Laminated stainless steel electrical wire protects the grid

December 08, 2015

SS wire conducts 100 times more than copper wire

Nickel plays a small but important role in fault circuit limiters that act as surge protectors for the power grid. The consequences are enormous if power grid fault circuit limiters fail and here nickel-containing stainless steel can make the difference. Laminated wire, consisting of two HTS (High Temperature Superconductor) layers,(each with 75µm (0.003”) Ni5W substrates), sandwiched between two layers of 100 μm (0.004”) thick nickel-containing Type 316L (UNS S31603) stainless steel laminations, is able to conduct more than 100 times the electrical current of copper wire with similar dimensions.

Energy solutions company AMSC manufactures Type 8612 Amperium® stainless steel laminated electrical wire which is designed for use in current-limiting superconductor coils or rods where robustness and current-limiting capacity are vital to the stability of the grid. The use of stainless steel lamination provides a high ‘normal state’ resistance for current-limiter applications as well as a low thermal conductivity package for low heat leak current leads. The heat leak from 77K (the current upper boundary for superconduction) to 4K is typically half or less than that of other HTS wire.
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