Have you ever been jewelry shopping? Maybe you were shopping for a ring. The salesman takes several rings out from under the counter and begins describing the quality of each ring. Some of them are very expensive and made of 24K gold. Others are less expensive because they are only gold plated. Quality and price seem to be polarizing factors when jewelry shopping. You can either pay more and get a better ring, or save your money but the ring isn’t as nice of quality.
The same principle appears elsewhere in the world, including in the wire processing industry. Solid copper wire is expensive, but pay less and you might end up with copper-clad aluminum.
Copper-clad aluminum has an aluminum center wrapped in copper. It is cheaper but the buyer is running the risk of using aluminum wire when copper should be used. Many times, the seller did not confess that the wire was not pure copper, leaving the buyer to use a weaker wire without knowing it.
Often a buyer will purchase copper-clad wire on purpose. The wire’s lower price-point can help businesses trying to save money. As long as the buyer knows they are buying copper-clad cable aluminum and are using it for the right purpose, they shouldn’t run into any of the problems associated with the cheaper wire.
To learn more about copper-clad aluminum, check out Cirris’s Counterfeit Cables article in the Cirris Learning Center.