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Aluminum-Alkaline Metal-Metal Composite Conductor

Stage: Development
Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a high strength, lightweight aluminum wire for high-voltage power transmission with reduced electrical resistance for overhead electrical lines.

The Al/Ca composite has demonstrated promising corrosion resistance and elevated temperature performance properties while creep and fatigue strengths are being investigated. High-voltage electric power transmission cables based on pure aluminum strands with a stranded steel core (ACSR) or stranded aluminum alloy (ACAR) core have the disadvantages of mediocre tensile strength, high density, and poor strength and conductivity retention at elevated temperatures. This combination of properties causes excessive sag in overload situations and limits the mechanical tension the cables can bear in icing and high wind situations. Alternative materials that increase cable strength generally have poor conductivity and/or high cost. Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have discovered a method to produce an aluminum matrix wire composite with reduced density that adds strength while retaining maximum ampacity.


Applications and Industries

High-voltage wires and cables for electrical transmission


Simple (manufacturing methods are similar to those used now)

Effective (high electrical conductivity and strength at both ambient and high temperatures)

Economical (use of low cost materials)