Voltage rating in copper-clad aluminum wires

Hello, I'm a neurophysiologist with a limited background in electronics. I'm looking to construct an electroporation device described in a manuscript that generates voltages on the order of 2 kV (field strength 20 kV/cm) using a piezoelectric crystal (details here: https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000589). The manuscript calls for copper-plated wire leads to be connected to the piezo crystal and offers the following product link: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/8mm-Enamelled-bare-Copper-electrical-cable_60799942909.html . The product on this page can only be ordered in bulk from China, but the product description seems to indicate that the voltage rating is 6/10 kV and the wire diameter is 8 mm. I believe that diameter corresponds to a 1/0 AWG wire, but based on this image of the completed electroporator ( https://ibb.co/58Zx2F2 ), a 1/0 AWG wire appears to be considerably wider than the two leads shown in the image (they're the ones clamped to the alligator clips).

My question is whether anyone would have a recommendation for inexpensive wiring, available for purchase in the US, that's rated for approximately 2 kV or above and corresponds roughly to the diameter of the wiring shown in the image. So far, I've come up short in my search. I'm happy to supply additional information if needed. Thank you in advance!

by jwbrown
January 28, 2021

Without reading your article -- it does not take much insulation thickness to withstand a 2kV voltage drop. (At high voltages you do have to worry more about tiny cuts/nicks in the insulation.) A quick search reveals Test Lead Wire with Black Silicone Insulation 18AWG 10kVDC 20A 50 Feet. The technical data sheet claims 10 kV insulation. Is that a fit?

by mrobbins
January 28, 2021

Thank you very much for your prompt reply and this useful suggestion. The wire you linked to looks as though it would be adequate. Just to be safe, I might place some shrink wrap around the insulation to further safeguard the wire. I'll give this a try and let you know if I have any issues!

by jwbrown
January 28, 2021

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