Individual electrical wiring conductors are protected and given a path by sturdy tubing or other types of enclosure, which are referred to as “electrical conduits.” Where wiring is visible or could be damaged, conduit is often necessary. A conduit can be stiff or flexible and can be made of metal or plastic.
Electrical boxes, which are typically made of the same material as that of the conduit, and compatible fittings (couplings, elbows, and connectors) are used to install conduit.
Electrical conduit come in a variety of types and are frequently used in residential and other business buildings.
ELECTRICAL METALLIC TUBING (EMT)
This is the conduit used most frequently for exposed interior installations. These could include unfinished basements or garages. Of all the rigid metal conduit types, EMT is the thinnest and lightest. They are available in various diameters, so you can pick the one that best suits your requirements. It may be easily bent using a device called a conduit bender and is also known as “thin-wall.” Both dry and moist sites are permitted for EMT under the National Electrical Code (NEC).
The internal wiring of business and residential buildings most typically uses these conduits. These conduits should be connected using specialised watertight fittings if they are utilised outside or in exposed regions.
RIGID METAL CONDUIT (RMC)
Heavyweight galvanised steel is used to make rigid metal conduit, which is attached using threaded fittings. RMC is regarded as one of the most expensive electrical wiring alternatives available. However, it significantly increases strength and durability, which is a great advantage.
For added protection against damage, RMT has frequently been used outside. Additionally, it offers structural support, especially for cables, electrical panels, and other equipment.
INTERMEDIATE METAL CONDUIT (IMC)
IMC, which is used in the same applications as RMC, is a lighter and thinner variant of RMC. This conduit is utilised more frequently in new construction since it is lighter and much easier to deal with than RMC.
IMC is used to protect conductors and insulated electrical wires and is rated for outdoor exposure. For projects where cost is a concern, it is a very cost-effective option.
ELECTRICAL NONMETALLIC TUBING (ENT)
ENT (electrical nonmetallic tubing) has a thin wall and is corrugated; it is not fire rated, although it is flame retardant. ENT, which is renowned for its remarkable flexibility, may be manually bent in the field without the use of any special tools or heat. PVC ENT is offered in trade sizes up to 2 inches. It can only have supports spaced no further apart than three feet from terminations.
Although it is frequently employed inside walls or within concrete blocks, it is not permitted for use in exposed areas.
FLEXIBLE METAL CONDUIT (FMC)
Flexible metal conduit is also referred to as “Greenfield,” which is the name of its inventor. It is extremely flexible due to its spiral design. FMC is regarded as a great alternative in many situations where tighter curves and confined spaces are necessary. Regular conduits are difficult to bend in tight bends, necessitating the use of flexible conduits.
FMC can be used through walls and even other constructions because of its flexibility. For dry interior environments, which typically only persist for brief durations, standard FMC is frequently employed. Simple installations of flexible conduit can be seen in devices like lights, water heaters, and attic vents.
LIQUID-TIGHT FLEXIBLE METAL CONDUIT (LFMC)
An uncommon variety of flexible metal conduit used with sealed fittings are referred to as liquid-tight flexible metal conduit. Despite having a plastic coating, the components that make up the LFMC as a whole have made it impermeable. As a result, this liquid-tight conduit is adaptable both in terms of how it is used and how it is designed.
Since it shields wires from liquids, corrosive substances, dust, and physical damage, it has applications in outdoor equipment such as air conditioner units.
POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC) CONDUIT
These conduits can be easily installed using glue-attached plastic fittings. Once heated within a heater box, it is easily bendable. The key advantages of employing these conduits include simple installation, versatility, lighter weight, affordable price, and use in concrete and underground applications.
We can therefore draw the conclusion that electrical conduits are absolutely necessary for shielding the wiring system in homes, buildings, and commercial structures from moisture, dust, chemical vapours, impact, etc. These are made from various materials such as plastic, metal, burned clay, or fibre. Although flexible conduits are primarily employed for a few specific reasons, the majority of conduits are rigid.