Browse Publications Technical Papers 2000-01-0067

Reduction of Size, Weight, and Cost of Automotive Wiring Components Through the Use of Bimetallic Wire 2000-01-0067

Copper clad aluminum wire and copper clad steel wire are commercial products widely used in the telecommunications and electric utility industries, but they are not currently used to a great extent by the automotive industry. Copper clad aluminum is most often chosen as a lighter, lower cost substitute for copper. It is especially efficient for high frequency applications where its impedance is often no greater than solid copper. Copper clad steel is usually applied where strength is important and lower conductivity can be accepted.
In addition to wire applications in other industries, bimetallic wire has unique properties that make it attractive for automotive applications.
Two new areas of application are suggested:
  • The use of copper clad aluminum to reduce the weight and conductor cost of power cables.
  • The use of smaller diameter copper clad steel for wiring leads that are now sized based on strength rather than conductivity. This application will reduce weight, harness bundle size, and conductor cost.
These areas of application can be illustrated by analyzing actual and hypothetical components. Among these components are wiring harnesses, battery cables, and rear window defogger leads. Battery cables and defogger leads are examples of power cables whose weight can be reduced by substituting copper clad aluminum conductors for copper. Wiring harnesses are complex components which can benefit from both products. Using small, high strength copper clad steel cables for low current circuits reduces bundle size and weight, and copper clad aluminum power cables reduce weight. Both materials can provide cost reductions.


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