Cold spray is the perfect solution for coating aluminum busbars with copper
Busbars are sophisticated pieces of technology that simplify, reduce costs, and increase the flexibility of intricate power distribution. A busbar is vital for transmitting significant current levels between functions inside the assembly in power-intensive electrical applications.
Copper and aluminium are the two most common conductors used in electrical equipment, including busbar trunking systems. Traditionally, copper is the conductor of choice for busbar trunking systems. However, in recent years, aluminum conductors have become more prevalent in the global busbar trunking market, offering specific advantages over copper.
When compared by volume, copper outperforms aluminum when it comes to electrical ratings—boasting lower electrical resistance, lower power loss, lower voltage drop, and higher ampacity. All of these contribute to the electrical efficiency of the busbar trunking system. However, when compared by weight, aluminum is more electrically efficient. This can be attributed to aluminum having a density 70% lower than copper, making it the perfect choice where busbar sizing is a non-issue.
The Impact Cold Spray System presents an exciting alternative, where a copper busbar trunking system can be replaced by aluminum, combining the thermal benefits of copper with lightweight aluminum.
The Cold Spray System, with a special powder injecting assembly, can deposit flat copper tracks on an aluminum busbar profile without masking. Cu-tracks were produced on an Al-alloy plate without masking, demonstrating the sharp edges of the coating tracks. Furthermore, a cross-section of the coating indicates the dense and uniform layer of Cu on the Al plate.
- The most important information at a glance
- Deposition efficiency > 98 %
- Porosity < 0.5 %
- Feeding rate 10 kg/h
- Sharp edges of the spray point
- Adjustable layer thickness with close tolerance (e.g. ± 50 mic)
- No masking used
- Adding a thin layer of copper on aluminum contact tracks will significantly increase the ampacity, directly influencing the size of aluminum busbars.
- Moreover, copper can prevent the oxidation of aluminum contact tracks.
- Besides, the deposition efficiency and deposition rates of copper powder by the cold spray process are 98% and 10 kg/h, respectively, indicating the potential of the Cold Spray process to realize a cost-effective large-scale industrial production.