Comparison between copper and aluminium conductor

Materials made of metals will possess the property of electrical conductivity, an electrical conductor allows electric charge to flow through it. Silver is the most electrically conductive element followed by Copper, Gold, Aluminum, Zinc, etc. The electron mobility of materials determines their conductivity, that is a material with high electron mobility possess high conductivity and which have less mobility is a poor conductor.

Apart from the conductivity, various parameters such as its weight, cost, structure, etc. are considered while selecting a conductor for specific purposes.

Copper Conductors

copper conductors, copper wires, copper cables

  • The density of the copper is higher than aluminium. Hence it is heavier compared to aluminium conductors it requires strong structures and hardware to bear the weight.
  • More ductile and has high tensile strength. So, it is able to make thin wires and it can manage a high amount of stress.
  • Compared to Aluminium it has good conductivity and low resistivity but high in cost.

Aluminium Conductors

aluminium cables, aluminium conductors, aluminium wires

  • Compared to copper it is Less in weight and of Low cost but less in conductivity.
  • More resistivity, as it has a chance of oxide surface formation which results in heating.

Aluminium & Copper properties

Property Copper (Cu) Aluminium (Al)
Conductivity (s/m) at 20 °C 5.96×107 3.5×107
Resistivity (Ω m) at 20 °C 1.68×10−8 2.82×10-8
Density (g/cm3) 8.96 2.70


Q&A – Viva questions and answers

1. Which is a better conductor aluminium or copper ?

Ans:- The answer is simply copper.

2. Why is aluminium used in transmission lines?

Ans:- Due to its advantage of low cost and less in weight.

Even the copper has 1.7 times conductivity than aluminium conductors, it weights 3.3 times heavier than aluminium. Hence aluminium conductors can considerably reduce the weight for the same amount of power loss compared to copper.

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