April 15, 2024
Copper Clad Steel Wire

Copper Clad Steel Wire – A Revolution in Steel Wire Industry

Copper clad steel wire is a new technology that has been gaining traction in the steel wire manufacturing industry.

What is Copper Clad Steel Wire?
Copper clad steel wire refers to a type of wire where a layer of copper is bonded to a steel wire core using advanced metallurgical bonding process. The copper layer thickness ranges anywhere between 0.5- 5% of the total wire diameter. This copper layer protects the steel core from corrosion and other environmental factors while retaining the strength properties of steel.

Manufacturing Process
The manufacturing process of copper clad steel wire involves several key steps:

– Steel Wire Drawing: High tensile steel such as galvanized steel is drawn into fine wire using wire drawing machines. This forms the inner steel core.

– Surface Preparation: The drawn Copper Clad Steel Wire surface is cleaned and activated using chemical or electrical methods to help the bonding of copper layer.

– Copper Coating: The prepared steel wire is then passed through a molten copper bath. This results in a thin layer of copper getting deposited on the steel wire surface via metallurgical bonding.

– Drawing and Polishing: The copper coated wire is put through further wire drawing passes to reduce the diameter as per application and polished to get a smooth surface.

– Quality Checks: Random samples are tested for copper thickness uniformity, bonding strength and other quality parameters before final packaging.

Properties and Advantages
Copper clad steel wire leverages the best properties of both copper and steel. Some of the key advantages are:

– Higher Corrosion Resistance: The thin pure copper outer layer protects the steel core very effectively against corrosion caused by environmental factors, chemicals or moisture. This provides 4-5 times more corrosion resistance as compared to traditional galvanized coatings on steel.

– Increased Conductivity: Due to the conductive outer copper layer, the copper clad steel wire has higher conductivity compared to steel wire. This makes it suitable for applications requiring transmission of electricity or low frequency signals.

– Better Drawability: The powder metallurgy bonding process makes the interface between copper and steel very coherent. This results in better drawability and workability of copper clad wire allowing finer diameters to be achieved.

– Improved Solderability: The pure copper outer layer lends itself very well to soldering, brazing and terminations using electrical/mechanical connections. This simplifies applications in electronics, connectors etc.

– Maintains High Tensile Strength: Even with the thin copper layer, the steel core retains its high tensile strength properties. Strengths ranging 650-2500 MPa can be achieved based on steel grade.

Applications of Copper Clad Steel Wire
Owing to the unique combination of corrosion resistance, conductivity and mechanical strength – copper clad steel wire finds applications across many industries:

Grounding and Bonding Applications
Due to higher conductivity and corrosion resistance, copper clad steel wire is very well suited for electrical grounding applications such as:

– Reinforcing bar connections in concrete structures provides durable corrosion free grounding.
– Grounding of transmission towers, equipment enclosures and lightning protection systems.

Automotive Applications
Replacing traditional galvanized steel wires, copper clad steel wire is gaining popularity in automotive cables for:

– Battery cables to combine high current carrying and long life even in corrosive engine bay environments.
– Sensor cables, fuel level sender cables and other low voltage applications.

Electronic and Connector Applications
Copper clad steel is the ideal material for applications involving:

– Flexible flat cables and small gauge wires in electronics, due to finer geometries possible.
– Terminal, pin and connector applications for corrosion proof and solderable connections.

General Purpose Steel Reinforcement
Copper clad rebars and tendon wires are supplementing traditional mild steel for:

– Concrete reinforcement in marine, offshore and other harsh exposure structures.
– Pre-stressing and post-tensioning concrete for long term durable performance.

Industry Impact and Future
The benefits offered by copper clad steel wire are leading to its increasing adoption across several industries. Global annual production recently crossed 500 kilo tonnes with an estimated size of over $5 billion. Asia Pacific currently dominates supported by major manufacturing countries like China, Japan, Korea and India. North America and Europe are other major regions driving the demand for copper clad steel wire. With innovations focused on developing finer gauge wires and larger billets, the technology is poised to revolutionize traditional steel based applications over the coming years. Overall, copper clad steel wire presents itself as a sustainable and future-proof solution for the manufacturing sector.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it