Conduit is tubing that guides electrical wiring through buildings and other structures while shielding cables from moisture and damage. Conduit comes in a variety of materials like metal and plastic to meet different needs. Understanding the various types can help you select the best one for your project or location. Read on to learn more about the different electrical conduit types and how to pick the right material for your needs.
4 Types of Conduit Materials
Conduits are available in a variety of materials and forms. Other conduit options meet specific application needs, such as conduits made for fiber optics. The four types of conduit are rigid metallic conduits, flexible metallic conduits, electrical metallic tubing and plastic conduits.
1. Rigid Metallic Conduit
Rigid metallic conduits are a popular option for many applications. These tools provide extreme protection in demanding environments, such as industrial areas. For instance, a rigid metallic conduit is commonly used in underground cabling, wastewater processing and pneumatic machinery.
Rigid conduits are the thickest and heaviest types of metallic conduits. They shield wires from harsh substances like grease, oil and excessive moisture.
Metal conduits typically consist of metals like:
- Galvanized steel
- Stainless steel
Rigid metallic conduits have many benefits, including:
- High durability: Rigid materials can protect your wires for many years, providing maximum protection against moisture, tears or other damages. You can also add additional coatings for added corrosion resistance.
- Strong performance in all temperatures: A rigid metallic conduit can suit extreme hot and cold temperatures, making it a versatile option for many applications.
2. Flexible Metallic Conduit
Another conduit option is a flexible metallic conduit. These tools also consist of metals but have a flexible form that you can bend rather than a rigid one. Flexible conduits have spiral-wound metal strips. Designers often use them for the last few feet of wiring or other hard-to-reach places.
Flexible metallic conduits also consist of metal materials, like galvanized or stainless steel. These tough materials shield against corrosion and natural wear.
You can find many advantages with a flexible conduit, such as:
- Flexibility: As the name suggests, flexible conduits offer high adaptability. You can bend the material to meet different shapes and environments.
- Vibration absorption: Flexible conduits can also absorb vibrations while still allowing movement. This trait can keep the conduits in place while still letting cables move as necessary.
3. Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT)
This conduit type also consists of metal materials, usually galvanized steel or aluminum. Designers often use electrical metallic tubing in the walls of commercial buildings. It typically weighs less and is less expensive than other conduit options.
A few advantages of EMT are:
- Lightweight: Electrical metallic tubing has a thin consistency, creating a lightweight solution for many applications. It’s simple to handle and install.
- Bendable: You can also bend EMT easily. This trait is beneficial in applications where you need a more flexible design.
4. Plastic Conduit
Plastic conduits are another popular conduit option. These are also referred to as nonmetallic conduits. They contain materials like:
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Manufacturers can design plastics to suit specific environmental needs. For instance, they can manufacture plastics that are flame resistant.
Plastic conduits have many benefits for users, including:
- Lightweight: Plastic conduits are lightweight, making them easier to handle than heavier metallic materials. Their consistency also makes it simple to cut or rearrange them as your project needs change.
- Chemical-resistant: A nonmetallic conduit also provide maximum protection against many elements. Many plastic conduits are waterproof and can shield wires from any type of water exposure. They also have an extreme tolerance for high temperatures and other chemicals.
Like metal conduits, you can find plastic conduits in both rigid and flexible options. For instance, you could select a rigid PVC conduit.
How to Choose the Right Conduit Material for Your Application
It’s important to choose a conduit material that suits your environmental and wire needs. The right size and material allow your system to function correctly, with the proper design creating optimal efficiency.
To choose the right conduit for your environment, consider environmental aspects like:
- Indoor or outdoor location: First, think about the surroundings of your wire conduit. Do you need wire protection for an indoor or outdoor application? Outdoor locations can be exposed to severe weather conditions, from excessive rain to harsh winds. You should choose a material that suits the typical outdoor environment. For instance, your wires might be in an outdoor area with extremely hot temperatures, so you can find a conduit material that suits this need. Or, you could look for a durable material that protects against harsh winds.
- Moisture levels: Next, consider the average moisture in your wire location. You need a material that protects against water, which can damage wire conditions. Excess water can cause the wiring to corrode and cause significant safety issues, making proper protection essential. If you know your wires are in an area with a lot of water exposure, you could consider choosing waterproof materials for added protection.
- Location size: You must meet conduit sizing requirements set by the National Electrical Code, which outlines the correct sizes for safety. To select the best material, you should have an average size in mind for your location. No matter what, there needs to be enough space for all conductors to exist freely. Thinking about your available space can help you prep for these requirements ahead of time. Commercial and residential locations often have different sizes available.
- Other special considerations: Consider whether your area has any other extraordinary circumstances that can impact the material you choose. For instance, you might need a fire-resistant consistency or one with extra corrosion resistance.
If you have any questions about your conduit material selection, you can always reach out to a trusted professional. They can help you find the best conduit material for your application and provide other advice about installation.
Contact AerosUSA Today
If you want to buy conduits, choose AerosUSA today. For over 10 years, we’ve supplied high-quality wire and cable protection products to customers around the country. Our dedicated and knowledgeable staff can help you with your conduit material selection, guiding you through each step of the decision.
We offer a wide range of protection products. Whether you select rigid metallic conduits, plastic conduits or anything in between, AerosUSA has the inventory for you. We can help you meet specific project needs and ensure your conduit keeps your location safer.
To get started with AerosUSA, shop our selection of conduits or contact us today.