Problem-solving alloy for connecting elements

May 2019 — In addition to ultra-fine wires, cables and stranded wires made of “ISA-CON 414”, Isabellenhuette produces preliminary materials for fasteners made of “ISA-CON 450”, another version of the copper-based alloy. This reduces electrical resistance and heat development. In addition, undesired heat can be dissipated better.

Both types of material, “ISA-CON 414” and “ISA-CON 450”, are characterised by a high strength (similar to that of stainless steel) and high conductivity (similar to that of copper). With ISA-CON 450, the tensile strength is between 450 and 550 megapascal and the conductivity is 80% ACS, the International Annealed Copper Standard. This combination makes the material ideal as a conductive fastener, for example as a bolt, screw, spring contact, plug connector or bus bar. 

When problems occur by using fasteners made of steel, for example, due to excessively high performance loss and heat development, or due to space problems or too high of a weight, using the ISA-CON 450 alloy is a worthwhile alternative. With current-carrying components, the electrical resistance, both in the material as well as at the contact transition, is reduced compared to steel. This reduces the loss in performance significantly and the weight and diameter of components can be reduced too. The direct connection, for example as a bridging of a distance between two bus bars with a supporting function instead of a steel bolt or pin for a plug contact, is a promising application. 

Heat reduction by 50%

The requirements for the bolt application were a significantly reduced electrical resistance and thus a significantly reduced heat development of the bolt itself. Direct use here means that the entire current is conducted directly via the ISA-CON 450 bolt, which connects a shunt resistor with a plug. Thanks to the high conductivity of the alloy, there is only low electrical resistance with correspondingly reduced heat development in the contact bolt. In addition, the heat development, which usually occurs in the shunt resistor, is dissipated better and is thus overall reduced by 50 percent compared to a component with a steel contact.  Another plus: ISA-CON 450 – like ISA-CON 414 – is also heat-resistant, which means the bolt retains its mechanical strength in applications with higher ambient temperatures. 

Current-carrying components made of steel that take quite a bit of effort to cool or that have to be significantly oversized to ensure sufficient conductivity can simply be replaced with ISA-CON 450. Mechanically-supportive fasteners made of copper also often have to be oversized in order to comply with mechanical loads. Cross-sections can be reduced while maintaining the same level of safety due to the increased strength of ISA-CON. This allows for a reduction in weight and space, which is, for example, usually very relevant in the automotive sector. 

Screws for indirect use

An indirect connection replaces a previously non-current-carrying component, such as a steel screw, which presses a contact onto a bus bar. The pressed contact surface here and thus the component surface can be reduced, since part of the current can flow through the screw.  The screw offers additional safety due to its high conductivity. 

The customer feedback at Isabellenhuette has been very positive so far. The direct use of ISA-CON 450 bolts in particular has a very good cost-benefit ratio. Mr. Brockhaus, Business Development manager at Isabellenhuette, says the following about this: “If heat development, electric conductivity and contact resistances are insignificant in application, steel or simple copper alloys, such as bronze or brass, may be sufficient. However, if the aforementioned problems occur, ISA-CON 450 is an ideal problem-solving alloy.” The alloy is of interest for all types of mechanically-stressed plug connectors, which require high conductivity and a high level of reliability.

Isabellenhuette Heusler GmbH+Co. KG
Eibacher Weg 3-5
35683 Dillenburg/Germany
Contact person is Mr. Samuel Brockaus
Tel.: +49 2771 934-0
businessdevelopment.alloys@isabellenhuette.de
www.isabellenhuette.de

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Partner Links
  • IWMA – International Wire & Machinery Association
  • ICFG – International Cold Forging Group
  • ESF – European Spring Federation