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Alloy Busbar

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Aluminum bus bar

Introduction

Aluminium for bus bars
    There are only two materials suitable as conductors of electricity. These are aluminium and copper. The materials are quite different, and both have advantages and disadvantages. It is inevitable that users of copper will compare the material that they are familiar with to aluminium. For this reason, where applicable, comparisons are provided.


    High voltage transmission lines are almost exclusively aluminium for reasons of weight and cost. Bus ducts are normally available in copper or aluminium. However, the choice for bus bars in switchboards and motor control centres is largely dependent on location rather than the merits of the material. Some countries use aluminium (unless otherwise specified), where others normally use copper.

Properties
Aluminium and Copper Specifications

Parameters Aluminium Copper
Relevant Standards IEC 60105
ISO 209-1,2
IEC 60028
Physical Properties
Chemical Composition
Specific Heat     gm.cal/℃
Density         gm/cm2
Melting Point    ℃  
 
 
0.092
2.91
660
 
99% pure
0.220
8.89
1083
Mechanical Properties
Ultimate Tensile Strength      kgf/mm2
Ultimate Shearing Strength    kgf/mm2
Elastic Modulus             kgf/mm2
0.2% Tensile-proof Strength   kgf/mm2
 
20.5/25
15
6,700
16.5/22
 
22-26
16-19
12000
60-80% of tensile strength
Electrical Properties
Specific Resistance         ʋʊcm
Volume Conductivity       ʋʊmm2
Conductivity              % IACS
Co-efficient of expansion    mm/m/℃
 
3.133
31.9
57
2.3*10-5
 
1.7241
58
100
1.73*10-5

The main considerations for both materials areMechanical Properties:
Electrical Properties
Reliability
Cost
Availability

                                          Mechanical Properties of Aluminum Bus Conductor and Related Alloys
                            (The Aluminum Association ; ASTM B 236, B 241, and B 429; and Manufacturer’s Listings)

 

Product Alloy and Temper Thickness in
Ultimates
Tensile Strength (ksi)
At 20 (68。F)
Typical 
Ultimate
Typical Yield Typical(a) 
Elongation
(Percent - in 2 in. 
Or 4 Dia)
Minimum 
Ultimate
Minimum 
Yield
Extruded rod, bar tube,
pipe and shapes
1350-H111 All 8.5 3.5     35.0
6101-T6 0.125-0.500 29.0 25.0 32.0 28.0 15.0
6101-T61 0.125-0.749
0.750-1.499
1.500-2.000
20.0
18.0
15.0
15.0
11.0
8.0
     
6101-T63
6101-H111
6101-T64
6101-T65
0.125-0.500
0.250-2.000
0.125-1.000
0.125-0.749
27.0
12.0
15.0
25.0
22.0
8.0
8.0
20.0
14.0 11.0  
Extruded pipe(c) 6061-T6
6063-T6
Pipe size 1.0 & 
over Pipe sizes,all
38.0
30.0
 
35.0
25.0
45.0
35.0
40.0
31.0
10.0 min
8.0 min
Rolled bar 1350-H12 0.125-1.000 12.0 8.0 14.0 12.0  
Sawed-plate bar or sheet 1350-H112 0.125-0.499
0.500-1.000
1.001-3.000
11.0
10.0
9.0
6.0
4.0
3.5
    10.0min
16.0min
22.0min
Rolled sheet
(for shearing or forming)
1350
1350-H12
1350-H14
0.020-0.249 8.0
12.0
14.0
  12.0
14.0
16.0
4.0
12.0
14.0
20-30 min
4-9 min
3-6 min
1350-H16
1350-H18
0.020-0.125 16.0
18.0
  18.0 16.0 2-4 min
2-4 min
Cast Alloy for Bus 1350-F 
1050
1 in. And up     8.5 3.5 35.0
Cast Alloy for Fittings A356.0-T61   37.0       5.0

The primary concern in the use of aluminium bus bars is the jointing between aluminium, and to dissimilar metals such as plain and plated copper. This is addressed by the application of a patented plating process.
It is this process that allows aluminium to be considered as a viable alternative where copper is predominant.



Properties

Aluminium bus bar Specifications
Pure aluminium has a conductivity of about 65% IACS (International Annealed Copper Standard)

Alloy 6101. This heat treatable wrought alloy is recognised internationally as providing the optimum combination of strength and electrical conductivity for bus bars.

Thermal Capacity
The thermal storage capacity of aluminium is 0.214 cal/gram/°C. For copper it is 0.092 cal/gram/°C. Therefore aluminium has a thermal storage capacity of more than 2-3 times that of copper. This is used to advantage in wound transformers, as
aluminium can withstand more surge and overload currents.

Conductivity
When the density of copper (8.89 gm/cm²) is compared to aluminium (2.91gm/cm²) and taking into consideration the conductivity ratio of aluminium to copper of 57% for grade 6101 aluminium, aluminium has approximately 1.85 times that of copper. Copper has a greater conductivity on an equal volume, cross sectional area basis.

Mechanical Strength
Aluminium does have a lower tensile strength (37%) than copper for the same cross section of material. However, approximately 66% greater cross-section of grade 6101 aluminium is required to carry the same amount of current as would be required for a copper conductor, so the larger cross-section of aluminium approaches the tensile strength of copper for a given ampacity.

Weight
Aluminium is approximately 30% of copper of the same size. 



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