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Aluminum-Alkaline Metal-Metal Composite Conductor

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a high strength, lightweight aluminum wire for high-voltage power transmission with reduced electrical resistance for overhead electrical lines.


High-voltage electric power transmission cables based on pure aluminum strands with a stranded steel core (ACSR) or stranded aluminum alloy (ACAR) core have the disadvantages of mediocre tensile strength, high density, and poor strength and conductivity retention at elevated temperatures. This combination of properties causes excessive sag in overload situations and limits the mechanical tension the cables can bear in icing and high wind situations. Alternative materials that increase cable strength generally have poor conductivity and/or high cost. Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have discovered a method to produce an aluminum matrix wire composite with reduced density that adds strength while retaining maximum ampacity.


* Simple (manufacturing methods are similar to those used now)
* Effective (high electrical conductivity and strength at both ambient and high temperatures)
* Economical (use of low cost materials)

Applications and Industries

High-voltage wires and cables for electrical transmission

More Information

Data and test samples that demonstrate expected properties will become available, contingent on successful completion of planned experiments.  Patent application(s) filed.

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,647,536
Aluminum/alkaline earth metal composites and method for producing
A composite is provided having an electrically conducting Al matrix and elongated filaments comprising Ca and/or Sr and/or Ba disposed in the matrix and extending along a longitudinal axis of the composite. The filaments initially comprise Ca and/or Sr and/or Ba metal or alloy and then may be reacted with the Al matrix to form a strengthening intermetallic compound comprising Al and Ca and/or Sr and/or Ba. The composite is useful as a long-distance, high voltage power transmission conductor.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

Contact AMES About This Technology

To: Stacy Joiner<>