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Feature | September 2016

Quality of copper plays a very important role in wires

Amol Kalsekar | Chief Manager Building Construction, ICA India

What role does quality play in this segment?
Wires and cables are integral components of all industries. Copper is a vital element as the conductivity of copper is high. Thus, the quality of copper plays a very important role in wires i.e. use of Electrolytic Tough Pitch (ETP) grade copper wherein the purity of copper in percentage terms should be a minimum 99.90 per cent as per national standards. Electrical consultants, A-grade electrical contractors, while specifying makes should ensure quality credential from independent laboratory else poor quality of copper used in the wire may result in safety hazard and energy loss.

Is choice of copper important?
There are various disadvantages and serious consequences of using untested copper for wiring, and it is important to use good quality copper. Wires with commercial copper are not only inferior in physical properties but are also alarmingly low on electrical parameters such as conductivity. Further, it has been proven that high level of impurities can result in steep increase in resistance by as much as 88 per cent. This may result in almost twice the temperature rise.

Does quality have any impact on the safety aspect too?
As per the National Crime Records Bureau´s report 2014, 11,000 people died in 2014, either due to electrocution and/or fire due to electrical short circuits. Electric defaults have been seen as the largest single reason for cause of building fires. GoI has accorded high importance to this area. Unfortunately, poor practices, improper and weak installations, undersized and inferior quality of wires in buildings have resulted in a number of electrical accidents.

What are the factors that can improve safety?
Periodic inspection and following right wiring practices is essential for electrical consultants, contractors and electricians. We encourage the electrical fraternity to adhere to the National Electrical Code and the National Building Code and use minimum 1.5 sq. mm copper wire as the minimum cross section for the light load depending on the appliance to be used for efficient use of electricity and ensuring safety.

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