Why Copper And Aluminium Wires Employed For Electricity Transmission?

The most used materials for electrical transmission are copper and aluminum. This is due to the outstanding conductive qualities of both metals, making electricity able to move swiftly, safely, and effectively. But Why Copper And Aluminium Wires Employed For Electricity Transmission? Let’s examine the advantages of these two metals.

Why Copper And Aluminium Wires Employed For Electricity Transmission?

Due to their low resistivity, copper and aluminum wires are typically utilized for electricity transmission. Low resistivity reduces resistance, which raises the circuit’s current capacity. They effectively conduct electricity as a result.

Copper And Aluminium Wires Employed For Electricity Transmission

Is A Copper Or An Aluminium Wire Used In An Electric Power Transmission?

It depends on several variables. Steel, nickel, and other combinations are employed for various tasks.

Wherever unsupported lengths over 10m (30 ft) are required, aluminum and its alloys—which are pliable and soft—are typically used as a jacket over a steel core with many strands.

Nowadays, copper is typically saved for transformers, extremely short lengths, or installs in homes.

Is A Copper Or An Aluminium Wire Used In An Electric Power Transmission

A few years ago, they attempted to use aluminum and its alloys in home construction in the US (and for a much shorter period in the UK) with terrible results.

The problem wasn’t with the technology but how the old dinosaurs installed it.

Because they were a few percent more expensive than the standard brass/copper outlets and switches that people were used to using, nobody wanted to buy the appropriate outlets and switches.

Sorry, but even Tom would have facepalmed so loudly at that one that Menlo Park may have heard it.

However, jacketed aluminum alloys work well for HVAC and HVDC overhead runs, and power companies are willing to spend an extra penny to get the job done correctly.

Why Copper And Aluminium Are Used For Electrical Transmission Lines?

Due to their physical characteristics, copper and aluminum are frequently utilized for electrical transmission lines.

Since copper has a low resistance and is a good conductor of electricity, high voltage can travel longer distances without experiencing large energy losses in heat.

To connect conductors to the insulators, copper is very adaptable and simple to form. Aluminum has the benefit of weighing just one-third as much as copper, which makes it more affordable when used for longer transmission lines.

Why Copper And Aluminium Are Used For Electrical Transmission Lines

Additionally, it can endure high temperatures better than other materials and corrodes considerably less quickly than copper; because of this, copper and aluminum are used for electrical transmission lines due to their balance of effectiveness, cost, weight, corrosion resistance, and temperature tolerance.

Why Do We Make Electrical Transmission Cables Out Of Aluminium?

Aluminium is preferred for electrical transmission cables due to its exceptional qualities. While still strong and resilient enough to survive extreme temperatures and high voltage conductivity, it is lightweight and pliable, making it simple to mould into the appropriate forms.

Aluminum is an environmentally favorable choice compared to other materials like copper and steel because it is non-toxic and recyclable.

Aluminum has low resistance levels, which minimize energy loss during transfer despite its cost-effectiveness.

This makes aluminum perfect for electrical transmission wires since it guarantees optimal effectiveness in power distribution, making them a top choice for engineers searching for a cost-effective answer to their needs.

Why Aren’t Copper Transmission Lines Used?

Utilized is Aluminum. Aluminum has around 1.6 times as much resistance per foot for an equivalent gauge, similar to copper’s conductivity.

Therefore, aluminum would suffer 60% greater I2R losses in equal wire diameters.

However, aluminum has two advantages that make it worthwhile to use. Its density is around 1/3 that of the same volume of weight.

The towers can be built for less money because they don’t have to be as strong by a factor of.66.

They don’t have to be as close together because we can increase the cross-section area by 2 (making it 1.414 times the diameter), it will have 0.8 times the I2R loss of copper, and it will still be 2/3 times as heavy.

Second, copper costs almost six times as much as aluminum per unit of weight. That indicates that even though we utilized only 2/3 of the weight above, the cost of the wire itself is still 10% more (.66 x 1/6), even after accounting for the savings in tower costs I mentioned previously.

It should be emphasized that the typical cost of high-tension power lines is $285,000 per mile, and that figure likely refers to aluminum wires.

The cost per mile would easily quadruple if copper were used, considering the savings mentioned above and the lower generation costs.

Assuming we utilize aluminum wire that is 1.4 times thicker than the copper wire we would use, we cut resistance by 20%, reduce I2R power losses from around 6% to 5%, and save 1% of all energy generated and transmitted for the foreseeable future.

  • Due to the wire’s weight being 66% copper, we reduce the construction cost by 33% while maintaining tower strength.
  • Due to material costs, we can save 90% of the cost of the wire. CU vs. AL

It can be more complex in reality because transmission line wires made of aluminum typically have a steel core for added strength.

Additionally, skin impact is a factor. Tower size and cost are impacted by ice loading and wind loads.

Construction costs are one-time, but efficiency is continuous savings, so it may be necessary to use more aluminum and increase wire weight to increase the wire gauge.

Extensive tradeoff spreadsheets compare the cost benefits for the various amounts of aluminum to determine what makes the most sense and provide the quickest payback.

Is Aluminium Wiring Suitable For Home Electrical Use?

Following a significant copper price increase, it was widely tested in the US in the 1970s. 8–10 years later, there was a sharp increase in house fires.

The aluminum has certain problems since it contracts and expands due to heat during use cycles, allowing air to enter the joints and oxidizing the metal to form ohmic joints.

Heavy loads, increased resistance, and mechanical pressure loss eventually lead to excessive heating, overheated switches and outlets, and eventual house fires.

Even though there are now recognized solutions to this problem (specific COALR fittings and a grease coating to stop joint oxidation), remediation is expensive but less so than completely rewiring the house.

Now that we have the knowledge and technology not available in the 1960s and 1970s, it is possible to wire a house safely using aluminum wire.

But Aluminum’s standing has suffered. In my lifetime, aluminum internal house wiring is unlikely to be used frequently again.

When connecting to the home’s meter entrance point, where they have good control over the termination processes and quality, the electrical power company still frequently employs aluminum wiring.

Why Does Copper Conduct Electricity Better Than Other Metals?

The top four metals, from best to worst in terms of electrical conductivity, are as follows to rectify a few incorrect responses:

  • Aluminum, Silver, Copper, Gold

Because gold is used to plate electrical contacts, some people could believe that it is superior to copper.

This isn’t because gold is a greater conductor; rather, it’s because gold reacts less with elements like oxygen, sulfur, and chlorine, which decrease the conductivity of other metals when combined with them.

For example, copper sulfate and copper oxide do not conduct electricity as well as elemental copper.

The simple reason is that copper conducts electricity better than most other metals because its electrons can travel more freely.

Because silver has ever-freer electrons than copper (in layman’s words), copper is not a better conductor than silver.


These were Why Copper And Aluminium Wires Employed For Electricity Transmission? Due to their superior conductive qualities and relative affordability compared to other materials, copper and aluminum are two crucial elements for electric transmission.

The non-precious metal with the highest electrical conductivity is copper, but aluminum is lightweight and effective at transporting electricity over long distances.

Both metals have several benefits that make them priceless materials in today’s power transmission and distribution world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is aluminum wire more preferred for electrical transmission lines than copper wire?

Since aluminum has a density of just one-third that of copper, the aluminum wire will be significantly thicker but lighter than copper, because aluminum has a greater conductivity-to-weight ratio than copper, we favor using aluminum for overhead power connections.

What characteristics of copper and aluminum make them effective electrical conductors?

Copper and aluminum’s high electrical conductivity makes them ideal for constructing electrical cables.

Why are transmission lines made of aluminum wire?

Aluminum and copper both make excellent conductors. They consequently have very poor resistivities. They are utilized in the transmission of power as a result.

Why aren’t copper transmission lines used?

In the past, copper was frequently used as a conductor for transmission lines. Still, aluminum conductors have completely supplanted copper due to their less cost and lighter weight when contrasted to copper conductors of the same resistance.

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