Made with individually insulated magnetic braided conductors, litz wire is the standard wire for most high frequency AC applications. Browse litz wire or scroll to the bottom of the page for more information on this wire’s properties, benefits, and uses.
Litz wire (from the German term for braided wire, Litzendraht) is a special type of multi-strand wire used to carry AC. Thin, individual strands of enameled magnet wire are twisted together in a specific pattern to form the complete litz wire. This unique construction helps to reduce the skin and proximity effects that cause losses in other wire types at higher frequencies. It is used in radio transmitters, low frequency radio receivers, induction heating equipment, switching power supplies, and more.
The skin effect occurs in conductors of alternating current (AC). The term describes the tendency for an electric current to become distributed within a conductor closer to the surface of the conductor than to the core. As frequency increases, the current density becomes more concentrated along the ‘skin’ of the conductor. The skin effect is caused by opposing eddy currents, and increases effective current resistance within the wire. The effect can be mitigated by using litz wire, which is comprised of wires small enough to counteract the skin effect that takes place in larger high-frequency wires.
Similar to the skin effect, the proximity effect is an issue caused by eddy currents in AC conductors that results in current losses. The proximity effect describes how an electric current behaves when divided between multiple conductors. Within a wire, the current will attempt to run through points furthest away from other conductors. This narrows the space for flow and increases resistance. The braided pattern of litz wire neutralizes the effect by ensuring that wires cross over and under each other, evenly distributing the current throughout the wire.
The individually insulated braided magnetic wires that comprise litz wire reduce AC losses in high frequency applications. The benefits of this include increased efficiency, lower operating temperatures, and the avoidance of ‘hot spots’ which occur in other wires. Litz wire is commonly found in the following, and more:
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