Safety at work is always the top priority, as any industrial contractor will confirm. Correctly grounding electrical equipment is crucial because it can avoid catastrophic injuries or even fatalities and potential damage to equipment or property. For grounding purposes, contractors may use either bare or insulated wire. But Why Use Bare Copper Wire For Grounding?
Why Use Bare Copper Wire For Grounding?
Bare copper conductors are used below grade to increase the “leakage current” capacity and the grounding system’s sphere of influence.
What Is Grounding?
Power surges, broken equipment, and even lightning strikes can result in excessive electricity charges. Equipment is connected to the earth by grounding cables. The easiest route is taken by electricity.
Instead of passing through potential surrounding equipment (or people!), surplus electricity, in the case of a short circuit or power surge, safely goes through the ground wire to the earth.
Thus, grounding aids in reducing the risk of severe accidents, equipment damage, and probable fires.
Various grounding methods are frequently employed in industrial applications, depending on the equipment and power source (such as a utility service, generator, or transformer). But they all employ grounding wire in some capacity.
Two Types Of Grounding Wire With Comparable Functions
The grounding wire is typically constructed of copper and is offered in various gauges by most producers.
The insulation for insulated versions is often made of high molecular weight polyethene (HMWPE) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and is available in green, green/yellow, or black.
While both have advantages, it’s crucial to remember that the grounding function is the same whether the version is naked or insulated.
Insulated Grounding Wire’s Benefits
Over bare grounding wire, insulated grounding wire has several useful advantages, such as:
- They were marking and identifying. Insulated grounding wire comes in various hues, and some copper wire producers, such Kris-Tech, even provide bespoke hues, striping, and even jacket printing.
- Colors coding and labeling can streamline the termination process and wire identification, cutting down on labor expenses and working hours.
- Employ in conduits. Insulated wire is also beneficial since grounding wire is frequently pulled through conduits.
- Pulling the wire through conduits is significantly simpler due to the insulation’s slippery quality, especially if the pipe has turns or bends.
- Open busbar settings. A busbar is a metal strip utilized in switchgear and panel boards to distribute high-current power.
- The insulated grounding wire is utilized to avoid accidental contact between the grounding wire and the busbar, as is often the case with uninsulated busbars.
- Theft defense. The theft of copper wire is a frequent and expensive crime.
- The Missouri Department of Transportation stated in 2019 that it costs over $1 million yearly to fix street lights damaged by copper wire theft. The insulated copper grounding wire is a considerably less desirable theft target and is harder for thieves to “process.
Savings That Could Be Made With Bare Grounding Wire
There are several industrial applications for bare copper grounding wire, which is less expensive than insulated grounding wire.
Using bare copper could significantly reduce costs, especially for big projects. Bare grounding wire may occasionally require less effort because it doesn’t have to be stripped before termination.
Making An Informed Decision
How should you decide whether to use bare or insulated grounding wire for your application? Either will typically fulfill the role of technical grounding.
But reading your local codebook should be the first thing you do. Local building codes frequently specify which grounding wire should be used.
But occasionally, the coding can be murky. When in doubt, it’s advisable to consult with local inspectors or officials who can assist you in understanding the code and determining the appropriate grounding wire type for your project.
Securing this authorization before installation will guarantee an official seal of approval and completely rule out “rip and replace.”
Difference Between Bare Copper Wire And Green Wire
Pure copper is what bare copper wire is made of. On the other hand, green wire is formed of copper that has a tiny layer of green insulation on top of it.
Due to its superior electrical conductivity, bare copper wire is frequently utilized in electrical applications. Although more effective than bare copper wire, green wire is a good conductor of electricity.
Because green wire has an additional layer of insulation, bare copper wire is usually less expensive. However, the green wire is less difficult to create than bare copper wire, so it could occasionally be less expensive.
In electrical applications requiring high conductivity, bare copper wire is frequently utilized. Although green wire is also utilized in electrical applications because of its lower conductivity, it is more frequently used in data and communications applications.
Depending on your particular demands and requirements, you should always use bare copper wire for grounding projects. Although each type of wire has advantages and limitations, they both perform crucial functions to guarantee the success and safety of your wiring projects.
Electricians should take their time while choosing the appropriate type of wire for their project to ensure that their wiring job is done correctly and safely. That’s all I have on Why Use Bare Copper Wire For Grounding?
People Also Ask
Why is ground made of bare copper?
The most popular type of copper wire is bare copper, frequently called “grounding wire.” Although it lacks any protective coating, bare copper has the best conductivity qualities due to the absence of insulation.
How come ground wires are bare?
Most of the time, the ground line is a bare copper wire. It isn’t insulated, although, in some circumstances, green insulation is placed on top of it. Electricity will choose to go along this wire since it is simpler and can return quicker because it offers a very low resistance path that leads right back to the source.
Is bare ground wire required?
Contractors can use either bare or insulated wire for grounding.
What purpose does bare copper cable serve?
A single strand of copper wire that is uncoated is referred to as “bare copper wire.” It can be used as a single wire in ground conductors, hook-up wiring, and jumper cables and is made up of 99.99 percent pure copper. Additionally, multi-strand solid and stranded copper conductors employ bare copper.