As copper prices fluctuate and become more unstable, some end users are opting for wire with aluminum conductors to be more competitive in their markets. Despite some of our customer’s requests for more aluminum wire, The Mueller Group carries only products with copper conductors. For the markets that we cater to, copper products are simply the best material to be used. Even though it may not be the cheapest, it is almost always the most cost-effective, because of its properties.
- Copper is more conductive than Aluminum. Therefore, more aluminum will need to be used in order for the wire to carry the same current. The weight of aluminum wire will be less, but it will be greater in surface area.
- Copper will hold up better over time than Aluminum. As various different currents pass thorough the conductors, they will expand and contract depending on the change in temperature. Aluminum is more affected by this and it will lead to a permanent deformation of the wire and loss of transmission.
- When Copper oxidizes, is produces a very thin layer. Aluminum develops a thicker layer of oxide. The buildup of oxide can lead to problems at the termination point and connectivity issues.
When selecting a type of conductor there are many factors that need to be considered. Given the applications that our cables are used in, Aluminum is not a cost effective option. It has a low initial cost, but when used in the wrong application it can have a very high life-cycle cost.
Contact The Mueller Group to learn more about how to find the right cable for your application.