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For a project I need to handle large current, about 1200A.

To do so I intend to distribute the power using busbar.

Copper would be a good option but is fairly expensive and aluminum has almost the same conductive property, but due to the oxide layer is quite difficult to connect and have good contact.

I'm looking for a reliable way to connect aluminum busbar.

One option is to have screws into a bit smaller than usual threaded holes, while screwing it would damage the oxide layer and provide contact, but I'm not sure of the long term effects and if the screw is being replaced.

I also thought of a self etching conductive primer that would keep off the oxide layer, but couldn't find anything of that sort.

Is there any good way to contact aluminum busbar?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Search for plated aluminium busbars. Also, change the question from request for buying recommendation to a aluminum busbar design question. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeroen3 Dec 1 '18 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would note that if you are mixing conductive metals in your project, you should learn about "Bonding with dissimilar metals". In practice using aluminum isn't too bad. You clean it, use deox where needed, only use parts rated for the metals used (Some aluminum lugs will use copper wire in the presence of deox for instance. You should also make yourself aware of "cold flow" which is the property of aluminum conductors which causes the metal to be carried away with charge when terminated incorrectly(too much pressure). \$\endgroup\$ – K H Dec 1 '18 at 21:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're wondering about the overall advantages and disadvantages: Aluminum is cheaper and lighter than copper, but is bulkier and requires higher design precautions and maintenance effort, and is more vulnerable in corrosive environments. \$\endgroup\$ – K H Dec 1 '18 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jeroen3, I'm not looking at buying recommendation but at the experience of people into contacting aluminium. Given my project needs I need custom shaped busbar and would be very unlikely to find something "out of the shelf" on the market. \$\endgroup\$ – Damien Dec 3 '18 at 6:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KH, thanks for the comment I will check that out. \$\endgroup\$ – Damien Dec 3 '18 at 6:01
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If you using aluminum stock, then nuts and bolts are the way to go. People use various platings, copper, silver, even tin.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ And star washers, rather than split washers, are a really good idea. \$\endgroup\$ – WhatRoughBeast Dec 1 '18 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I will have a look at the possibility and cost to plate the aluminium with copper in my region. \$\endgroup\$ – Damien Dec 3 '18 at 5:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you buy it plated? \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Endl Dec 3 '18 at 10:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably not because it has specific design needs, but it seems OK to have it plated. Waiting for quotes. \$\endgroup\$ – Damien Dec 10 '18 at 11:58

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