THHN 12 AWG solid wire is engineered and manufactured to be a less flexible type of electrical wire. All applications call for different types of wire based on the environment they are placed in and they also have preferences that the user can choose from that may differ from contractor to contractor. The insulation isn’t the only thing to consider as an installer or electrician using electrical wire on a day to day basis.
THHN 12 AWG electrical wire is manufactured in a solid and stranded format based mostly on preference. The solid version is one 12 AWG solid strand of copper which needs to meet a certain outer diameter. This is used in homes and buildings to connect the electrical box to outlets, lights and appliances. The user of solid THHN wire would rather have a stiff wire that holds its form in order to install it in conduit or snake it through a wall of a home or building.
THHN 12 AWG stranded wire is manufactured with 19 strands of copper instead on one solid strand as mentioned above. The strands are not 12 AWG each or the wire would be considered a much bigger gauge size. Instead, the copper strands are much smaller and wound together to equal the same outer diameter of a solid strand of 12 AWG. Copper transmits a certain amount of current based on its size so the 19 strands need to meet the same exact size or it will not be considered a 12 AWG electrical wire.
Again, it’s completely a preference of the user. Some contractors, installers and electricians like flexible wires and some like inflexible wires based on how they complete their installations. Suppliers constantly answer the question, “Can I get 12 AWG THHN wire in a more flexible version”? The answer is yes. There are many types of electrical wire and building wire that suit the preferences of each user.
Speak to your supplier about getting something more or less flexible because they, or their manufacturer, will most likely have something to fit your needs. It might mean getting a different type of insulation as well but they will make sure the new type of electrical wire is still approved for the job in which you’re using it. Even stranded THHN wire isn’t very flexible compared to single conductor portable cord wires with rubber insulation. The strands are incredibly small and the rubber insulation also adds to the flexibility.
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