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What are the busbars at electrical panels made of?
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Busbars for residential electrical panels are made of either aluminum or copper. They can also be brass, although we have never seen a home panel that utilized brass. Copper has higher conductivity than aluminum and a lower coefficient of thermal expansion, but aluminum has the advantage of being less expensive.
Both metals can oxidize (corrode) over time, especially at outdoor panels. But the difference here is that copper’s surface oxidation is conductive, while the aluminum oxidation is an insulator. To learn more, see our blog post How dangerous is rust and corrosion inside an electrical panel?
Also, we recommend Why is spray paint on the bus bars of an electric panel a safety defect? and What is a "bus stab" in an electric panel? and What does maximum sum of breaker ratings per stab mean in an electrical panel?
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