The Disadvantages of Copper Wire

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With the development of fiber optic cable, the future of copper wiring is in doubt. Copper has substantial disadvantages over fiber optic cable and, while copper remains very important, if not dominant, fiber optic systems are taking over, leaving copper in a poor position due to its many disadvantages. Most major firms in the semiconductor industry refuse to use copper due to its spotty track record. Many refuse to use it in automotive wiring due to its penchant for corrosion and general unreliability.


Copper costs far more than fiber optic cable. Copper itself is based largely on Latin American foreign trade and therefore is a volatile market relative to domestically produced fiber optic systems. Part of the cost problem of copper wire is both that it is very expensive to store (due to the fact that it cannot be exposed to oxygen) and that it is heavier, leading to higher shipping costs.


One of the most serious disadvantages of copper wire is its susceptibility to corrosion, that is, oxidation. It has a shorter life expectancy than fiber optic cable as a result of this. Therefore, the problem of copper storage is related to its penchant to be oxidized at relatively normal temperatures.

Shock Hazard

Fiber optic cable has a lower shock hazard than copper wire. Copper is susceptible to a great degree of electrical interference, leading to a less clear signal than fiber optics. Copper wire, in short, is more dangerous than fiber optic cable.


Copper is being rejected by the semi-conductor industry as being unreliable as a bonding agent. In a recent study conducted by SEMI, the main research arm of the semiconductor industry, most respondents in the field held that copper wire as a bonding agent was unreliable, unproven and inefficient. Further, many in the field held in the survey that they thought copper was unsuited for many complex wiring projects.


About the Author

Walter Johnson has more than 20 years experience as a professional writer. After serving in the United Stated Marine Corps for several years, he received his doctorate in history from the University of Nebraska. Focused on economic topics, Johnson reads Russian and has published in journals such as “The Salisbury Review,” "The Constantian" and “The Social Justice Review."