Conductor Facts

Engineering and Technical Information for the Design and Use of Wire and Cable Conductors

At Fisk, we’re continuously exploring specialty alloys to meet today’s rigorous balance of design requirements — premium-quality wires that are lighter, stronger, more flexible, more conductive, more tolerant of extreme operating environments yet environmentally friendly.

Our drive to innovate notwithstanding, basic engineering and technical standards hold true. This information is available, at left, in the Conductor Facts links. It may prove valuable as you consider your next design.

American Wire Gauge

Also known as the Brown & Sharpe wire gauge, AWG is a logarithmic stepped standardized wire gauge system used predominantly in North America.

Conversion Factors

Formulas used to change one set of units to another (Metric to US/English and vice versa) for a variety of wire measurements.

Glossary of Terms for Conductor Wire

A list of terms and their associated definitions relating to copper alloy conductors and the processes involved in their manufacture.

Lay Direction and Length

The direction of a conductor’s twisted strands of wire is designated as the “lay direction.” The degree of twist per unit length defines the “lay length.”


Copper and copper alloys for conductors are often electroplated with pure metal coatings such as tin, silver and nickel to improve the performance of the conductor.

Size Nomenclature

There are several designations used to describe conductor size in the wire and cable industry. The most common method used in the U.S. is the American Wire Gauge (AWG).

Softening Resistance

The capability of an alloy to maintain its strength when exposed to high temperature. Softening resistance is established based on the choice of the conductor alloy.


Solderability is defined as the ability of a metal to be wetted by molten solder. Measurement of solderability can be done several ways, each with a different purpose or advantage.

Strand Configurations

Stranded conductor is available in a variety of configurations, the most common being concentric, bunched and ropes, providing increased flexibility and flex life.