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Metallic vs Non-Metallic Flexible Conduits

Jun. 08, 2024

Flexible conduit is pipe or tubing used to protect and route electrical wiring within a structure. It can be made from various materials, including metal and plastic.


There are two main types of conduit: metallic and non-metallic, each with its own advantages and disadvantages for specific applications.


Metal conduit, typically made from aluminum or steel, is strong and durable, making it ideal for situations requiring mechanical protection for wiring. However, it is more expensive than non-metallic conduit and can be prone to corrosion.


Non-metallic conduit, made from plastics such as PVC or HDPE, is less expensive and resistant to corrosion. However, it is not as strong or durable as metal conduit and may not provide the same level of mechanical protection.


When choosing between metallic and non-metallic conduits, it is crucial to consider the specific needs of the application. Factors such as cost, durability, flexibility, weight, and resistance to temperature or corrosion should be taken into account. The right type of conduit depends on the particular requirements of the application.


Now, let’s explore the similarities between these two types of conduits.


Similarities Between Metallic and Non-Metallic Conduit


Metallic conduit and non-metallic conduit share several key similarities:


- Both are composed of strong and durable materials, making them ideal for electrical wiring applications.

- Both types are designed to protect and route electrical wiring.

- Both metallic and non-metallic conduits are available in various common trade sizes to accommodate different applications.

- Both are suitable for use in domestic, commercial, and industrial buildings and structures.

- Both provide protection against fire, mechanical damage, and corrosion.

- Both can be rated for electrical safety applications according to the National Electrical Code (NEC).

- Both offer adequate electrical field shielding and flexural stiffness (resistance to deformity).


flexible metallic and non-metallic conduits

Differences Between Metal Conduits and Non-Metal Conduits


Here are key differences between metal and non-metallic conduits to consider:


Non-Metallic Conduit

Advantages of using non-metallic conduit include:


- It can be used for various applications such as fixture whips, data centers, electric signs, outdoor lighting, HVAC, pools and spas, and locations exposed to sunlight and weather conditions.

- It is less expensive than most metal conduits.

- It is easy to cut at the site of installation.

- It is lighter in weight than most metal conduits.

- It is more flexible than most metal conduits, making it easier to route through tight spaces.

- It can be installed in wet locations and buried in the ground or in concrete.

- It is suitable for indoor, outdoor, underground, and above-ground installations.

- PVC conduit can be recycled multiple times.


Here are some disadvantages in use of non-metallic conduit:


- It is not as resistant to crushing force, even though it may rebound from impact.

- Most non-metallic conduit is not rated for high or low temperature extremes

- It is not permitted in hazardous areas where the ambient temperature exceeds 50°C (122°F) or in applications where the conductor insulation temperature exceeds the rated temperature, such as extreme cold.

- It cannot be installed in plenum environments due its flammability and possibility for generating toxic smoke or fumes in a fire.

- It cannot be used without physical support along its installed length.


Metallic Conduit


Advantages of using metal conduits include:


- Durability: Metal conduit is durable and can last many years with proper maintenance.

- Recyclability: Galvanized steel, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze, and brass conduits are recyclable, making them a more sustainable option.

- Temperature Resistance: It can withstand extreme temperatures and conditions, making it ideal for harsh operating environments.

- Impact Resistance: Metal conduit is resistant to impact and temperature changes, suitable for high-traffic areas or areas with extreme temperatures.

- Fire Safety: Made from non-combustible material, it is excellent for protecting wiring in fire safety applications.

- Electrical Safety: It can be rated for electrical safety applications.

- Customization: Easy to machine or fabricate, ideal for applications requiring custom sizes or shapes.

- Chemical Resistance: Extruded polymer jackets meet or exceed industrial chemical resistance requirements.

- Liquid Tight Protection: Polymer jackets provide liquid-tight protection, allowing installation in wet conditions, underground, or in concrete.

- Low Smoke and Halogen-Free: Polymer jackets offer low smoke or halogen-free protection of wiring.

- Integral Bonding Wire: May include an integral bonding wire, supporting NEC-approved use in electrical connections.


Disadvantages of using metallic conduit:


- Cost: Higher upfront cost for materials and installation.

- Limited Protection: Does not offer full protection for circuits above and below ground against hazards without a liquid-tight jacket.

- Weight: Heavier than non-metallic conduit.


Flexible Metallic & Non-Metallic Conduits from FLEXIBLE


Key differences in these conduit types are material, durability, and cost.


- Metal Conduit: More expensive than non-metallic conduit, it offers superior protection from fire, pests, and extreme temperatures. Metal conduits are also more durable and have a longer lifespan.

- Non-Metallic Conduit: Made of plastic or other materials, it is less durable than metal but more affordable. It is lighter in weight, more flexible, and more resistant to corrosion.


FLEXIBLE offers liquid-tight metal and non-metallic conduit types designed to protect mission-critical wiring from harsh operating conditions on land, at sea, and in the air.


Our flexible metallic and non-metallic conduits are available in various sizes and lengths and can be custom-ordered to meet your specific needs.


For a high-quality, reliable, and durable conduit solution, choose FLEXIBLE. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.

flexible metallic and non-metallic conduits