Types of Conductors used in Power Distribution

Electrical conductors are types of metals that allows the electric current to flow through it. The electric conductor is made up of different metals like aluminium, copper, gold, etc. and their alloys.

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Aluminium is commonly used for conducting electricity instead of copper due to its pricing.  In India, the Aluminium overhead conductors are manufactured as per IS 398.

Copper is a very good conductor of electricity when compared to aluminium but it is not economically feasible to use copper conductor for long-distance power transmission.

Aluminium is a soft metal noted for its lightness. Aluminium is not typically strong in its pure form. To increase its strength, we commonly use its alloys or reinforced version for conducting electricity. 

The types of aluminium conductors used in power distribution are discussed: 

  • All Aluminium Conductor (AAC): All aluminium conductor (AAC) is lesser in strength. This type of conductor is used for shorter span (distance). If compared with ACSR conductor, AAC has somewhat better conductivity. 
  • All Aluminium Alloy Conductor (AAAC): AAAC has a similar construction as of AAC except the alloy. The conductor is light in weight due to the absence of steel in it. AAAC has a stronger tensile strength, there it is used for a longer span (distance).  Due to its lighter weight, it is used AAAC conductors are used in power transmission where lighter weight support is required.
  • Aluminium Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSR): Unlike AAC, ACSR is used for longer span (distance) keeping the sag minimum. ACSR conductor consists of 7, 19, or more steel strands (depending upon the application) surrounding the aluminium strand in circles. Strands provide flexibility, better mechanism, and minimize breakage.
  • Aluminium Conductor Alloy Reinforced (ACAR): ACAR conductors are broadly used in overhead transmission and distribution lines. The cost is cheaper as compared to AAAC and it has excellent protection from corrosion. 

For larger conductor sizes, AAAC conductor is more recommended than ACSR conductor because of its significant strength/weight ratio and easiness in jointing. 

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