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What is a 22 AWG Electrical Wire and how does it work? Answered

Please put this in an easy to understand way. I'm doing a physics project in school and this in on my research doc.


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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

4 years ago

AWG (American Wire Gauge) is a non-intuitive scale for measuring wire thickness, and I am thankful the Wikipedia page on this topic, here,


has a table which reveals "22 AWG" has a diameter of 0.644 mm diameter, for solid wire with a circular cross-section.

If you want a physical example, find a piece of CAT5 cable, which is composed of 8 strands (4 pairs) of 24 AWG solid copper wire. The diameter of 24 AWG wire is 0.511 mm, just a teensy bit smaller than 0.644 mm, the diameter for 22 AWG wire.

The reason I mention CAT5 cable is simply because it is super easy to find, either in the form of intimate close up pictures of it sourced from Google(r) images,


and also easy to find in the physical world as well. I mean, you can find a discarded cat5 ethernet cable in a closet, or a dumpster, then cut it up with a pair of scissors, (or wire cutters if you've got a pair), and you have, in your hands, some pieces of 24 AWG solid copper wire.

Look at the cut end of one of these wires. The wires are long and skinny, but the cross-section is a circle, kind of similar to spaghetti.

So I think that answers the question of, "What does wire look like?"

In response to the question, "[H]ow does it work?", uh... that's heavy. It is kind of the same scope as "How does electricity work?"

I mean the role wires in electrical devices is fundamental, kind of like the role of pipes in plumbing. Lets say wires are like pipes, are like plumbing, but for electrons instead of water.

Although, the individual electrons are not really important. What is important is a certain thing carried by the electrons, called charge. So really wires are pipes that allow charge to move, from one end of the wire to the other. The SI unit for charge is the coulomb (C).

Moreover a flow of moving charge is called electric current. The SI unit for electric current is the ampere (A), sometimes informally called "amps".

So. Yeah. Water pipes carry water currents, moving water. Wires carry electric currents, moving charge.

That's about as simple as I can simplify it.

If you want a text, outside of your physics textbook, for learning about electricity, this one is pretty good, and it's free,


It starts with Chapter 1, "Basic Concepts of Electricity"


4 years ago

AWG refers to the American Wire Gauge. Look it up on google.

22 AWG is a specific diameter wire, with a certain ability to carry current. Much like a larger pipe will carry more water than a smaller pipe a smaller AWG will carry more electrical current than a larger gauge. As AWG goes DOWN, the wire diameter and current carrying capability goes UP, ie, there's an inverse relationship between wire gauge and thickness of wire.

Odd to see such a question from someone accepted into a physics class.


4 years ago

Its a wire made of a highly conductive metal, so electricity passes through it easily. There are several choices for the metal, depending on cost and performance.

What does "22AWG" mean ? Look it up, it will be obvious.