You’re probably familiar with the Statue of Liberty’s pleasant, sea green color. While that seafoam green has become an endearing artistic calling card of that artistic fixture when she was new she was the color of a penny. Shiny, bright, and copper-clad – the same color as a penny or of marine electrical wire.
The Statue of Liberty’s color changed due to oxidation that occurred due to contact with the elements, which is the exact same thing that will happen to copper electrical wire and cable when they are exposed. The problem is that electrical wire and cable are not pieces of art whereas statuary is. If copper wire tires turn green their conductivity will be severely adversely affected.
Oxidized copper wire is actually a very poor, very inefficient conductor of electricity, and since vessels and other electrical infrastructure that uses them rely on them to keep the lights on the navigational equipment operational, it’s critical to protect marine grade battery cable safe from oxidation by any means possible. This is the main reason that marine battery wire’s copper-stranded conductors are individually tinned.
Saltwater Corrosion and Marine Battery Wire
It’s no secret that the sea and salt air accelerate and exacerbate corrosion in electrical wiring. Exposed copper doesn’t last very long in these types of environments; although it will oxidize when exposed to air regardless, exposing it to the sea air can have devastating effects in just a short window of time.
For most types of electrical wire and cable, their synthetic insulation alone can help them resist corrosion, but marine wire has another layer of protection that makes it even better equipped to contend with harsh marine environments: boat wiring is typically made of individually tinned copper conductors, which makes them appear silvery.
The tin-plated conductors are vital to preserving marine battery wire against corrosion because not every facet of marine wiring’s surface can be protected by insulation. In particular, the wire must be exposed at the ends of leads to make connections to battery terminals; it is at these areas that wiring is at its weakest, but marine grade wiring bears the corrosion-bucking advantage of tin plating, regardless of gauge size.
There is another trait of marine battery wire that makes the individual tin plating necessary to protect against corrosion. Because they are subjected to a wide range of mechanical stresses and must be able to make tight twists and turns within the cramped confines of a vessel, marine electrical wire is made of very thin conductors. This makes them more flexible, but it also means they would probably corrode through more easily if they weren’t afforded additional protection against corrosion.
Contact EWCS Wire
Looking to learn more about the traits that define quality in marine battery wire and cable? Are you simply looking for quality at a decent price? EWCS Wire, the Electrical Wire and Cable Specialists, can provide you with both at EWCSWire.com. Contact them today at 800-262-1598 to learn more.