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The Book of Terms

The Book of TermsThe WJI Book of Wire & Cable Terms: an interactive experience of learning and sharing
This book, written by industry volunteers and containing more than 5,000 entries, is an asset for newcomers to wire and cable.

At the same time, it also represents an opportunity for industry veterans to give back by either updating or adding to the more than 5,000 entries. This is an honor system process. Entries/updates must be non-commercial, and any deemed not to be so will be removed. Share your expertise as part of this legacy project to help those who will follow. Purchase a printed copy here.


0-9   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Air-Hardening Steel

A steel containing sufficient carbon or alloying element or both, to form martensite either through air hardening or, as in welding and induction hardening, through rapid removal of heat from a locally heated portion by conduction into the surrounding cold metal.

Air-Spaced Coaxial Cable

A cable in which air is essentially the dielectric material. A spirally wound synthetic filament, beads, or braided filaments may be used to center the conductor.

Aircraft Cord Wire

A hard-drawn, high-carbon, high-tensile wire, tinned or galvanized, used in making flexible and non-flexible multiple wire strands for aircraft controls.

Aircraft Ignition Cable

High-tension cable for ignition systems of internal combustion aircraft engines.

Aircraft Quality.

Denotes material for important or highly stressed parts of aircraft and for other similar purposes; such materials are of extremely high quality requiring closely controlled, restrictive and special practices in their manufacture.

Aircraft Wire

An electrical wire primarily designed for the extreme conditions (temperature, pressure, solvents, fuels, etc.) of airborne equipment.


1.) Used as a suffix to denote a wire or cable having an aluminum sheath. 2.) See Aluminum.

Albert Lay Wire Rope

See Wire Rope, Albert Lay


Energized, having voltage or any other form of energy applied.


A soluble salt obtained from the ashes of plants and consisting largely of potassium or sodium carbonate.

Alkaline Cleaning

A process for removing surface contamination or, following solvent degreasing, for producing a chemically clean surface suitable for subsequent plating. See Electrolytic Cleaning.

Alkaline Degreasing

A process for removing surface contamination or, following solvent degreasing, for producing a chemically clean surface suitable for subsequent plating. See Electrolytic Cleaning.

All-Aluminum Alloy Conductors

Designation for All-Aluminum Alloy Conductors. Usually used to refer to 6201 aluminum alloys.

All-Aluminum Conductor

All component wires are made of E.C. (Electrical Conductor) grade 1350 aluminum.

All-Rubber Cable

A cable in which all interstices between conductors are filled with rubber compound. This provides greater resistance to impact, adds strength, reduces the tendency to kink and reduces flexibility.

Alligator Clip

A mechanical device, shaped similar to the jaws of an alligator, generally used as a temporary connection on the end of a test lead or interconnections wire.


A combination of two or more metals, or a metal and a nonmetal, to form a new or different metal with specific or desirable qualities.

Alloy Scrap

Scrap steel that contains one or more alloying materials.

Alloy Steel

An iron-based mixture is considered to be an alloy steel when manganese is greater than 1.65 percent, silicon over 0.06 percent, copper above 0.6 percent, or in which a definite range or definite minimum quantity of any of the following elements is specified: aluminum chromium up to 3.99 percent, cobalt, columbium (niobium), molybdenum, nickel, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, zirconium or any other element added to obtain a desired alloying effect. An enormous variety of distinct properties can be created for the steel by substituting these elements in the recipe to increase hardness, strength or chemical resistance. See Carbon Steel, Steel.

Alloying Elements

Chemical elements added for improving the properties of the finished products. Chief alloying elements in medium alloy steels are nickel, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, silicon and copper. For copper alloys, it is zinc, tin, aluminum, silicon, and nickel. For aluminum alloys, it is magnesium, iron, silicon, copper, and zinc.

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