Insulation of Enameled Wire

2016-03-16
Although described as "enameled", enameled wire is not, in fact, coated with either a layer of enamel paint nor with vitreous enamel made of fused glass powder. Modern magnet wire typically uses one to four layers (in the case of quad-film type wire) of polymer film insulation, often of two different compositions, to provide a tough, continuous insulating layer. Magnet wireinsulating films use (in order of increasing temperature range) polyvinyl formal (Formvar), polyurethane, polyamide, polyester, polyester-polyimide, polyamide-polyimide (or amide-imide), and polyimide. Polyimide insulated magnet wire is capable of operation at up to 250 °C. The insulation of thicker square or rectangular magnet wire is often augmented by wrapping it with a high-temperature polyimide or fiberglass tape, and completed windings are often vacuum impregnated with an insulating varnish to improve insulation strength and long-term reliability of the winding.

Self-supporting coils are wound with wire coated with at least two layers, the outermost being a thermoplastic that bonds the turns together when heated.

Other types of insulation such as fiberglass yarn with varnish, aramid paper, kraft paper, mica, and polyester film are also widely used across the world for various applications like transformers and reactors. In the audio sector, a wire of silver construction, and various other insulators, such as cotton (sometimes permeated with some kind of coagulating agent/thickener, such as beeswax) and polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) can be found. Older insulation materials included cotton, paper, or silk, but these are only useful for low-temperature applications (up to 105°C).

For ease of manufacturing, some low-temperature-grade magnet wire has insulation that can be removed by the heat of soldering. This means that electrical connections at the ends can be made without stripping off the insulation first.
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