Southwire Develops Overhead Conductor for Extreme Ice Conditions

Numerous electric utilities across the country have had to weather 
significant ice storms over the past several winters that have taken 
down overhead transmission and distribution lines.<br><br>Southwire has 
developed a new high-quality and high-strength overhead conductor 
designed to help power lines withstand extreme ice loads. Southwire

James R. Dukart

Numerous electric utilities across the country have had to weather significant ice storms over the past several winters that have taken down overhead transmission and distribution lines.

Southwire has developed a new high-quality and high-strength overhead conductor designed to help power lines withstand extreme ice loads.

The company debuted its Max Ice line last year, an offering that uses a high-temperature aluminum alloy in the wire to cut the size of its conductor to about half the size of same-capacity conventional ACSR conductors. Smaller conductor size for same-capacity spans mean less ice weight for the same ice thickness around a conductor, with lower weight putting less stress on poles and towers and reducing ice-related sag.

Smaller wires — with or without ice on them — also mean utilities can reduce tower height and cost in stringing new or replacement wire. In extreme ice areas, anticipated sag during icing conditions requires taller structures to maintain mandated clearances. Southwire says, for instance, that a 1200-foot span of its Max Ice conductor with a two-inch thick ice coat has five feet less sag than any other commercially available alternative.

The Max Ice conductor is composed of a high-temperature-tolerant ZTAL (AT-3) Aluminum Zirconium alloy, a material that contributes to high conductor strength while allowing for thermal ratings of 210 degrees C for continuous operation and 240 degrees C for limited emergency operations. The conductor’s core of ultra-high-strength steel allows for higher stringing tensions and higher safety margins, and a Mischmetal alloy coating offers both high heat tolerance and corrosion protection.

“We define extreme ice as buildup that is greater than 1 inch thick around the conductor,” said Paul Springer, Southwire’s director of overhead transmission engineering. “While those conditions typically occur in the far north, transmission lines as far south as Texas are being designed for extreme ice to guard against the expected increase in super storms and a more variable climate. Max Ice is extremely rugged and will save utilities on downtime and repair costs following major storm events.”


Photo courtesy of Southwire

Newsletters Sign-up
Slide left

Welcome to ElectricSmarts

You're in good company!
More than 225,000 electrical professionals use ElectricSmarts to access our eCatalog of 2 million plus products, the latest new product information, videos, spec sheets and more.
Smart eCat - Fully Interactive Electrical Industry Product Catalogs
Email:
We care about your privacy, see our privacy policy.