The characteristics and application of aluminum—Aluminum instead of copper

In the 1960s, aluminum-core cables were widely used in place of copper-core cables worldwide. When the copper resources in our country were tight in the 1970s, and there was not a lot of foreign exchange to import copper, so we also proposed “replacing copper with aluminum” to produce aluminum cables in large quantities.

However, in the 21st century, with the continuous development of electronic technology, a new concept of “substituting aluminum for copper” has been given. Mainly in the field of heat exchange and heat dissipation, many all-aluminum products or aluminum-copper composite products have appeared.Aluminum has been widely used,The advantages of aluminum‘s low density, light weight, excellent electrical conductivity, good thermal conductivity and moderate price are brought into full play.
aluminum instead of cooper

Wire and Cable:

Aluminum has the advantages of light weight, excellent electrical conductivity (60-61% of copper), and low price, so it has been widely used in the wire and cable industry. Even though aluminum’s conductivity is 61% of copper, its density is 2.68, which is only one-third of copper’s. Under the same resistance, the weight of aluminum wire is only 46.6% of copper wire. Replacing copper with aluminum wire can greatly reduce the weight of the wire and the weight of the bridge tower supporting the wire, thereby saving investment. In the early 20th century, thermal power generation technology had not yet been applied, and power generation relied on water conservancy, so the transmission distance at that time often reached 2000km away, and the demand for aluminum cables was large.

aluminum wire cable

aluminum cable


aluminum copper busbar

Heat exchange and heat dissipation field:

The discussion of “replacing copper with aluminum” in 2007 was only for copper-aluminum connecting pipes, and only a small part of the replacement was involved. In recent years, the successful development of “all-aluminum heat exchanger” can be said to have replaced all copper parts with aluminum except valves on air-conditioning products.Further deepen the air conditioner “replacing copper with aluminum”. ”Replacing copper with aluminum” not only saves precious copper resources, but also leads the replacement of material applications in the air-conditioning industry. Again, “substituting aluminum for copper” is the best option to reduce costs. If an air conditioner adopts copper-aluminum connecting pipes and all-aluminum heat exchangers, the cost of the whole machine can be reduced by more than 25%. For the air-conditioning industry, it is not only possible to resolve the capital pressure caused by rising copper prices through replacement, but also to expand consumer groups by reducing product prices, thereby ensuring that air-conditioning is popularized in the third- and fourth-tier markets represented by rural areas. Fourth, the difficulty of outdoor installation of the air conditioner is reduced, and the weight of the outdoor unit of the air conditioner is greatly reduced after the realization of “replacing copper with aluminum”, which is very beneficial to the installation and operation of the installer at high altitude. It not only reduces the difficulty of installation and maintenance, but also helps the safety of installation and maintenance staff.

copper-aluminum composite heat sink

heat exchange

Gold and silver have better thermal conductivity, but the disadvantage is that the price is too high, and the heat dissipation effect of pure copper is second, but the same disadvantages are high cost, heavy weight, and corrosion resistance.Aluminum has excellent thermal conductivity. The thermal conductivity of pure aluminum is 237W/mK, but it is already very good. Therefore, most heat sinks are now made of light and strong aluminum, which is simple to produce and cost-effective.

cooper aluminum busbar


air-condition heat exchange

The debate on copper and aluminum cables has also been hotter these years. As for the comparison between good and bad, it mainly depends on the use, comprehensive environmental factors, social factors (such as theft, etc.), design requirements (the current type of aluminum wire is too large Satisfaction, common in low-voltage high-power loads), capital budget and many other factors, it should be said that it is good to use it in a suitable place.

Post time: Apr-19-2022