Whether an established professional electrician or a hobbyist just starting to dabble with their first big project, safety is always key. And one of the most important ways to stay safe is to know what tools and gear are right for what jobs. In this short article, we’ll examine a *** substitute for wires known as bus bars.

Also called busbars or bussbars, these substitutes to traditional braided wiring are sometimes used in electrical gear that needs a strong current to be carried for a short distance. They are generally designed to support their own weight and be rigid, and can come in a variety of materials the two most common of which are copper and aluminum alloys. Generally, copper is valued due to its higher tensile strength and anecdotally better conductivity, but aluminum bus bars are nearly twice as conductive per pound and typically less expensive than their copper counterparts. Therefore, especially for smaller projects and for more cost-aware electricians, aluminum bus bars are preferred for their price and ease of installation.

While they can come in a variety of forms, including strips, rods, bars, hollow tubes or even wires, and can even come with wrapping similar to standard insulation, bus bars are different from standard electrical wires can help minimize electrical current losses by minimizing corona discharge. Not only can corona discharge be a waste of power and therefore money, this effect can also increase stress on a circuit and, depending on the properties of the air around it, can actually produce corrosive nitric acid.

However, bus bars may not be suitable for every application. They, like many other electrical apparatus, must be properly grounded in order to be safe. Additionally, they can be more expensive than standard wires due to their typically more solid and rigid construction, and last of all, they are usually limited to short ranges. In conclusion, if you have a lot of power and only need it to go a short distance, as well as wanting something self-supporting with a reduced risk of discharge, bus bars may be the choice for you.