Selecting Suitable Materials
There are a number of considerations that must be made when choosing the materials most suited to a particular application. Briefly, they can be broken down into the following categories:
- Mechanical properties
- Electrical properties
- Corrosion resistance
- Dissimilar metals
- Standards and regulations
Different metals exhibit different behaviours in different conditions sometimes making it difficult to choose which is the correct one for the job. When we are considering electro-conductive materials the main criteria are resistance and current carrying capacity, but we should also consider its mechanical and corrosion resistance characteristics. Copper is commonly chosen due to its low resistance, ductility and low cost, but is unsuitable in certain conditions, particularly in subsoil conditions and in the presence of particular chemicals.
Follow the links on this page to view data on the mechanical, electrical and corrosion resistant properties of commonly metallic conductors.
The two main mechanical considerations we need to look at are mechanical (tensile) strength and brittleness.
Stainless steel is recommended for use in environments high in sulphur or organic compounds, for interconnection of stainless steel components (such as power or earth interconnections) or where galvanic corrosion where the electric potential of dissimilar metals is greater than 0.35V.
For more advice in choosing the correct material for your application, contact one of our experienced engineers here.