Utility aluminum cables are one of the most important components of a power transmission and distribution infrastructure. They are designed to handle high voltages and efficiently transport electrical power over long distances. This makes them a critical component of the energy grid and renewable energy systems such as wind turbines and solar panels.
At Classic Wire & Cable, we are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality cables for their needs. We understand the importance of reliable and efficient power transmission and distribution, so we offer a wide range of utility aluminum cables.
How Do Utility Aluminum Cables Work?
Utility aluminum cables are used to transmit and distribute electricity in power grids. These cables are made of aluminum because of their light weight, relatively high conductivity, and excellent corrosion resistance. They are also designed to carry large amounts of current over long distances with minimum power loss due to resistance.
Their design is based on factors such as the required voltage, current, and temperature rating. The cables typically comprise multiple stranded conductors to reduce resistance and increase flexibility. The conductors may be covered with an insulating material — such as cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — to minimize current leakage and reduce electrical hazard risks.
Utility aluminum cables work by allowing the flow of electric current from the power source to the load. First, the power source, which could be a generator or a substation, sends electricity through the transmission lines. These lines are made up of aluminum cables operating at high voltages to reduce line losses over long distances. Then, the voltage is reduced and the electricity is carried through the distribution lines, delivering power to homes and businesses by way of secondary service cables.
Types of Utility Aluminum Cables
Utility aluminum cables come in several types, each with unique features and applications. Here are some of the most common:
Overhead Aluminum Cables
Overhead aluminum cables are commonly used in power transmission and distribution systems, as they can carry high voltage levels over long distances. They are also bare aluminum conductors with no insulation, but may include a covering to prevent flashovers or fires.
Underground Aluminum Cables
Underground aluminum cables are designed to be installed underground in conduit or direct burial. These cables are insulated to prevent short circuits, and to protect them from environmental factors like moisture and corrosion.
Features of Utility Aluminum Cables
Utility aluminum cables offer several features that make them a preferred choice for utilities. Some of their most notable properties include:
Aluminum is the second-best conductor of electricity after copper, offering similar performance at a lower cost. Due to their high conductivity, utility aluminum cables are reliable for transmitting and distributing power.
Aluminum is a highly resilient material that withstands harsh weather conditions, extreme temperatures, and mechanical stress. As a result, utility aluminum cables are ideal for use in overhead power lines.
Compared to copper cables, aluminum cables are much lighter, which makes them easier to handle and install. Their flexibility also makes them suitable for installations in tight spaces and areas with limited access.
The corrosion-resistant properties of aluminum cables make them an ideal solution for deployment in challenging environmental conditions. They can withstand exposure to moisture, humidity, and chemicals without deteriorating, making them a reliable option for outdoor installations.
Utility aluminum cables are safe for various applications, provided they are installed correctly and used with appropriate connectors. They are non-toxic, non-combustible, and do not emit harmful gasses, making them an excellent option for residential and commercial installations.
Utility aluminum cables can be easily connected to a wide range of terminals and connectors, which makes them versatile and easy to use. This also makes replacing or repairing damaged cables in the field easier, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.
Applications of Utility Aluminum Cables
Utility aluminum cables have many applications across multiple industries. Here are some of the most common ones:
Transmission and Distribution
Transmission and distribution refer to delivering electricity from power suppliers to homes, businesses, and other locations. In this process, utility aluminum cables commonly transmit electrical power over long distances from power generation plants to substations.
Renewable energy systems, such as wind turbines and solar panels, rely on electrical cables to transmit the generated power to the grid or storage systems. Utility aluminum cables are often used for this purpose due to their being lightweight which makes them easy to install in remote locations.
Industrial and Commercial
Utility aluminum cables are commonly used in industrial and commercial applications power delivery to larger loads.
Aluminum cables are corrosion-resistant, which is important in areas with high humidity or other environmental factors that can lead to corrosion over time. Due to their many benefits, aluminum service entrance cables are a common choice for residential power distribution systems.
Aluminum cables are used in transportation applications, such as powering electric vehicles (EVs) and charging stations. These cables are lightweight, durable, and able to handle high current loads, making them ideal for this purpose.
Classic Wire & Cable: Your Trusted Supplier of Utility Aluminum Cables
Classic Wire & has the expertise you need! With over 200 years of combined experience in the wire and cable industry, our team knows what it takes to deliver high-quality products. Moreover, our strategically placed regional distribution centers ensure we can offer you fast delivery and competitive pricing on a wide range of utility aluminum cables.
If you are still deciding which cable to choose, our local NEMRA-affiliated sales representatives can provide expert guidance. Our available cables include the following:
- Aluminum 600 V underground secondary cables, including URD cables
- Aluminum 600 V overhead secondary cables, including service drop cables
- Aluminum conductor steel reinforced (ACSR)
- Aluminum 600 V UL Type USE-2/RHH/RHW-2
Other types of wire and cable we offer include:
- UL Type SE Style R (SE-R) with XHHW-2 aluminum conductors
- UL Type SE Style U (SE-U) with XHHW-2 Aluminum conductors
- UL Type THHN / THWN-2 Aluminum Conductors with Low Friction properties
- UL Type XHHW-2 Aluminum Conductors with Low Friction properties and marked 600 V / 1000 V
- Aluminum Mobile Home Feeder
Additionally, with our Value Added Services, we can help you succeed in today’s competitive marketplace! Contact us today for more information about our products and services, or request a quote to get started.