Most baby-boomers have some familiarity with the classical stigma surrounding aluminum conductors in residential and commercial applications: fire hazard. Mention aluminum wiring in a building or residence and, not surprisingly, a lot of folks will react as if the structure in question should be condemned. How did aluminum get this reputation? Was it deserved? Is it still a valid assumption with today's modern aluminum alloys?

Many of the historical stigmas associated with aluminum can be attributed to technical design problems of the older alloys that have now been overcome by higher quality materials and/or addressed by aluminum specific design considerations. This paper addresses the aforementioned issues and investigates the current status of aluminum conductor technology as applied to subsea power cables with a specific emphasis on the following:

  • The Element Aluminum;

  • Early History of Aluminum;

  • Historical Stigmas;

  • Technical Advances;

  • Aluminum (Al) versus Copper (Cu);

  • Aluminum Subsea Cable Experience.

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