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The Book of Terms

The Book of TermsThe WJI Book of Wire & Cable Terms: an interactive experience of learning and sharing
This book, written by industry volunteers and containing more than 5,000 entries, is an asset for newcomers to wire and cable.

At the same time, it also represents an opportunity for industry veterans to give back by either updating or adding to the more than 5,000 entries. This is an honor system process. Entries/updates must be non-commercial, and any deemed not to be so will be removed. Share your expertise as part of this legacy project to help those who will follow. Purchase a printed copy here.


0-9   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Capillary action of a liquid, allowing flow along the channels of the base material. For example, the flow of solder along the strands and under the insulation of stranded lead wire.

Widmanstatten Structure

A microstructure resulting when steels are cooled at a critical rate from extremely high temperatures. It is a precipitation process that may also occur in nonferrous alloys, as for example, those based upon aluminum or titanium. In steels, it consists of ferrite and pearlite and has a cross-hatched appearance due to the ferrite having formed along certain crystallographic planes.

Wiedemann-Franz Ratio

The quotient of the thermal conductivity divided by the electrical conductivity. This ratio can be used to predict one of these properties when the other is known, since the ratio is approximately constant for most pure metals.

Wien Bridge

See Bridge.


See Twist.


A term, usually applied to copper winding wires, which implies good elongation, flexibility, abrasion resistance and lubrication with minimum springback.


A general term applied to an assemblage of insulated conductors form­ing part of a machine, transformer, or piece of apparatus, and intended either to produce a magnetic field or to be acted upon thereby.

Winding Machines

Used to wind a bobbin quickly, being fitted with a traversing mechanism for this purpose. Machines are available to wind all sizes of wire from the heaviest wire ropes on cable take-up units to the very finest wire sizes on coil winding machines.

Winding Wires

See Magnet Wire.


In wiredrawing, the two polished portions of diamond drawing dies perpendicular to the axis, permitting a view of the die profile op­tically.

Wiping Gland

A protection on an enclosure for making connection to lead sheaths by using a plumber’s wiped lead joint.


1) A long, slender piece of metal that is produced by being drawn (pulled) through a die or cold-rolled, the latter a procedure that is far less used but gaining in popularity. The drawn product can be made in various cross sectional shapes, but much of it is made in a circular shape. The material can be the full range of ferrous and nonferrous metals and alloys or, in somewhat less amounts, nonmetallic materials. Some wires are composites of two separate metals bonded together in a single profile. Wire can be prepared to exhibit varying degrees of ductility, toughness, hardness and electrical characteristics. It is usually manufactured in long lengths so it is furnished in coil or spool form. Usually if the finished product has a relatively large profile and cannot be wound in a coil, it is not considered wire but a bar. Flat or shaped wires are referred to as wire with roughly the same dimensional limit. However, if the flat material is not flexible enough to be wound in a coil, it is usually referred to as bar or strip. 2) A single strand or multiple strands of wire used as an electric conductor that can be bare or coated with different materials. Note: the term wire is used interchangeably with cable to define an insulated conductor. See essay on wire at beginning of this book.

Wire and Cable Markers

See Markers, Wire and Cable.

Wire and Lead Cutters

Tools and machines that cut the wire stock and finished product. They range from pliers type cutters to semi-automatic or fully automatic machines. Most fully automatic machines are integrated with other wire processing operations such as stripping, forming, terminating, etc. There are also independent powered tools for cutting large sizes of wire and cable.

Wire Bar

A cast shape, particularly of tough pitch copper, which has a cross section approximately square with tapered ends, designed for hot rolling to rod for subsequent drawing into wire.

Wire Braid

Flexible wire constructed of small size strands woven together, generally in tubular form. Used for shielding or connections where constant flexing is required.

Wire Cloth

See Woven Wire Mesh.

Wire Extrusion, Hydrostatic

A hydro­static extrusion process in which material to be drawn and the reel on which it is wound are mounted within a pressure vessel containing pressurized fluid. One end of the wire is placed in a die through which it is forced toward the reel by the pressurized fluid. This wire extrusion process is similar to wiredrawing with the considerable advantage that the reduction per pass is not limited by the same strength restrictions of the wire as it is in wiredrawing. The process also enables the forming of brittle wires that cannot be drawn.

Wire Gauge

A system of numerical designation of wire sizes. See American Wire Gauge (AWG).

Wire Gauging Equipment, Capacity-Type

With capacity-type gauges, wire passes between two sensing elements and variations in wire size cause an error signal to be sent. Note: for all the sophisticated equipment that exists, a staple for any manufacturing operation remains the hand-held micrometer, which can provide a quick and accurate reading. See Cable Diameter Gauging entries.

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