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March 2010, PPTR, Chang-Hyeon Lee

Aluminum vs. Copper Vacuum Cast Coil Transformers for Lonza 2.5
ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 1

Introduction (1)
During the 2nd World War, Copper became scarce and manufacturers started using Al as an alternative conductor for electrical transmission and distribution. For transformers, up to the last 30 years, there were not many suppliers of Al strips, thin foils or wires as conductors Only LV windings were made in Aluminum There were not many manufacturers of special HV foil winding machineries

So everybody was using Copper on HV windings

Because they had no other options


ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 2

Introduction (2)

the option appeared


There were several reasons that led the changes

Aluminum is the second most plentiful metallic element on the Earth, so no problems with supply Second lowest density High corrosion resistance thanks to its Alumina protection High electrical and thermal conductivity Higher conductivity than copper, weight for weight And it is cheap & light with stable price, which is also interesting!

ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 3

Comparing Aluminum & Copper (1) Common reasons for winding material choice :
Common reasons for choice of winding material Aluminum-wound transformer terminations are incompatible with copper line and load cables. Properly terminating line and load connections is more difficult for aluminum-wound transformers. Line and load connections to copper-wound transformers are more reliable than those of aluminum-wound transformers Aluminum-wound transformers are lighter in weight than their copper-wound equivalents as well as cheaper price Aluminum-wound transformers have higher losses because copper is a better conductor. Aluminum-wound transformers have higher hot-spot temperatures because copper is a better thermal conductor than aluminum. Copper-wound transformers can be made with smaller size than aluminum-wound equivalents. True False

X X X X X X X

ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 4

Comparing Aluminum & Copper (2) Physical properties of two conductors in general

ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 5

Comparing Aluminum & Copper (3) Coefficient of thermal expansion


Coefficient of expansion of Aluminum Coefficient of expansion of Copper : 23.1 : 16.5

Aluminum expands one third more than copper Some says it creates problems with bolted connections But, using proper hardware aluminum joints are equal to copper joints

ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 6

Comparing Aluminum & Copper (4) Electrical conductivity


Aluminum (Al) Copper (Cu) : 37.8 x 106 -1m-1 : 59.6 x 106 -1m-1

Aluminum has only 61% of conductivity against copper, so higher losses? For two identical transformers (same winding resistance and length , amps/turns), the conductor cross-section will be inversed to the electrical conductivity. The cross-section on Al conductor will be 1.6 times against copper, Sal/Scu = Cu/ Al =59.6/37.8 = 1.6 Sal = 1.6Scu With the increase of cross-section, the result in energy losses are the same Comparing the cost of both materials, lower losses will be cheaper on Aluminum
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Comparison of Transformer (Al vs Cu) General specification to be compared


General specification of transformer (same on both Cu & Al TRs)

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Comparison of Transformer (Al vs. Cu) Electrical characteristics and dimension


Characteristics & Price comparison on 1600kVA transformers

All electrical and dielectric characteristics are the nearly same on both Cu and Al transformers

Price comparison except accessories

100%

75~77%

ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 9

Price comparison is based on material costs dated on Mar. 15, 2010. It may be changed according to commodity price variation.

Thermal ability to withstand to short-circuit Requirements according to IEC 60076-5 (2006)

ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 10

Thermal ability to withstand to short-circuit Winding temperature calculation while short-circuit

Copper
HV Max. permissible Avg. winding temp Highest Avg. winding temperature LV

Aluminum
HV LV

350 191

350 161

200 183

200 162

ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 11

Ability to withstand the dynamic effects of short circuit


High reliability on the coil structures Robust mechanical coil structure thanks to encapsulation of conductor material in solid insulation Ability to withstand the dynamic effects of short circuit shall be demonstrated either by tests, or by calculation and design and manufacture considerations The reference list for type tests including dynamic short-circuit test is enclosed on next slide

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Ability to withstand the dynamic effects of short circuit Type & Special Test List (conducted by authorized third parties)

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Comparison of VCC Transformer (Al vs. Cu) General comparison


Copper Aluminum

Electrical Characteristics Short Circuit Capability Dielectric Strength Overload Capacity Dimension & Weight Cost (Initial investment)
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Comparison of Transformer (Al vs. Cu) Advantages on Al transformers


Less initial investment costs even if the operational running costs are the same (approx. 25% less expensive) Same life cycle expectation because transformers are run at equivalent operating temperatures, the insulation systems age at the same rate for each design, it means that longer life cycle on AL transformer on the same price Lower operational running costs due to higher efficiency based on the same price Thermal expansion of Al and epoxy resin is more similar, so thermal stresses are kept to the minimum Major VCC transformer manufacturers apply Aluminum VCC as their standard products ABB, Siemens, Areva, . Aluminum VCC is a standard product in Americas, Europe, Asia and so on
ABB Group April 5, 2010 | Slide 15

Comparing Aluminum & Copper in terms of transformer characteristics


Copper Efficiency & Losses Weight (% )
according to customer's request Heavy (100) Small (100)

Aluminium
according to customer's request Lighter (85) Easy for handling and transportion a little bigger (105)

Size of Tr (% )

In case of the same kVA, it needs more AL(sqmm) than CU to reduce the current density due to different conductivity. So the size of AL transforemr is a little bit bigger(1.05~1.1) than CU transformer depending on the kVA, primary voltage and impedance. No relation with conductor material (depending on turns and geometric ) No relation with conductor material (depending on %IZ and Loss ) No relation with conductor material No relation with conductor material It depends on properties of the maximum permissible temperatures on the soild insulation system,so both kinds of transformers can comply with the requirement. Al and Cu conductor transformers have different criteria for maximum permissible values of the average temperature of winding after short-circuit, so both different types of transformers can comply with international standards. The dynamic effects can be demonstrated either by tests or calculations & design considerations, so both different types of transformers can comply with international standards. The transformers have much stronger ability to withstand while shortcircuiting because the windings are encapsulated in the soild insulation system. It depends on properties of expoxy system with mechanical reinforcement, so both kinds of transformers can comply with the requirement.

% Impedance Regulation Ratio Dielectric characteristics Temperature rise Thermal ability to withstand short-circuit Ability to withstand the dynamic effects of shortcircuit Mechnical Strength
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