Make the Right Call: Copper Versus Aluminium for Industrial Electrical Conductors

Power is one of the most helpful resources in any industrial facility. You need it to run different equipment, light the area, produce heat and perform other functions for your business operations. For you to enjoy a reliable power supply, you need good quality installation premised on the best conductors you can find. The conductors' role is to carry power from the primary source to various outlets where you can use it conveniently. Here is a piece that compares copper and aluminium conductors to help you make the right call:

Corrosion of the Conductor

Corrosion is a major issue for anyone who wants to carry out electrical installations. The corrosion elements hitting the conductor's heart will hinder the current carrying capacity of the conductor, keeping it from supplying the desired amount of voltage. Sadly, corrosive elements are aggressive in industrial and processing setups where heat, steam and chemical products prevail.

Copper conductors are a great alternative for areas where corrosion is a big threat. They stand up to most organic chemical elements and operate efficiently in industrial environments. Overhead conductors installed outdoors may have a green patina after some time, but this layer is a protective element and it doesn't affect the carrying capacity of the conductor. On the other hand, aluminium conductors are prone to oxidation in outdoor and salty problem. You will have to remove the oxidation layer after some time or apply an inhibiting element to prevent oxidation. This makes aluminium conductors expensive in the long run.

Thermal Expansion Coefficient

The thermal expansion coefficient is a critical consideration when you are choosing a conductor for industrial applications. Essentially, this coefficient is a measure of the conductor's change in volume in response to temperature changes. Copper has a lower thermal expansion coefficient value than aluminium, meaning that its volume doesn't change significantly when temperatures fluctuate. Low coefficients reduce the risk of destructive forces around the conductor's joints and sagging. They are suitable for overhead conductor installation to keep the conductors from hanging too close to adjacent structures.

Soldering and Joining

Think about installations where you need to solder and join the conductor to other devices. It would help to have a conductor that works well with soldered joints and forms strong connections to eliminate any risks. Copper, unlike aluminium, is one of the best materials for those who want to solder joints on their conductors. When you combine this attribute with copper's conductivity, it excels in many applications compared to aluminium.

Contact an industrial electrician in your area to learn more.