ISA-CON wires: good electrical conductivity and high tensile strength
Wires with high electrical conductivity as well as high tensile strength properties are required for certain tasks. Because their mechanical strength is too low, pure copper wires, the best of all industrially used conductors, are not usually suited for these applications. However, ISA-CON® wires, which combine both properties in an optimal manner, are ideally suited.
The brand designation stands for copper-based alloys that have been developed by Isabellenhütte, one of the leading manufacturers of high-tech alloys, which produces them in the form of wires. The ISA-CON®414 and ISA-CON®1000 material types currently form the focus of the production programme. The designations consist of the brand name and the minimum tensile strength (TS) in MPa*. Both alloys have a considerably higher TS than copper (200 MPa), and the TS of the ISA-CON®1000 wires is considerably higher even than that of wires made from copper-clad stainless steel (“Staku”), which is around 700 MPa. The other important property is electrical conductivity: for pure copper, it is 58 x 106 S/m, which is equivalent to 100% IACS (International Annealed Copper Standard). At 90% IACS when annealed, the ISA-CON® 414 material comes very close to copper. The high-strength material ISA-CON®1000, at 60% IACS, is also considerably more conductive than the widely used copper-clad stainless steel wires, which achieve 40% IACS.
ISA-CON®414 is a RoHS-compliant material that can replace similar materials containing cadmium and fulfils the requirements of the ASTM B624 norm (Standard Specification for High-Strength, High-Conductivity Copper-Alloy Wire for Electronic Application). The high-strength material ISA-CON®1000 contains the alloy elements silver and zircon.
Wires made of both materials are able to intercept high tensile loads elastically, have a high degree of hardness, are corrosion resistant and retain their properties for long periods of use, even at higher temperatures. The ability to coat the wires with nickel, tin or silver is also advantageous during certain applications.
Availability and applications
ISA-CON® wires are delivered as round and stranded wires with diameters ranging from 0.05 to 0.3 mm. ISA-CON®414 wires are also available in rods with diameters ranging from 0.8 to 1.2 mm. Typical fields of application are signal and overhead wires for railways and automotive cables. In light of the need to save space and weight, the automotive industry and other sectors require conductive wires with the smallest possible diameters (“miniaturisation”) that are also able to reliably fulfil increasingly strict demands in terms of load capacity and required service life. The same applies to contact elements for plugs and switches, which are also made of wire. In general, there are a multitude of possible applications for ISA-CON® wires in the growing fields of energy supply, generation and management and data transfer.