Comparing Shields to Shields: Flat Wire Braid VS Round Wire Braid

by | Jan 10, 2022

Comparing Shields to Shields

Flat Wire Braid VS Round Wire Braid

In today’s segment we focus on two goods that to the eye and when filled, look quite identical yet they don’t yield identical results. At times, some might confuse one with the other; but although both are made up of metal, are looped over a cable or wire’s components and maintain the cable or wire’s inside structure in place, they serve different functions and are meant for different applications. Now, what are those functions and what applications do they serve? 

The Basics of Braided Wires 

Wire braids are shields that enclose and go over a wire/cable made up of many tiny wire strands intertwined collectively. In many cases braided wire conductors are the go-to option due to the malleable nature they possess and the ease of staying unified when bent. Very frequently, copper metal is the chosen conductor type but has been seen to be left as bare copper or can also be coated to specific application use. 

Image to display braided wire process
Image to display Tinned copper wire braid

Tinned copper is the most utilized and chosen shield material due to the superior conduction level, resistance against weathering and ease to weld. Though other alternatives include copper that have been silver or nickel layered/plated. To create braided wire shields, many thin and malleable wire strands must be spined onto spools quickly in a spiral manner braiding the wire simultaneously and molding it into the malleable and robust braid. Because of its versatility, wire braids are used in variety of sectors, including the aeronautical and mining industry. 

The number of carriers in the braiding device is what determines the wire gauge that will be used. The braiding machine usually comes with a carrier that clasps onto the spool with wire, maintaining tightness despite broken wire and making up for variations in lengths. Only one braiding device is capable of having 16, 24 or 48 carriers where every carrier paired with a spool that can contain up to 16 threads of wire normally but has the option of more, depending on the braiding device. 

Image to display Wire Braid Shielding

The threedigit i.d. scheme may be utilized to calculate the amount of wires for every carrier, as well as how many carriers, while examining the manufacturing information on the braid requirements. The initial digit refers to the amount of carriers, while the secondary digit refers to the amount of wires for every carrier, and the last digit refers to wire size of every particular wire listed in millimeter. For example, 24-6-15 would mean that it has 24 carriers, 6 wire for every carrier and gauge 15 wires. 

Image to display Round Wire Braid

Rounded Wire Braid 

Throughout many applications in the industrial sector, and for many years, most wire and cables have come with rounded shapes. Hence, circular braids are made to fit as much space as possible into the shortest merging area possible. This would permit spherical wires and cables to go through the majority of boards or slots that a flat cable with extended merging area diameter would have trouble with. 

Once put across conductors with identical sizes to the rounded braid’s inner diameter, rounded wire braiding would appropriately be utilized as a shield/shroud that would span approximately more than 80% of a given conductor. The purpose of shielding is for the circular braid to not only protect the wire or cables from corroding or damaging, but also from electromagnetic fields while simultaneously maintaining its malleability. Because of the stranded composition and the strong conduction, braided wire can tolerate a broad variety of volts. 

Flat Wire Braid 

Despite flat braided cables being considered still a minority option, these provide wonderful means of delivering not only necessary power but also data and information to devices in industries such as the medical, semi-conductor and aviation.To get the flat shape a flat braid cable is known for, a round braid shielding must be obtained and subsequently will be pulled into and through a motorized wheel that will put weight onto it and flatten it out.  

Image to display Flat Wire Braid flattening process

Flat wire braids are not only naturally wider but are also equally malleable and sturdier as its counterpart. Because of the multiple, separate and parallel strands, not only is the resistance reduced when electricity flows by it but also has a shorter inductance altogether. To ensure equal mobility, flat braided wires must be accurately weighted and adjusted. 

Lightning hits One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan during an early evening storm in New York, July 2, 2014

Flat wire braids not only offer a wide range of use in the commercial environments but also in the industrial. Due to the capacity flat wire braids have of soaking up stress and tremble, as well as extraordinary malleability, flat wire braids are typically the preferred option for a ground. In addition, flat braid cables are frequently employed in thunder security systems where they play a vital role in our security and wellbeing. When in action, flat wire braids not only produce a short resistance conduit for a bolt to reach the earth, creating almost very little heat if any; but are also employed in wireless communication situations since the braid’s greater area offers reduced radio frequency impedance.

How are they similar? 

The elements that determine whether you should use flat or round wire braid are determined by the needs of your application. For example, two of the most important shared similarities to keep in mind are their adaptability and the versatility of distinct advantages they both offer. On the other hand, an obvious and perhaps the biggest distinction is the space flat braided cables save you in an application. 

Image to display Comparing round wire braid and flat wire braid (edited)

Z-Tronix Flat & Round Braided Wire & Cable Solution 

Puzzled still or have a question this blog didn’t answer? Don’t hesitate in calling us! Call us at 562-808-0800, message us at customerservice@z-tronix.com or visit us in 6327 Alondra Blvd., Paramount, CA 90723 and speak with a Z-Tronix wire and cable expert to learn more about the different solutions we offer and how we can help with your next project today!