[Cu0258] Electrical Conductors

Author: Bruno De Wachter

Published: June 2019

>> Download the whitepaper


In little more than a century, electricity has become indispensable as our major energy carrier, both in industry and in everyday life. With the energy transition towards a low carbon economy, electricity’s role will continue to grow. At the core of every electrical installation is electrically conductive material.

This whitepaper gives an overview of the physical, design and operational properties that are relevant for conductor selection, together with the economic, environmental, social and strategic concerns that surround conductor use. 


  1. Conductivity applications comprise 70% of copper use.
  2. Increasing the cross-section is a cost-efficient way to improve the energy efficiency of an electrical connection.
  3. The thermal conductivity is an important secondary parameter of an electrical conductor. Good thermal conductivity contributes to effective heat dissipation, limiting thermal stress on the insulation.
  4. The use of electrical conductors will increase significantly in the coming 30 years due to the energy transition.
  5. With an increased copper demand, copper recycling grows in importance. Copper can be recycled without downgrading, substantially reducing its life-cycle carbon footprint.
  6. Responsible copper mining fills the gap between growing demand and growing reycling volumes.
  7. Continuous innovation takes place in extraction and manufacturing processes, in the development of new copper materials, and in co-operations downstream in the copper value chain.