Wire and Rod Form Overview

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ESPI offers wire and rod made up of many different element’s and/or alloys as well as in numerous other forms and purities; up to 6N (99.9999%), including:










Sputtering Targets


Custom Fabricated Parts


All forms can be manufactured to custom specifications. Or, for those time critical applications where standard sizes will meet project requirements, take advantage of ESPI’s Ready-To-Ship (RTS) program. ESPI stocks pre-fabricated items in foil and sheet that are available for same day shipment.* To view the Ready to Ship products, click here. For a quotation, call, e-mail or click "Chat Now" to the right for immediate assistance.

* Order must be received by 1:00 pm Pacific


Wire is usually a single, cylindrical, flexible strand of metal which is used to carry electricity and telecommunications signals or to bear mechanical loads. Whereas, rod often is used as a structural component assumed to possess some mechanical strength without being bundled. The term wire is also used more loosely to refer to a bundle of such strands, as in 'multi-stranded wire', which is more correctly termed a wire rope in mechanics, or a cable in electricity.

Although wire is usually circular in cross-section and rod customarily a larger, stiffer form of wire in the form of a bar, both can be made into square, hexagonal, flattened rectangular or other cross-section forms, for decorative, mechanical or technical purposes. Edge-wound coil springs, such as the Slinky toy, are made of special flattened wire.

Wire and rod are commonly formed by drawing or extruding which are metal working processes using tensile forces to change its form by either pulling (draw) or pushing (extrude) metal through a die of the desired cross-section to create objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile.

Drawing is normally done in a number of steps by pulling the metal through a hole in a die or draw plate as the die is continually reduced in diameter until the correct size is produced. Drawing is usually done at room temperature, thus classified as a cold working process, however it may be performed at elevated temperatures to hot work large wires and rods or hollow sections in order to reduce forces. Extrusion, on the other hand, is usually a hot working process where the material's temperature is above recrystallization to keep the material from work hardening since it is easier to push the material through the die. Most hot extrusions are done on horizontal hydraulic presses that range from 230 to 11,000 metric tons under pressures ranging from 30 to 4,400 to 100,000 psi, therefore lubrication is required, which can be oil or graphite for lower temperature extrusions, or glass powder for higher temperature extrusions.

Not all metals and metallic alloys possess the physical properties necessary to make useful wire. The metals must in the first place be ductile and strong in tension, the quality on which the utility of wire principally depends. The metals suitable for wire, possessing almost equal ductility, are platinum, silver, iron, copper, aluminum and gold; and it is only from these and certain of their alloys with other metals, principally brass and bronze, that wire is prepared.

Vast quantities of aluminum, copper, nickel and steel wire are employed for telephone and data cables, and as conductors in electric power transmission, electronics and semiconductors. The vast majority of the manufacturing of rods seems to be in steel (for rebar) and aluminum and alloys for the manufacturing of bolts. But wire and rod are not limited to a small number of items on the periodic table as many research labs, universities and specialty manufacturers utilize rod and wire in many different forms of unusual alloys and elements for experimentation, development and production.

Workmanship Standards

Where not specified in the purchase order or contract, ESPI shall apply standard workmanship tolerances. Rounds (rod, wire, etc): +/-10% for diameter and length. Profiles (plate, sheet, foil, etc): +/- 10% for thickness, width and length. Other non-machined solids (powder, shot, pieces, etc): +/-10% for weight, +/-25% for size.


Material purities indicate a minimum allowable purity. Purities may be higher than stated in the material description based on availability.  Rare Earth purities are based upon rare earth contaminants.  Metal purities are reported on a metals basis; zirconium purity excludes Hf.  Purities of fabricated metal products are generally based on ingot chemistry.

Quality Assurance

ESPI's comprehensive line of high-purity metals, alloys, and chemical compounds are distributed to scientists worldwide. Trust has been earned by our customers in maintaining a strong commitment to quality and excellence. All materials listed in the catalog are thoroughly tested by our quality control department. The figures given as typical analyses have been compiled through an average of previous batches.  They are provided as a guide to the nature and extent of the impurities which may be expected and may vary from batch to batch. Actual material analyses will be provided free of charge upon request for those items which have had analysis work conducted in the normal course of production.  For those items for which no analysis has been conducted, an analysis will be provided for a charge.