Wire

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A wire is a single, usually cylindrical, string of metal. Wires are used to bear mechanical loads and to carry electricity and telecommunications signals. Wire is commonly formed by drawing the metal through a hole in a die or draw plate. Standard sizes are determined by various wire gauges. The term wire is also used more loosely to refer to a bundle of such strands, as in 'multistranded wire', which is more correctly termed a wire rope in mechanics, or a cable in electricity.

Contents

History

In antiquity, jewellery often contains, in the form of chains and applied decoration, large amounts of wire that is accurately made and which must have been produced by some efficient, if not technically advanced, means. In some cases, strips cut from metal sheet were made by pulling them through perforations in stone beads. This causes the strips to fold round on themselves to form thin tubes. This strip drawing technique was in use in Egypt by the 2nd Dynasty. From the middle of the 2nd millennium BC most of the gold wires in jewellery are characterised by seam lines that follow a spiral path along the wire. Such twisted strips can be converted into solid round wires by rolling them between flat surfaces or the strip wire drawing method. The strip twist wire manufacturing method was superseded by drawing in the ancient Old World sometime between about the 8th and 10th centuries AD.[1] There is some evidence for the use of drawing further East prior to this period.[2]

Square and hexagonal wires were possibly made using a swaging technique. In this method a metal rod was struck between grooved metal blocks, or between a grooved punch and a grooved metal anvil. Swaging is of great antiquity, possibly dating to the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC in Egypt and in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Europe for torches and fibulae.

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