ThePipingMart Blog Metals A Guide to Copper Bus Bar Materials, Current Carrying Capacity, and Coating

A Guide to Copper Bus Bar Materials, Current Carrying Capacity, and Coating

Copper Bus Bar

Copper bus bars are an essential part of electrical systems, as they provide a path for current to flow. They come in different materials, have varying current carrying capacities, and require certain coatings. In this blog post, we’ll review the basics of copper bus bar material selection, current carrying capacity, and coating.



Material Selection

The material used for a copper bus bar depends mainly on the application. The most common type of copper bus bar is made from oxygen-free high-conductivity (OFHC) copper, which offers superior conductivity compared to other types of copper. However, it requires very specific fabrication processes, which add cost to the overall product. Another option is CDA 101 OFHC copper, which provides good conductivity at a much lower cost than OFHC. This is often used in applications where tight tolerances are not required or where weight savings are desired. Finally, there is ETP copper, which is less expensive than either OFHC or CDA 101 OFHC but has higher resistivity due to greater impurities in the alloy.

Current Carrying Capacity

The current carrying capacity of any given bus bar depends on its size and shape as well as its material properties. Copper has one of the highest current carrying capacities per unit area of any metal – up to approximately 175 Amps per square inch – so it’s an ideal choice for many applications such as power distribution systems, electric motors, and more. As with any conductor, the larger the cross-sectional area of the copper bus bar being used, the greater its maximum ampacity will be at any given temperature rating.

Copper Bus Bar Coating

Due to its relatively low melting temperature and high thermal conductivity, proper insulation needs to be applied when using a copper bus bar in order to protect personnel from accidental contact with live parts or short circuits that could occur if moisture gets into an unprotected conductor joint or termination point. There are several types of coatings available for protecting a copper bus bar from corrosion and wear, including enamel paint/varnish, PVC tape wrap, and powder coatings like epoxy or polyurethane paints that can provide long-term protection against corrosion in harsh environments, such as marine or industrial settings.




Whether you need a single piece of equipment or an entire system designed around your application requirements, selecting the right type of copper bus bar material is essential for achieving optimal performance while still maintaining safety standards. With careful consideration given to material selection based on the current carrying capacity needed and protective coating applied prior to installation, you can ensure your system will last well into the future without requiring costly maintenance or repairs due to corrosion damage over time. By understanding how these components work together, you can ensure your electrical system meets industry standards while meeting all your performance needs without exceeding budget constraints!​

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