Talk to electricians or wiring operators or electrical distributors and buyers. The terms cable and wire can often be used interchangeably. However, as you will see below, there are differences between the two.
Generally speaking, a wire is a piece of metal with a round, square or rectangular cross-section, but in the latter case it is referred to as a strip. With reference to electrical applications, the metal can be aluminium or copper, but you can also find brass, steel and MS wire for other applications. For electrical applications, copper and aluminium are used because of their high electrical conductivity. In electrical application references, the wire is always a single wire, either bare or insulated. It can be a single wire or a bundle of wires with an insulating covering.
Now, the wire may be bare or covered with an insulating material. For example, you can buy enamelled copper and aluminium wires from wire dealers in Ahmedabad. This type of wire is used in the manufacture of transformers and electric motors.
Solid lengths of metal wire can be wrapped in an insulating material such as PVC. The insulation can be 1 mm or more thick. This type of wire can be used to connect switches and even for general household wiring.
Insulated wires may also have a PVC sheath covering many fine gauge copper or aluminium wires. This configuration of using thinner bare wire strands within a single insulating jacket gives the wire flexibility. Single wires in the range of 32 to 20 swg can be used, and several of these wires can then be bundled together in a single jacket to form a single conductor with a total cross-section ranging from 1 mm to 12 mm or more. The cross-section determines the current carrying capacity. For example, wires for soldering may have thin wires which together can produce a cross-section thick enough to carry 300 amperes. Wires with a total cross-section of 2 to 3 mm but consisting of thinner wires can also be used for house wiring, and Polycab house wires with different colour codes using FR insulation are considered the best.
Special purpose cables may have double insulation and the insulation may be rubber or polyethylene, with PVC being the most common as it has a higher insulation resistance and is less costly.
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