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The practicality of copper clad aluminum wire

Update:19-02-2022
Summary:

Copper-clad aluminum wire is made of solid aluminum cor […]

Copper-clad aluminum wire is made of solid aluminum core wrapped with copper skin to improve its performance in the field. Copper-clad aluminum wire consists of a solid aluminum core covered with a thin copper cladding. About 10% of the conductor cross-sectional area is copper clad and the thickness is not specified.

Copper-clad aluminum wire is available in the most common insulation materials, including THHN, THWN, XHHW, and USE. Currently, it is popular in NM and MC applications in residential and commercial projects as a SER and SEU type service cable. Copper-clad aluminum wire is also popular in some low-voltage applications, including coaxial and twisted pair cables. It is not suitable for Cat-rated cables due to signal performance issues.

Copper-clad aluminum wire has been in NEC since 1971. Regarding the ampacity, it is listed as the same as aluminum. Size 14 is considered in the current code cycle and is rated at 10A. This is useful for many of the low current circuits we see in LED lighting applications. Before including copper-clad aluminum wire in your estimate and installation, make sure you understand the advantages, disadvantages, and installation and termination requirements of copper-clad aluminum wire.

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