What is Magnet Wire?
The term "magnet wire" is used to describe solid conductor wire (usually copper), insulated with a polymer based film. The films are designed to provide a uniform dielectric coating while taking up as little space as possible.
In selecting & specifiying a magnet wire, there are several areas of concern:
1. Size or Diameter
2. Insulation Thermal Class
3. Insulation Build or Thickness
4. Additional Characteristics such as color or addition of bondable coating
Although copper is the primary conductor material due to its superior conductivity & relatively low cost, other metals & alloys may be utilized.
There are a variety of film insulations available for magnet wire offering different characteristics. The primary classification factor for magnet wire is "Thermal Class." Thermal class is the recommended maximum continuous operating temperature for the insulation. Standard thermal classes range from 105 degrees Celsius up to 220 degrees Celsius.
Insulation "build" refers to the thickness or the amount of insulation applied. The industry standard builds are as follows:
HEAVY (Sometimes called "double")
QUAD OR QUADRUPLE
Note: SINGLE & HEAVY are the most common.
NEMA (National Electrical Mfrs Association) publishes a set of standards for magnet wire (NEMA MW 1000) which includes dimensional values for the various sizes & builds. Our *WireTronic Wire Info Software* has a dimensional data section based on the NEMA standards.
Guide to Insulation Callouts:
Thermal Class 105 C, NEMA MW 2-C,15-C Polyurethane (solderable @ 360 C, standard color is RED)
Formvar (Cryogenic use, oil filled transformers, superior abrasion resistance, non-solderable)
Thermal Class 130 C / 155 C, NEMA MW 28-C, 80-C
Polyurethanes, Polyurethane-Nylons (Solderable, available in largest variety of colors)
Thermal Class 180 C, NEMA MW 30-C, 77-C
(solders @ 450C)
Note: Addition of Nylon overcoat to above qualifies to NEMA MW 76-C, 78-C
Thermal Class 200 C
Polyester Amide-Imide, NEMA MW 35-C
*Teflon (tm) film, No NEMA spec
Thermal Class 240 C, NEMA MW 16-C
Other common names:
*Kapton (tm) Film
*Teflon, Pyre ML, and Kapton are all registered trademarks of DUPONT CORP.
Bondable Magnet Wire:
Bondable magnet wire is the combination of conventional film insulated magnet wire with the addition of a thermoplastic adhesive coating.
The main advantage in manufacturing is the ability to construct free-standing coils (coils without bobbins). The adhesive coatings are designed to be activated by heat (such as when baking in an oven) or solvents. Sometimes a combination of heat & solvent works best depending upon the specific application.
Polyvinyl Butyral 105 C
Heat Activation: 120 - 140 C
Solvent: Alcohol (Isopropyl)
Epoxy 130 C
Heat Activation: 130 - 150 C
Solvent: Acetone or Methyl Ethyl Keytone (MEK)
Polyester 130 C
Heat Activation: 130 - 150 C
Solvent: Methyl Ethyl Keytone (MEK)
Modified Polyester 155 C
Heat Activation: 220 - 260 C
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