The first aluminium wires/conductors appeared at the end of the 19th century in the US. In Chicago in 1880, a railway station supervisor noticed that exterior copper wiring quickly deteriorated because the steam from the locomotive corrodes the copper. We cannot know what encouraged him to try aluminium as a substitute, but nonetheless, the copper wiring some one hundred metres long was replaced by aluminium, which seemed to be longer lasting, despite the fact that the number of trains at the station increased each year.
Since then, the amount of aluminium in the electrical industry has only been on the rise. Nowadays, 13% of all aluminium produced in the world is used in this sector.
Aluminium wiring successfully outdoes its traditional copper counterpart; it is 3.3 times lighter, highly resistant to corrosion, with a high thermal conductivity, and approximately 3 times cheaper. The high electrical conductivity of aluminium allows for its use in manufacturing exposed cables in overhead power lines, insulated communications cables, adjusting wires, and wire wrapping.
Transmission and distribution of electricity, the clear market leader is non-insulated aluminium wire with a composite core with a low thermal linear expansion coefficient. This wire from a heat-resistant aluminium alloy allows for greater electric power transmission.
The application of aluminium in the electricity sector is found more and more, such as in the manufacture of power transformers. Thus, 85% of transformer windings category 1 -1V (distribution substations) are manufactured from aluminium. Aluminium and aluminium alloys are also widely used in production of capacitors.
At the same time, aluminium application in the electricity sector is not only limited to wiring. Aluminium alloys are widely found in the production of energy-saving LED light sources. Primarily, it is a substrate from oxide single crystal substrate (leucosapphire) and a large part of functioning elements for light fittings.
Among the innovative areas of focus is the creation of aluminium-ion batteries. Many countries are working on this development, and their arrival is expected to bring about a technological revolution. This is mainly due to suggestions that aluminium-ion batteries will replace combustion engines in automobiles, resulting in significant changes in terms of saving and consuming electricity from renewable sources.
It is worth remembering that in the automotive industry, replacing copper wires with aluminium in automobiles yields savings of 40% and lowers the general weight of the vehicle by an average of 12kg.