What Is Nichrome Wire Used for?

By Richard Asmus
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Nichrome wire has a unique characteristic: It heats up when electricity is applied. Manufacturers and hobbyists use nichrome wire in many applications where wire must get hot or must withstand high temperatures.

Alloy Wire

Wire made from combinations of metals called alloys have particular uses depending on the characteristics of the metals. "Nichrome" signifies an alloy made from nickel and chrome.

Heating Elements

Manufacturers use nichrome wire extensively to make heating coils or elements for household and industrial use. You can find it in toasters, hair dryers, heaters and many other appliances.

Pottery

Ceramics enthusiasts use nichrome wire to hold kilns together, and also to hold pottery together while baking. It will not melt or break at these extremely high temperatures.

Hot Wire Cutter

You can buy or make a cutter that uses a heated nichrome wire for a blade for cutting certain foams and plastics. The hot wire blade cuts cleaner and neater than a saw or knife.

Fireworks and Motel Rockets

Since nichrome wire heats up rapidly with voltage applied, it makes safe electric igniters for fireworks and model rockets. The operator can safely set off the device from a distance with a battery and a switch.