Ampacity Chart for ConductorsContact Us Today
The ampacity of a conductor represents its current carrying capacity. Generally, as the conductor size increases its resistance decreases resulting in a greater ability to handle current. A by-product of increasing current is increasing heat. Unless the heat is dissipated, enough current can be applied to a conductor to actually melt the metallic conductive material carrying the current. Most certainly, however, the plastic insulating material will decompose at a much lower temperature. To that end current carrying capacity limits have been established by regulatory agencies such as UL and NEC.
A variety of factors were examined in determining the current carrying capacity of an electrical conductor. Among them are conductor size; DC resistance; dielectric softening point; ambient temperature; number of conductors bundled; etc. There are a number of uncontrolled factors that were not examined but must be considered in various application installations, such as air flow; voltage drop; human contact; etc. Probably the most overlooked factor in many applications is the temperature rating of adjacent materials within the installation. For example, some electrical wires will carry a temperature rating of 250°C (482°F). Many electrical connectors and plastic housings are only rated for 60°C (140°F). Consequently, given even a moderate current load the wire will remain intact but surrounding components will melt.
For just this reason the following table is strictly intended to be used as a general guide. Individual applications, whether they be communications, control, power, etc. need to be examined and all appropriate safety factors considered. This table approximates the current carrying capacity of a single 19-strand copper conductor in free air at 30°C (86°F) ambient temperature. Additionally, derating factors for cabled conductors must also be taken into account.
Insulated Wire Temperature Rating
|Derating Factors for Cabled Conductors|
|# Cond.||Derate @|
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