It is well known that electrical wiring comes in aluminium and copper. But not everyone understands the fundamental operational differences between the two conductors. In order to understand the pros and cons, here is a comparison of cables with copper and aluminium current conducting conductors.
Let’s start with aluminum. Aluminium is one of the most popular metals used by mankind. It is very lightweight and flexible. Aluminium wire weighs much less than copper wire with the same cross section, this lightness of aluminium combined with its low cost makes it an attractive alternative to copper. However, its ductility is relative — if aluminium is bent several times in the same place, it will break much faster than copper wire.
Its electrical conductivity is also lower than that of copper, so for an equally loaded network, aluminium cable with a current conducting conductor cross-section greater by approx. 30% than copper cable should be used. This partly balances out the cheapness and weight of aluminium, especially when the cable is laid in a thick bundle. In turn, copper has a better conductivity than aluminium. With the same cross-sectional area of current conducting conductor, copper can withstand higher loads than aluminium. In addition, copper has higher chemical resistance. Most importantly, it is much simpler and more reliable in its electrical connections than aluminium.
So which cable is better — copper or aluminum?
Considering the above-mentioned advantages, cables with copper current conducting conductors are preferable to cables with aluminium current conducting conductors but with a larger cross-section.
While an aluminium cable will be light and cheap, a cable with copper current conducting conductor is characterized by good electrical conductivity, low resistance, sufficient strength, but also a high price.
Be guided by your needs and abilities!