calculating how much current a certain material can handle

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by gamba, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. gamba

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 27, 2012
    hello, I'm trying to figure out how much current different conducting materials can handle.
    I've found a couple of tables showing diameters and power transmission, but only for copper.

    how do figure out how much current a certain rod of Steel can handle?

    specifically, I'd like to know if a 1/32" steel rod could handle 0.5 ampere and if a 3/32" steel rod would be able to handle 4 ampere.
  2. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    3/32 is close in dia. to an 18 ga. wire, so the steel will do fine with the 4 amps. just be sure to get your terminals good and tight, preferably soldered.
    have a look here - googled "steel wire ampacity"
  3. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009

    Think you better have another look at the wire gauge table.:)
    3/32" is 0.093, closer to 11AWG than 18AWG that is 0.040. 18 gauge is about half of the 11 gauge.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
    PackratKing likes this.
  4. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    handle it and handle it without glowing red is a totally different beast.. Either one of those diameters will carry your amperage EASILY and much more..

    I wonder why the question was asked though..
    PackratKing likes this.
  5. Austin Clark


    Dec 28, 2011
    It also depends on the ambient temperature, humidity, etc;