high-temperature environment are FEP, extruded polytetrafluoroethylene, and silicone rubber. The
ambient (surrounding) temperature of a conductor is an important part of total conductor heating.
Copper-versus-Aluminum ConductorsThe two most common metals used for electrical
conductors are copper and aluminum. Some advantages of copper over aluminum as a conductor are that
copper has higher conductivity, is more ductile, has a higher tensile strength, and can be easily soldered.
Two advantages of aluminum wire for carrying electricity over long distances are its lightness and it
reduces corona (the discharge of electricity from a wire at high potential).
Temperature Coefficient of ResistanceThe temperature coefficient of resistance is the amount of
increase in the resistance of a 1-ohm sample of a conductor per degree of temperature rise above 0º C.
The resistance of copper and other pure metals increases with an increase in temperature.
Conductor InsulationInsulators have a resistance that is so great that, for all practical purposes,
they are nonconductors. Two fundamental properties of insulating materials are (1) insulation resistance
and (2) the resistance to current leakage through the insulation. Dielectric strength is the ability of the
insulation material to withstand potential difference. The dielectric strength of an insulator is determined
by raising the voltage on a test sample until it breaks down.
Insulating MaterialsSome common insulating materials have properties and safety precautions
that should be remembered. These are:
The purpose of coating a copper conductor with tin when rubber insulation is used is to prevent
the insulation from deteriorating due to chemical action.
When extruded polytetrafluoroethylene insulation is heated, caution should be observed not to
breathe the vapors.
The most commonly used insulating materials for extremely high-voltage conductors are
varnished cambric and oil-impregnated paper.
Magnet wire is the common name for enamel-insulated wire used in meters, relays, small
transformers, motor windings, and so forth.
The Navy is getting away from using asbestos insulation because asbestos fibers can cause lung
disease and/or cancer.
Asbestos insulation becomes a conductor when it gets wet.
Conductor ProtectionThere are several types of conductor protection in use. The type commonly
used aboard Navy ships is wire-braid armor.