While electricity has changed the way we interact with the world forever with advanced technologies and capabilities, it still remains a volatile force that must be controlled to avoid damages and dangers. Wirewound resistors are electrical components that are placed within a circuit to limit or restrict the flow of current. Wirewound resistors are typically constructed by winding a metal wire around a core, and coatings of enamel or molded plastic form a barrier around the resistor. The typical wirewound resistor is engineered to withstand temperatures of up to 450 degrees Celsius, and they are present in many high power and industrial applications. In this blog, we will discuss some of the primary types of wirewound resistors that are commonly used for electric applications, as well as their individual properties and uses.
The power type wirewound resistor is specifically designed for high power applications, and they are typically categorized by their coating type. The aluminum structure part type with fins provides for the greatest amount of power dissipation due to a larger surface area as compared to other types. Within the aluminum housing, a ceramic core is coated with silicone resin. With an anodized surface, the resistor has optimal insulation resistance and has a power rating ranging from 25 to 50 watts. For the lowest dissipation levels, silicone resins are most optimal with being able to withstand temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius. Vitreous enamel is another material that is used for power type wirewound resistors, and it provides for insulating properties at low temperatures. As it supplies less insulation at higher temperatures, it is not as widely used as compared to the silicone or aluminum wirewound resistor part type.
High precision resistor components are those that are often used for applications such as measuring bridges, weighing scales, temperature compensation, and calibration equipment. As compared to general metal film resistors, precision wirewound resistors have a temperature coefficient of resistance around 5 ppm per degree Celsius. Beyond that, precision type wirewound resistors are known for their high resistance stability, moderate power ratings, and close tolerances. For their operating temperature, precision type wirewound resistors are best for a range of -55 to 145 degrees Celsius. Because of these properties, the wirewound resistor type is best for applications that need highly accurate and stable resistance values.
Potentiometer wirewound components are another common wirewound resistor that are used for potentiometers. A potentiometer is a type of resistor that features three terminals, one of which is connected to a moveable contact so that the amount of resistance may vary. Potentiometers often serve various applications, including those such as audio equipment volume controls, joystick position transducers, and other low power control level applications.
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