What is the meaning of AWG in American power cables, and how can this be converted to cross-sectional area in mm²?

In the world of cables and adapters, there are various standards and norms that determine quality and performance. One of the most well-known standards in the USA is AWG (American Wire Gauge). But why do American cable manufacturers use AWG instead of the actual cross-sectional area in mm², and what does this mean for you?


Meaning of AWG

AWG stands for American Wire Gauge and is a standardized system for measuring the diameter of electrical conductors. It is primarily used in North America and is widely adopted in the electrical industry. AWG is a logarithmic measure, meaning that a change of one AWG number corresponds to an exponential change in conductor area. This allows for precise specification of cables for different applications.


Advantages of AWG Labeling

The AWG system has the advantage of being a standardized method understood by manufacturers, engineers, and installers alike. This allows cable requirements to be determined more quickly and efficiently. AWG markings help quickly identify whether a cable is suitable for a particular application, such as in terms of current capacity or signal transmission.


Conversion to mm²

Converting AWG to mm² is possible, albeit not always exact, as the AWG system is logarithmic. Here are some examples to illustrate:


AWG20 = 0.519mm²
AWG18 = 0.823mm²
AWG17 = 1.04mm²
AWG16 = 1.31mm²
AWG15 = 1.65mm²
AWG14 = 2.08mm²
AWG13 = 2.63mm²
AWG12 = 3.31mm²

These conversion values provide an idea of which AWG cable is best suited for which requirements.



Suppose you need a cable for a device that is to draw a current of 15 amperes. An AWG14 cable with a cross-section of 2.08mm² would be ideal in this case, as it provides sufficient capacity for the current load and ensures a safe installation.

AWG stands for "American Wire Gauge" and is a standard for measuring wire diameter in the USA. A lower AWG value means a thicker wire.

To calculate the cross-sectional area in mm² from the AWG value, you can use the following formula for the diameter in mm:

Diameter in mm=0.127×92(36AWG)39

Then, the cross-sectional area can be calculated using the formula π×(Diameter/2)2.


Overall, the AWG labeling is an effective system for categorizing cables that enables quick and safe selection. It facilitates communication between manufacturers, engineers, and installers and ensures high standards in the electrical industry.

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