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Copper Conductors VS Copper Clad Steel Conductors

Copper Conductors

Table of Contents

An Electrical Conductor is a material which allows electricity to flow through it. Conductors can generally be classified by the metals they are made from, which depends on what purpose a conductor is used for. In this blog, we will discuss two of the widely used conductors, i.e., Copper-clad steel conductors and Copper Conductors. However, there are various conductors available in the market, including:
    1. Copper-Clad Steel
    2. Copper
    3. High Strength Alloys
    4. Stainless Steel
    5. Bare Copper
    6. Tinned Copper
    7. Silver Coated Copper
    8. Nickel-Coated Copper


A) Copper-Clad Steel Conductors

Copper Clad Steel Conductor

Copper-clad steel conductors, also known as copper-covered steel conductors are essentially composite material conductors, consisting of a uniform low, medium or high carbon steel core surrounded by a thick layer of copper. The inner carbon steel core gives the conductor its high tensile strength, and the outer copper cladding provides its electrical conductivity.


Manufacturing of Copper-Clad Steel Conductors

Manufacturing of Copper-clad steel conductors is done by a unique cold rolling process, where a copper tube or cladding is formed around the carbon steel core. The outer copper cladding is uniformly and chemically bonded to the inner carbon steel conductor. Both the outer copper tube and the inner carbon steel conductor together are extruded (Squeezed)  or drawn to reduce the conductor cross-section of the Copper-clad steel conductors, thus forming by about 30%. It is then annealed (heated and slowly cooled) and thereafter further extruded to reduce the conductor cross-section by about 10%. The percentage values mentioned are typical.


Applications Copper-Clad Steel Conductors

Copper-clad steel conductors are widely used in grounding, i.e. connection of earthing rods to metallic structures, plates, and grid meshes, in power installations, substations, and for lightning arresters. Copper-clad steel conductors are also used for power transmission and radio frequency (RF) transmission lines.

Ufer Grounding


Advantages of Copper-Clad Steel Conductors

  • During the process of bonding copper and steel, the coating is created on the Copper-clad steel conductors to protect the wire from breakage and corrosion. This also gives them about 43% higher break-load capacity than Copper Conductors.
  • Due to its corrosion resistance, the wire has lasting durability and longevity, reducing maintenance costs.
  • Copper-clad steel conductors are about 10% lighter than Copper ones therefore their transportation costs are less and they are easier to handle during their installation and maintenance.
  • In Copper-clad steel conductors, the outer copper layer has a lower impedance than that of the inner steel core. So when these conductors are used in Radio Frequency transmission lines, the ‘skin effect’ at high frequency encounters low impedance in the copper cladding, which is equivalent to that of a solid copper conductor.
  • The tensile strength of Copper-clad steel conductors is greater than that of Copper Conductors. Therefore with Copper-clad steel conductors, the span lengths can be greater as compared to the span lengths achieved with pure copper ones.
  • Copper-clad steel conductors can be used in coaxial cables thereby allowing higher impedance and smaller cable diameter than by using  Copper Conductors of similar strength.
  • In Copper-clad steel conductors, the amount of the more expensive copper is lesser than the amount of steel, and the two metals (i.e. copper and steel) cannot be separated easily. Therefore, this has little scrap value and discourages theft. Copper-clad steel conductors exhibit lower impedance to the ground as compared to copper conductors, thus providing better protection to lines and equipment.


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    B) Copper Conductors

    These conductors are manufactured from copper having 99.95% purity. Their manufacturing is done by extruding or forcing pure copper ingots using an extrusion machine. The extrusion machine extrudes the copper through several dies in succession to get the desired conductor cross-section.

    Copper Conductor

    Where are Copper Conductors Used?

    These Conductors are used in power generation, power transmission, power distribution, telecommunications, electronics circuitry, and several types of electrical equipment. They are found to be ideal in permanent applications where the conductors, cables or wires are unlikely to be replaced or changed (e.g. concealed wiring inside walls). Also, Copper Conductors in the form of cables find ideal use in signal transmission over long distances since minimal current is required to drive the signals on account of the high conductivity of copper (conductors). They excel in transmitting high levels of data over these distances – and minimal current is necessary to push signals all the way through.


     Advantages of Copper Conductors

    • They possess very high conductivity, much higher than any of the other conventional conductors.
    • Copper exhibits durability and flexibility, which are the two big benefits of using them. The conductors can be easily bent back and forth, and are easy to form and shape. Solid copper as a conductor is usually preferred for longer cables.
    • These conductors have better bend radius and can retain better signal strengths over long distances.
    • They are most suited for permanent applications, such as concealed cabling inside walls, and other applications where the cables are not likely to be changed.
    • The expected lifespan of copper is 100 + years.



    When it comes to factors like strength, cost-effectiveness, economic feasibility and ease of handling, Copper-clad conductors appear to be a natural choice, being largely preferred across industries and utilities.

    We hope you now have a clear idea about all the 2 conductors. At Axis, we have a team of 40+ engineers who are here to help you in designing, installing and testing your Grounding and lightning Protection Systems. Our products have been used in substations, data centres, factories and even in everyday residential and commercial buildings.

    Thank you for reading the blog, Axis is a leading manufacturer and supplier of AB Cable Accessories and other Electrical Components to over 80+ Countries. To get a quote or to talk to our industry expert visit our contact us section. You can also watch our videos by our experts – click here.


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