Aluminum Alloy for Automotive Cable - A perspective on emerging cars applications 2010-36-0177
The automotive industry is constantly searching for technological improvements to assure car maker's requirements based on the following criteria: reliability, quality and economic impact. The efforts for light weighting in automobile wiring harness had increased significantly by the 1970s, when meteoric rises in copper prices metal market propitiated the aluminum and its alloys approach as a substitute material in the electrical and electronic field. During almost fifteen years, solid aluminum wire and Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA) had been applied to General Motors Corporation cars for primary and battery cables, respectively. After this implementation the copper prices came down and became more interesting. Nowadays, the aluminum wiring harness and battery cable may become an important alternative to provide mass reduction and fulfill environmental compliance requirements helping to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emission. The scope of this article covers an initial wiring manufactory development of aluminum alloy for harness application in Brazil's emerging automotive market. A Design for Six Sigma Methodology (DFSS) was conducted in order to investigate the material options available in the national market and to evaluate the mechanic/electrical properties of each aluminum alloy selection. A preliminary set of wires samples was assembled in Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) insulation and a range from 0.75 to 2.5 mm2. However, to obtain higher mass reduction on aluminum alloys cables a Polyphenyl ether (PPE) insulation should be considered, which may be used to replace copper cables in automotive applications, after further quality requirements tests.