Heating Copper Wires for Uni Project with DC Voltage

Thread Starter

Allcakesnobakes

Joined Jul 7, 2020
4
Hey guys, I was wondering what I'm doing wrong here: i want to heat up copper wires which will be combined with textile for a uni project. I bought myself a DC Voltage power supply and some copper wires from the hardware store: i tried adjusting the voltage and seeing if the wire heats up when connected to the DC Volt's negative and positive pins. Unfortunately nothing happens. What am I doing wrong here? Do I need a special alloy of copper for this to work?

I'm pretty new and would be thankful for any basic advice, thanks!
 
What are the specifications on the power supply? Voltage? Current? What about the wire size?

The copper wire will short the supply and draw maximum current. if the supply can not supply enough current for the size wire you bought there may be no heating.
 

Thread Starter

Allcakesnobakes

Joined Jul 7, 2020
4
What are the specifications on the power supply? Voltage? Current? What about the wire size?

The copper wire will short the supply and draw maximum current. if the supply can not supply enough current for the size wire you bought there may be no heating.
The Power Supply reads 45w max power. 0-15 V/DC and 0-3 A- is this enough? The copper wire I got is about 1mm thick. Is shorting the power supply the idea when trying to heat up a copper wire?
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
5,508
Normally if you want to make a heating element Nichrome Wire and not copper is the wire of choice. Likely your supply is shutting down because it can't supply enough current.

Ron
 

Thread Starter

Allcakesnobakes

Joined Jul 7, 2020
4
No. Copper is a very good conductor of electricity, that's the reason it is used for wire. Heat is produced by resistance, which copper lacks. Is there a reason or requirement to use copper?
This makes sense lol. Not a requirement, but I thought it would conduct heat well.
 

aacarman98

Joined Jun 17, 2020
1
Not sure if this has been resolved yet, but wanted to add my 2 cents.

The equation for power is P=V*I. We can use Ohm’s Law to rewrite the equation as P=I^2*R, where R is the resistance of the wire and I is the current through the wire. 1mm thick copper has a resistance of 6.39 ohms per 1000ft.

Assuming you’re using 10ft of wire, it has a resistance of ~0.0639 ohms. Using the full 3A of your supply, you could get ~0.5W out, which will generate heat, but not a ton. Using higher resistance wire would help, or if it has to be copper, you could lengthen the copper to increase the resistance to something more in the range of what you’re looking for.

Hope this helps!
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
6,460
Just be careful. Don't be tempted to connect the wire directly to an AC outlet. Nichrome is used in many heating applications -toasters, heating pads, hair dryers among many. It can get hot enough to give you severe burns or start a fire.

You might want to look at how thermal cutoffs and thermal fuses are used in these appliances to switch off the power when things get too hot. Imagine what could go wrong with a heated article of clothing. You might also want to check into the safety precautions used in heated clothing and socks.
 
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