Advantages of aluminium cables
Aluminium cables are used across various industries and markets. In our last blog we shared the financial advantages of aluminium cables. Now we will focus on the physical advantages of aluminium cables. A second advantage is the weight of aluminium; it is much lighter in weight as compared to copper while maintaining the same conductivity.
Being light in weight is an important property of aluminium. This has made aluminium cables the most used cables in projects where weight is the main focus like constructions with load-bearing purposes.
The evolution of aluminium cables
Until the 1960s, the aluminium alloy 1350 was used. Its conductor was round and existed of pure aluminium. In the mid-1970s problems started to arise with the aluminium conductor 1350. The complaints involved termination failures by overheated and loose connections at power plants. This, in turn, resulted in fires caused by the usage of the aluminium alloy. Since then, a wide range of cables has been developed, tested and used. Many industries prefer aluminium cables for its lightweight in comparison to copper cables. Some examples are:
- All aluminium Conductors (AAC).
- All aluminium Alloy Conductors (AAAC).
- Aluminium Conductors Steel Reinforced (ACSR).
- Flexible conductors, like our PowerAmps.
Advantages and disadvantages of copper
Although silver is the best conductor of electricity, high prices of the metal limits its use. Thus, the most used conductors are aluminium cables and copper cables. Copper has a higher conductivity than aluminium. It is more flexible, has a higher tensile strength and can be easily soldered. However, copper is more expensive and heavier than aluminium.
Weight and conductivity of aluminium
As said, copper has a better conductivity than aluminium, but this is not necessarily an advantage of copper. The conductivity of aluminium is about 60 percent of the conductivity of copper. An aluminium cable with the same conductivity is always thicker but it weighs up to 50% less. In summary, a copper cable is smaller but much heavier. For example:
- An IEC60228 class 2 conductor weight of 240mm² aluminium is (approx.) 723kg/km.
- An IEC60228 class 2 conductor weight of 150mm² copper is (approx.) 1.341kg/km.
Both have the same electrical conductivity of 0,125 Ω/km and max. loading.
Why choose aluminium cables?
There is an obvious advantage in weight when using aluminium cables. That is why the most used conductors for overhead power lines are aluminium. Aluminium cables:
- Are cheaper.
- Are lighter in weight.
- Have the same conductivity as copper when comparing it on the basis of loading.
Atomic number: 13
Atomic weight: 26.9815386
Melting Point: 660,323 °C (933,437 K or 1220,581 °F)
Boiling Point: 2519 °C (2792 K or 4566 °F)
Density: 2,70 grams per cubic centimeter
Phase at room temperature: solid
Element classification: metal
More about the advantages of aluminium cables?
Recieve our eBook and you will find more information about:
- The history of aluminium cable development.
- The cost advantages of aluminium cables.
- The weight advantages of aluminium cables.
- The conductivity of aluminium cables.
- The installation and connectivity of aluminium cables.