Copper & Aluminum Connectability Comparison

Toronto, September 7, 2006—Results of a study comparing the performance of copper and aluminum connectors and conductors clearly show the superiority of all-copper electrical systems.

The research was conducted by Powertech Labs Inc., of Surrey, B.C., and compared the performance under equivalent severe, accelerated testing conditions for the following three configurations:

  • Copper connectors on copper conductor
  • Aluminum connectors on copper conductor
  • Aluminum connectors on aluminum conductor

In the study, copper-to-copper, aluminum-to-copper and aluminum-to-aluminum assemblies were subjected to accelerated aging by corrosive environmental exposure, followed by current burst testing at predetermined times over 2,000 hours. This accelerated aging test accurately simulates the environment and operating conditions of present day systems. The copper-to-copper connections had very little change in resistance during testing, and performed the best in the study.

A paper on the study was presented at the IEEE Industry Applications Society (IAS) Meeting in late 2005 in Hong Kong, as well as at the 2005/2006 IEEE Power Engineering Society (PES) Transmission & Distribution Conference & Exposition in Dallas in May, 2006. It is titled: Corrosion and Current Burst Testing of Copper and Aluminum Electrical Power Connectors, by Vern Buccholz and Chris Morton of Powertech Labs and Ron Frank, Electrical Consultant, Canadian Copper & Brass Development Association.

The results of the study have been condensed and published by the Canadian Copper & Brass Development Association in Connecting with Copper is Connecting with Trust, No. 42E. Print copies are available from the Association's office, or the brochure may be downloaded from their web site at www.coppercanada.ca.

Seminars on copper wire and cable applications, including the connectability project, are being organized by the CCBDA. Consulting engineers and electrical contractors interested in having a one-hour event at their offices should e-mail library@copperalliance.ca. A schedule of visits across Canada will be developed from the response.

The Canadian Copper & Brass Development Association is Canada's central source for authoritative technical information on applications for copper, brass and bronze. Contact the CCBDA toll free at 1-877-640-0946, Fax at (416) 391-3823, or E-mail at library@copperalliance.ca.

Contact: Canadian Copper & Brass Development Association Toll Free 1-877-640-0946 Stephen Knapp sawknapp@coppercanada.ca