Functionally Graded Materials: Continuous Casting and Forming of Electric Copper Conductors

Project: Research

Project participants


A rising electrification of technical products was apparent during the last decades. In combination with the demand for a long lifetime and high performance, the potentials of monolithic metallic structures are largely exhausted. Therefore, important academic and industrial activities arose, which focus on the usage of hybrid material structures for electric applications. Not only the fabrication of hybrid materials itself is a challenging issue. It requires a cross-process understanding of material properties evolution and technological relationships. The present project proposal aims at the investigation of the process route for the fabrication of electric copper conductors. In particular, the project focuses on the development of functionally graded copper materials, which feature locally adapted metallurgical behavior optimized for the specific requirements of electrical applications. The process route of initial continuous casting, subsequent extrusion and final wire drawing represents an economic production sequence for the fabrication of copper conductors, which exhibit an excellent electrical conductivity on the one hand and a comparatively high strength on the other hand. This complex properties character is generated by a material gradient over the cross-section of the metallic product. The transition between the pure copper base material in the outer region and copper zinc alloyed material in the inner area of the product is continuous.
Within the framework of the research project, a methodology is developed for the resource-efficient fabrication of functionally graded materials. The scientific approach is based on theoretical, experimental and numerical techniques. The objectives are challenging and the results generated shift the present limitations of the technical possibilities.