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What Is A Copper Clading Cable?

What Is A Copper Clading Cable?

What is the difference between pure copper, tinned copper and copper clading with aluminum?

  • What Is Copper Clading Aluminum?
  • What Is Tinned Copper?
  • What Is Oxygen-Free Copper?
  • What Is The Difference Between CCA, OFC & Tinned Copper?
  • Conclusion

What Is Copper Clading Aluminum?

Copper cladding aluminum, also known as CCA, is a composite material used in various applications, including electrical and telecommunications. It consists of an aluminum core coated or clad with a layer of copper. This combination harnesses the benefits of both materials: the lightweight and cost-effective properties of aluminum, along with the superior conductivity and corrosion resistance of copper. CCA is often utilized in scenarios where conductivity is essential, but cost savings and weight reduction are also priorities.

What Is Tinned Copper?

This tinning process involves applying a protective layer of tin over the surface of the copper to enhance its resistance to corrosion. Tinned copper is commonly used in various applications, especially in environments where corrosion is a concern, such as marine and automotive wiring, electrical connections, and soldering applications. The thin tin layer acts as a barrier, preventing the underlying copper from coming into contact with moisture or other corrosive elements, thus maintaining its conductivity and durability over time.

What Is Oxygen-Free Copper?

Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) is a type of copper that has been refined to minimize the presence of oxygen within the material. In standard copper, there may be small amounts of oxygen and other impurities present. However, OFC is processed to reduce these impurities, particularly oxygen, to very low levels, typically below 0.001%. This high level of purity enhances the electrical conductivity and overall performance of the copper. OFC is often used in applications where high conductivity and minimal signal loss are critical such as Superior Audio/Visual Applications – high end audio/visual applications where quality is paramount.

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What Is The Difference Between CCA, OFC & Tinned Copper?

Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA), Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC), and Tinned Copper are three distinct types of electrical conductors with varying characteristics:

Material Composition:

Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC): OFC cables are meticulously manufactured using pure copper and exclude any other metal alloys. Their exceptionally low oxygen content acts as a protective shield, assuring unwavering performance. This is especially crucial in the realm of high-end audio, where achieving top-notch sound quality is of utmost importance, as well as in aerospace applications, where maintaining stable performance is essential.

Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA): CCA cables feature an aluminum core enveloped or “clad” with an outer layer of copper. CCA cables can be safe when used appropriately for specific purposes. However, they may have limitations in terms of conductivity and corrosion resistance. Safety depends on proper insulation and protection, especially in challenging environments.

Tinned Copper: Tinned copper cables are pure copper wires coated with a thin layer of tin for enhanced resistance to corrosion and oxidation.Tinned copper is recognized for its safety and durability. The tinning process enhances its corrosion resistance, making it suitable for applications where safety is essential, such as marine and outdoor electrical systems. Tinned copper combines excellent conductivity with protective qualities.


  • Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC): Pure copper boasts exceptional electrical conductivity, outperforming aluminum. This leads to reduced electrical resistance, minimizing energy loss during electricity transmission.
  • Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA): While CCA retains some of copper’s conductivity advantages, it doesn’t match pure copper’s conductivity. This can result in slightly higher energy losses.
  • Tinned Copper: Tinned copper offers the outstanding conductivity of pure copper with added corrosion resistance, making it a versatile choice for applications in environments prone to moisture and weather-related challenges, such as marine and outdoor electrical systems.


  • Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC): Copper is denser and heavier than aluminum, making pure copper cables heavier due to their solid copper construction.
  • Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA): Copper clad aluminum cables are lighter because the core is composed of aluminum, which is less dense than copper.
  • Tinned Copper: Tinned copper cables generally weigh more than CCA cables but less than pure copper cables, as they combine copper’s density with a layer of protective tin coating.


  • Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC): Pure copper cables are typically more expensive than copper clad aluminum cables due to the higher cost of copper.
  • Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA): Copper clad aluminum cables are a more cost-effective choice, making them appealing for projects with budget constraints.
  • Tinned Copper: Due to the additional expenses associated with tinning copper, tinned copper cables can be up to 30 percent more expensive than their bare copper counterparts. Nevertheless, this higher cost is justified in electrical projects exposed to elevated temperatures, moisture, and contaminated soil, as tinned copper offers superior durability and corrosion resistance in such challenging conditions.


Oxygen-Free Copper & Tinned Copper: Pure copper cables often exhibit less flexibility compared to copper clad aluminum cables. While this reduced flexibility can pose installation challenges in certain situations, it can also lead to a structured and neat design when carefully dressed into place.

Copper Clad Aluminum: Copper clad aluminum cables offer greater flexibility, simplifying work in confined spaces and allowing for easier navigation around critical tight turns.


In conclusion, copper clad aluminum (CCA) can be a safe and cost-effective choice for various applications, but its suitability depends on the specific usage. CCA offers advantages like reduced weight and cost savings, making it attractive for many projects.

However, it’s crucial to evaluate the specific requirements of your application. CCA exhibits slightly lower electrical conductivity compared to pure copper, potentially leading to slightly increased power losses. Consequently, it may not be the optimal selection for high-demand situations like inverter chargers and high-power transformers.

Additionally, CCA cables are more vulnerable to corrosion due to their aluminum core. When planning your solar system and associated devices, it’s crucial to choose the right size for safety. For our installations, we prioritize safety and proper design by opting for pure copper, eliminating any uncertainties regarding gauge requirements.or tinned copper for marine and outdoor environments to avoid potential issues. Safety and proper selection ensure the reliability of your electrical systems.

Should you have any inquiries about selecting the right cable for your project, feel free to reach out to us. Whether it’s a text message or a phone call, the team at IOTG Solar is readily available to assist you with any questions related to your solar or power projects. We’re dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and guidance you need for a safer and more efficient system design. Don’t hesitate to get in touch; we’re here to help.

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