Can You Connect Copper Wire to Aluminum Wire?

Can You Connect Copper Wire to Aluminum Wire? The answer is no.

Why can’t copper wire and aluminum wire be connected?

Why can't copper wire and aluminum wire be connected together
Copper aluminum wire joint

Copper and aluminum have distinct chemical and physical properties, and it is not advisable to connect them directly. However, in some cases, connecting the two metals may be necessary.

In such situations, a transition clamp, joint, or tinned wire can be used to make a direct connection. For example, a copper-aluminum transition clamp or a tinned copper wire can be used to connect copper and aluminum.

The direct connection of copper and aluminum is not recommended due to their differing electrochemical properties. When they come into contact with an electrolyte, such as water mixed with impurities like carbon dioxide, they form a chemical battery.

Aluminum has a tendency to lose electrons and becomes the negative electrode, while copper has a lower tendency to lose electrons and becomes the positive electrode, resulting in a 1.69V electromotive force between the two electrodes. The resulting small current corrodes the aluminum wire, a phenomenon known as electrochemical corrosion. This leads to poor contact between the copper and aluminum, which increases the contact resistance.

When a current passes through the joint, the temperature rises and accelerates the corrosion, creating a vicious cycle that can cause the joint to burn and even result in a fire. To prevent these issues, it is important to use a transition clamp, joint, or tinned wire when connecting copper and aluminum.

Advantages and disadvantages of copper wire and aluminum wire

Copper wire has several advantages over aluminum wire in the same application area. It has a higher load capacity, greater flexibility, lower resistivity, and better stability. However, the cost of copper wire is approximately 3.5 times higher than that of aluminum wire, leading many people to opt for aluminum to save money. Despite this, we strongly recommend using copper wire as it is worth the investment.

It is not possible to directly connect copper wire and aluminum wire. If you have used aluminum wire in the past and are now considering switching to copper, the two cannot be connected directly.

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Shane
Author

Shane

Founder of MachineMFG

As the founder of MachineMFG, I have dedicated over a decade of my career to the metalworking industry. My extensive experience has allowed me to become an expert in the fields of sheet metal fabrication, machining, mechanical engineering, and machine tools for metals. I am constantly thinking, reading, and writing about these subjects, constantly striving to stay at the forefront of my field. Let my knowledge and expertise be an asset to your business.

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