What is a busbar?
A busbar is a component used to transfer current from point a to point b. Busbars are made of electrically conductive material, such as copper or aluminum, which conducts current from end to end of the component. Busbars are used a lot, e.g. in electrical and energy industry applications.
Different applications can be e.g. distribution centers, various generators, transformers and electric motors.
Busbars can be manufactured insulated, coated, fixed or flexible.
Isolation is needed if several busbars are going to be installed closely in the same space. This prevents the current from jumping from one bus bar to another, and a short circuit cannot occur.
We at AA tuotanto have focused especially on the manufacturing of fixed and coated busbars, but also ask about others.
The shape of the busbar
Busbars are typically flat, which allows for the best possible electrical conductivity, efficient heat dissipation, and the cost-effective use of valuable manufacturing material such as copper.
Sometimes other shaped busbars may also be used, such as solid or hollow round bars. If the shape of the busbar is something other than flat, this often means that the amount of current to be conducted is quite low.
The shape of the busbar is influenced by e.g.:
- The power rail’s ability to cool down, i.e. evaporate the heat caused by the electric current
- The amount of available manufacturing material and the price of the final product
- The efficiency of electrical conductivity compared to the amount of material used
The size and surface area of busbars
Electricity mostly travels along the surfaces of the busbar, so the surface area greatly affects performance.
When considering the size of the busbar, one need to consider e.g. the following things:
- Maximum rail temperature
- Used manufacturing material
- Ambient temperature
- Direct or alternating current
- The amount of ventilation
- The radiation coefficient of the busbar surface
- The position of the busbars relative to each other