What is Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA) Cable?

  What is Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA) Cable?
CCA or Copper Clad Aluminum Cable is composed of copper clad aluminum wires which are made from an aluminum core cladded with a thin layer of copper. The copper makes up 10% , 15%, and 40% of the wires volume while the rest composes of aluminum alloy wire. Copper clad aluminum is used practically in high-quality coils where weight is very important. Copper clad aluminum wire incurs a low manufacturing cost and thus yields a higher profit during sales for manufacturers compared to counterparts who sell the actual copper equivalents.

Uses


Copper clad aluminum cable is used primarily in weight reduction requirements. These applications include high quality coils, such as is found in voice coils in headphones or in portable loudspeakers. It is also used in high frequency coaxial applications, such as RF antennas and cable television distribution cables and power cables. The reduced weight of CCA cables provide lighter cables which reduce shipping expenses, lesser reel stress, lesser stress on strand wires and reduced frictional force in conduit pulls.

CCA is also used in electrical wiring for buildings. The need for copper/aluminum for wiring became important due to the problems found with aluminum wires as well as to retain cost advantage. Networking cables especially the unshielded twisted pair also contain CCA which are often not as expensive as their full-copper counterparts.

Properties


Copper-clad aluminum wires used in CCA cables posses the following:

• They are less expensive than pure copper wire
• Lighter than pure copper
• Higher electrical conductivity than pure aluminum
• High tensile strength
• More reliable than pure aluminum
• Typically produced as a 10%, 15%, or 40% by copper volume products.
• Offers better solderability
• It offers equal resistance to corrosion as copper wire
• It is easier to install compare to copper wire

How To Identify Copper Clad Aluminum Cable

The first thing that identifies a copper clad aluminum cable is the brittle nature as well as the silver color found at the end of the conductors or by scrapping away the thin copper surface on the conductors to reveal the aluminum cladding.

Another way to identify CCA cable is by its weight which is usually less than solid copper cables.
Also CCA cable labeling is also used in identifying CCA cables. When a CCA cable is labeled as a category cable (i.e. category 5e, 6 or 6A) or labeled as being CMR or CMP rated, it is counterfeit cable and might not meet industry standards or pass UL fire safety testing which poses a great risk.

more articles