You may familiar with some Insulation and Jacket type such as
RHW-2 OR RHH OR USE-2
Here are only few cable types and their applications example:
600 V THHN Copper conductor: For use in general wiring application and power in conduit.
600 V RHW-2 Copper Conductor: For use in harsh environments for general wiring direct burial.
300 V UL type PLTC: This is a multi-pair instrumentation cable: For use in instrumentation and process control applications
Copper Electrical Wire
Copper is the common used because copper is a very good conductor, and is easy to mold and bend.
Aluminum Electrical Wire
Aluminum is cheaper and more abundant than copper. It is also easy to shape and bend.
More important for electrical designer is to select the right size of electrical wire . The following link is the method of how to determine cable size.
Electrical Wire Size
Before selecting electrical cable, There are much more but here are just some criteria s to keep in mind :
Electrical wire size using table 310.16 NEC2008 on page 70-148. Simply calculate amperage (current) flow through the circuit and then apply the table.
Apply table to calculate electrical wire size
Wire size calculator