How to Choose Galvanized Wire by Gauges? | Vulcan Wire  
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How to Choose Galvanized Wire by Gauges?

How to Choose Galvanized Wire by Gauges?

People often get tangled in the nuances when considering the myriad factors for the right wire gauge sizes. One aspect that stands out and requires special attention is the wire gauge. It’s not just about thickness but understanding its relevance in various applications.

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Understanding The Origins of Wire Gauge

Wire gauge size, at its core, is the measurement of a wire’s thickness. The concept traces back to a unique method where steel was drawn through a set of dies that decreased in diameter. 

If we took a 14-gauge wire as an example, it would be pulled through 14 progressively smaller dies to achieve its thickness. However, the modern era sees precision instruments ensuring strict gauge standards, maintaining the consistency of the measurement.

Galvanization – a process where a protective zinc coating is applied to the wire to prevent rusting – is also used and ensures the wire’s longevity, especially in outdoor applications, making galvanized wire a favored choice for projects exposed to harsh weather elements.

Counterintuitive Numbering

It’s easy to get confused here. Wire gauge sizes follow the following pattern: A larger gauge number implies a thinner wire. Why? It’s all about the number of times a wire was drawn through dies during its manufacture. A 20-gauge wire, thinner than its 9-gauge counterpart, has undergone more “draws” or passes through the dies. 

This inverse relationship is crucial to remember when choosing the appropriate wire for your needs.

The Significance of Wire Gauge

Choosing the wrong wire gauge can have ramifications, from reduced efficiency to safety concerns. The gauge directly impacts a wire’s strength and conductivity. For instance:

Strength

A thicker wire (lower gauges) will generally withstand more physical stress. So, for robust applications like fencing for larger animals, a 9 to 12.5-gauge wire would be more apt, while more delicate tasks might employ a 16-gauge wire.

Conductivity

The gauge also influences electrical conductivity. A thinner wire tends to have more resistance and can heat up faster than a thicker wire when electricity flows through it.

Variety in Gauges

Galvanized wire doesn’t escape the gauge conundrum. Remember our friends Brown and Sharpe? Their standardized formula from 1855 still stands today, primarily in North America, guiding the wire gauge sizes from 1 to 40.

Low Carbon vs. High Tensile

The carbon content in a wire has a direct impact on its flexibility and strength. With approximately 0.10% carbon, low-carbon wire is more malleable but more prone to stretching. In contrast, high tensile wire, with a carbon content of about 0.28%, offers more strength and resistance to stretching, though it can be a tad trickier to work with.

Applications

There are a many uses for wires of various gauges with applications that run vast and wide. The recycling industry is a big user of baling wire for its strength. 

  • – Thinner baling wire or bale-ties use 14 and 13-gauge for hand tying retail OCC bales.
  • – Thicker baling wire at 12 to 10-gauge are mostly used for auto-tie balers that require a larger diameter as bale weights and density are much higher. These large balers can handle all materials including plastics, scrap metal, foam, and textiles.
  • – In construction, they can use various types of wire for binding equipment during transport, and hanging ceiling grids.
  • – Other industries include chain link fence and wire grids,
  • – Artisans who use wires in jewelry making,
  • – Gardeners employ galvanized wire to support growing plants.
  • – They’re pivotal in packaging, crafting animal cages, and even for creative endeavors like hanging paintings or crafting sculptures.

Making an Informed Choice About Wire Gauge

After diving deep into the intricacies of wire gauge and its historical, technical, and practical applications, it becomes evident that understanding wire gauge is paramount in choosing the right wire for a specific purpose. 

The thickness or gauge of a wire plays a pivotal role in determining its strength, conductivity, and suitability for a task.

So, what gauge should you generally opt for? While specific needs can vary, here’s a guideline:

  • – Robust Applications: If you’re looking at applications that demand higher tensile strength, like baling plastics, fencing for large animals or heavy-duty binding, lean towards a lower gauge wire, say between 9 to 12.5-gauge.
  • – Delicate Tasks: For tasks that require more flexibility and less tensile strength, such as crafting or gardening supports, a higher gauge, like 16-gauge, could be more suitable.
  • – Electrical Needs: If conductivity is your primary concern, remember that thinner wires have higher resistance. Depending on the electrical current and application, choose the gauge that provides optimum conductivity without overheating.
  • – General Purpose: For versatile applications not confined to any specific category, a mid-range gauge like 14-gauge offers a balance of strength and flexibility.

Lastly, always prioritize quality and longevity. Galvanized wire, for instance, due to its protective zinc coating, is excellent for outdoor applications as it resists rusting.

What is Galvanized Wire?

Galvanized wire is a form of wire that has been coated with a zinc layer to protect it from corrosion. Galvanization involves immersing the wire in molten zinc or adding a zinc-rich coating using various procedures such as electroplating or hot-dip galvanizing. The zinc coating functions as a barrier between the wire and its surroundings, limiting direct contact with moisture, oxygen, and other corrosive factors that can cause rust and degradation.

Let Vulcan Wire Help You Find the Right Galvanized Wire 

When in doubt, trust the experts. For over 40 years, Vulcan Wire has epitomized excellence in the steel industry, providing unmatched product quality, expertise, and Red Carpet Service. As one of North America’s largest distributors of baling wire products, we pride ourselves on timely deliveries facilitated by our expansive carrier network. 

Whether you’re a recycler, grocer, distributor, or part of the many industries we serve, trust in Vulcan’s legacy of integrity and unparalleled service. Founded in the U.S. by the visionary Alice Combs, our commitment remains unwavering: to deliver excellence every time, right when and where you need it.
Get in touch today, and we’ll find a custom solution based on your unique needs!

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In the 1970’s Alice rose from a divorced mother on Food Stamps to a successful entrepreneur. After an employer stated, “you’re not corporate material,” my initial ignorance, and business mistakes, I founded a now healthy $10 million annual sales corporation.

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