There are many materials capable of conducting electricity. Within cables, copper is most commonly used because of its high electrical conductivity, high malleability and relatively low cost. At Kalestead we typically use soft-annealed, pure, plain or tinned copper fine wires tested in accordance with BS4109. However, we also offer conductive plastics, aluminium, steel, nickel, silver, gold and various metal alloys as alternative materials. Of these, silver has the highest electrical conductivity (lowest resistivity) but is very expensive. Nickel or nickel-plated copper is often used in high temperature or corrosive environments.
Conductive, or semi-conductive, plastics are typically used in low-noise signal cables and for the dissipation of static charges.
Tinsel conductors consist of a copper or copper alloy foil wrapped around a textile core to provide lightweight communication cables with a very long flex life. They are not suitable for soldered terminations.