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Why Copper Is The Best Choice For Electrical Connectors?

What is Copper?

When it comes to copper, is a fairly well-known metal that serves a variety of functions and is practically ubiquitous. Its coloration is reddish-metallic. It is one of the first metals that people used and discovered, and it is also widely accessible. It functions as a natural antibiotic. Creating alloys with other elements also makes extensive use of it. Wires used in electrical systems are one application for copper. It’s likely constructed of copper whether it’s a power wire for a TV, computer, kitchen appliance, or construction tool. This reddish-brown metal, which has the atomic number 29, has become indispensable to our daily lives by powering numerous electronics.

What are Electrical Connectors?

Connectors are components or tools used to connect or detach circuits electrically, among other things. They can be connected and disconnected manually or with basic tools, without the need for specialized equipment or procedures like soldering.

Even though there are many different connector types, the vast majority are either one-piece connectors that are used alone or two-piece connectors that include a plug and socket. Printed circuit boards and wires are directly connected to connectors using one-piece types.

When a two-piece type has a plug and a socket, the plug and the socket are coupled in the contact part, and the printed circuit board or electrical wire is attached in the connection section.

Features and Properties of Copper

The whole electrical circuits in homes, schools, offices, and other buildings are composed of copper because of their incredible electrical conductivity. Here are some features of copper that make it an appropriate fit for electric connectors:

  1. A metal must have a minimum or zero resistivity to be able to conduct electric currents across its surface. Because currents must run through it, it must be flexible, which is what makes it such a fantastic electrical conductor. The following feature of copper makes it an excellent electrical conductor. It is flexible because of its extremely low resistance. Copper is the second-highest conductive metal after silver. This makes it easier for electricity to travel through, making it perfect for use in electrical wiring. Other conductive metals are available for use in manufacturing electrical cables. However, unless they employ silver, copper’s high conductivity capabilities enable electrical current to go farther. Compared to the majority of other conductive metals, copper can be used by businesses to produce longer, better-performing electrical lines.
  2. Due to the stiff intermolecular bonds in other minerals, copper is also extremely flexible, which is uncommon. But because of its incredible flexibility, copper can be bent to form wires and other shapes. Additionally, it can withstand a lot of power flowing through it. Because of its widespread use and low cost, it is also incorporated into practically all electrical circuit systems.
  3. Copper is corrosion-resistant, which increases its dependability as a conductor of electricity. Copper doesn’t rust easily, but it does form a layer known as a copper oxide that is a shade of green. Since it does not rust away, but rather shields the metal from corrosion, it is not damaging to the metal itself.
  4. Copper is inexpensive, comparatively speaking to other metals, copper is likewise a cheap metal. For instance, gold is a superior electrical conductor, but it is far more expensive than copper. Copper is more conductive and less expensive than gold, thus using gold to make electrical cables would effectively be a waste of money. Copper should be the de facto standard for electrical wires for this reason alone.
  5. It has High Diffusivity. Copper is conductive in addition to being ductile. In other words, copper can be bent and flexed to a certain extent without breaking or suffering any other damage. Why is this crucial? Because of this, electrical lines frequently have to pass through confined places like walls, floors, and ceilings. They will therefore inevitably bend and snake their way around the house or structure where they are employed. Copper’s ductile qualities allow for the bending and flexing of copper electrical cables. They won’t lose any power from shape deformity and will continue to transmit electricity.
  6. Copper is also known for being Thermal Resistant. Thermal resistance is a benefit of copper electrical lines that is frequently disregarded. In the United States, electrical fires are said to be the cause of more than 51,000 residential house fires annually, and that doesn’t include commercial or business fires. Due to their heat resistance, copper electrical wires are safer to use than wires composed of the majority of other conductive metals.

Why is Copper chosen for Electrical Connectors?

Metal resistance must be overcome by the power source for an electrical current to pass through it. The lower a metal’s level of resistance, the better its electrical conductivity. Additionally, due to its low resistance, copper wire is a superior electrical conductor.

Copper is also highly flexible material. Electrical connectors and wires must be able to handle heavy electrical loads at once, however, the majority of metals that bear these loads are hard to bend. On the other hand, copper is still easily movable and has the perfect amount of thickness for handling household levels of power.

Finally, compared to other metals, copper is less oxidative. Oxidation is a term that is frequently used concerning rust. It takes place when the surface of a metal reacts with the oxygen and moisture in the air. The metal corrodes as a result of this reaction, creating a film-like layer. Although copper doesn’t rust, it can develop a copper oxide patina that is a bluish-green color. But unlike rust, this layer prevents corrosion on the metal without affecting conductivity.

Bare copper wires are the most economically viable parts of modern engineering machinery and equipment. From small electric kettles to enormous blast furnaces, every electrical equipment contains bare copper in some way. With its remarkable physical and electromagnetic properties, copper is recognized as a key component in the development of electrical science. Nowadays, copper may be found in practically all facets of life.

Difference between Aluminium and Copper

Aluminum can also be utilized for all electrical applications, however, copper has a few advantages.

To begin with, aluminum is more prone to oxidation and has a lower conductivity than copper. The aluminum oxide that develops on the surface can delay the flow of electricity since it is not conductive like copper oxide. Aluminum needs anti-oxidant cream to flow freely and stop this oxidation.

Safety considerations must be taken into account when contrasting electrical connectors made of aluminum and copper. Aluminum wiring can become loose over time due to the metal’s ability to expand and contract as it heats and cools, which poses a serious fire risk.

Although these safety concerns can be reduced, doing so will call for unique considerations.

Arc Fault Interrupters, special fixtures that go well with aluminum wiring, and “pig-tailing” copper wire for aluminum wire ends are a few examples of these. Contrarily, copper wire is safer to use and necessitates fewer safety measures.

Copper is much superior material for electrical wiring in small places because of these characteristics. It’s just a superior option given the metal’s flexibility, resistance to heat expansion, and general safety issues.

Precautions while using Copper in Electrical Connectors

Even though copper electrical connectors are safer than aluminum ones, electricity is still dangerous. Therefore, take the necessary safety precautions when working on a wiring job.

One has to be cautious when using copper electrical conductors.

For the size and quantity of wires that are to be joined, using the appropriate copper wire connector is advisable.

Utilization of only UL (Underwriters Laboratories)-recommended electrical copper connectors can give better results. 

Ensure that the connector completely encloses the wire ends. Wire covering with electrical tape is not a secure alternative.

The ends of the wires could become damaged while being reconnected. To make the connection as secure as feasible, trim the ends and re-strip the insulation.

When you’re finished, gently tug on the wires to make sure the connection is tight.

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Why Copper Is The Best Choice For Electrical Connectors?

by Piping Mart time to read: 5 min