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Reload Thread: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

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    Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    So lets say we had 2 buss bars.

    Both are 1.25in wide, .25in thick, and 5ft long.

    One copper and one Aluminum, the aluminum one is 2024 and the copper is 110 alloy.

    What would the current flow look like for each bar?

    What about the resistance?

    From everything Ive read, the Aluminum is 60% less conductive than the copper.



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    Its not 60%, but its significant enough that if you can afford the copper, you go copper

    I use aluminum personally for all distro blocks/buss bars, 6061 alum though




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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    According to the electrical contractors study book, its 60%



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    Go with the copper if its within your budget!! if your looking for some great copper I suggest these guys. same day/ 1 day shipping http://www.stormcopper.com/



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    I already know what Im going to use, I am looking for reasons other than "copper is a better conductor"

    No one here knows the current transfer between the diff alloys of copper and aluminum?



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    for normal 12v copper and alum are close to being the same. Copper you will get better current flow but you can use alum. It is when you start getting into 120/240v apps that you notice a bigger difference.
    If you were really worried get thicker alum so you get more area for the current to flow.
    But exact size to size copper is always better but can cost upwards of 2 times as much.



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    I always use copper in my builds:




    Just looks better, lol.



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    Ok, riddle me this, thicker material would cause more resistance on an already poor conductor(compared to copper) would it not?



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    Quote Originally Posted by rival904 View Post
    I already know what Im going to use, I am looking for reasons other than "copper is a better conductor"

    No one here knows the current transfer between the diff alloys of copper and aluminum?
    you would have to do a side by side test. What one person might get is going to be different from what you might get.



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    Quote Originally Posted by rival904 View Post
    Ok, riddle me this, thicker material would cause more resistance on an already poor conductor(compared to copper) would it not?
    sure and adding more power wire will cause more resistance too right....

    going smaller might



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    Quote Originally Posted by Street DreamsCC View Post
    sure and adding more power wire will cause more resistance too right....

    going smaller might
    Yea, but lets say you measure your voltage loss from the front to the back, and its 2V, add another wire and the voltage loss becomes 1V.

    So adding resistance = gaining more usable voltage?

    IE - two parallel 0 gauge cables will halve the resistance of a single 0 gauge cable (of the same length).



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    i use alum, i have used copper tho...
    basically what i have read is alum is 99.7% as conductive as copper... and aluminum is super light and doesnt rust like copper...

    so weigh your options... i just made my copper bus bars tonight... 1 inch wide 3/4 tall and 5 feet long.



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    Do you have access to a meter? Can you meter with the alum bars vs the copper bars?

    Where did you read that alum is 99.7% as conductive as copper?



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    Copper has a higher conductivity than aluminum. It is more ductile (can be drawn out). Copper has relatively high tensile strength (the greatest stress a substance can bear along its length without tearing apart). It can also be easily soldered. However, copper is more expensive and heavier than aluminum.

    Although aluminum has only about 60 percent of the conductivity of copper, its lightness makes long spans possible. Its relatively large diameter for a given conductivity reduces corona. Corona is the discharge of electricity from the wire when it has a high potential. The discharge is greater when smaller diameter wire is used than when larger diameter wire is used. However, the relatively large size of aluminum for a given conductance does not permit the economical use of an insulation covering.
    http://www.tpub.com/neets/book4/11e.html



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    Re: Copper vs Aluminum buss bars

    That number is wrong. And both aluminum and copper oxidizes at close to the same rate.

    Here is a conductivity chart with some other properties.
    http://www.wisetool.com/designation/cond.htm



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