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Nickel-Chromium Wire - Electrical Resistance vs. Temperature Rise

Electric resistance and temperature rise

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Nickel-Chromium electric resistance wires:

SWGDiameterNickel–chromium
(mm)(in)(ohm/m)Current (A) to
maintain temperature rise
500 °C1000 °C
12 2.642 0.104 0.197 38 78
14 2.032 0.080 0.333 26 53
16 1.626 0.064 0.520 19 40
18 1.219 0.048 0.92 13 27
20 0.914 0.036 1.65 8.5 18
22 0.711 0.028 2.72 6.3 13
24 0.559 0.022 4.40 4.5 9.5
26 0.457 0.018 6.60 3.5 7.0
28 0.376 0.0148 9.7 2.7 5.5
30 0.315 0.0124 13.9 2.2 4.5
32 0.274 0.0108 18.3 1.9 3.5
34 0.234 0.0092 25.2 1.6 3.0
36 0.193 0.0076 37.0 1.3 2.3
38 0.152 0.0060 59.0 1.0 1.7
40 0.122 0.0048 92 0.8 1.4
42 0.102 0.0040 133 0.65 1.1
44 0.0813 0.0032 208
46 0.0610 0.0024 370
48 0.0406 0.0016 835
50 0.0254 0.0010 2130
  • SWG - Imperial Standard Wire Gauge for sheet metal and wire

Example - Electric heater

Calculate the length of a nickel-chromium gauge 18 wire in an electric heater with power 2000 W, 230 V supply and max. wire temperature 500oC.   

The current required to produce 2000 W can be calculated with Ohm's law as

P = U I

   or

I = P / U

  = (2000 W) / (230V)

  = 8.7 A

The max. current in the 18 gauge wire with max. temperature 500oC is 13 A and the heat can be produced in a single wire.

The total resistance in the heating wire can with Ohm's law be calculated as

R = U / I

   = (230 V) / (8.7 A)

   = 26.4 ohm

Since the resistance of the wire is 0.92 ohm/m the length of the wire can be calculated as

l = (26.4 ohm) / (0.92 ohm/m)

  = 28.7 m

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