What Are Busbars?
Have you ever installed a busbar in your career as an electrician? When you’re working with different electrical currents, panel boards, and electrical enclosures, you’ll likely have to use or work around busbars. This article will help you to understand the purpose of busbars and why they’re so important in electrical work.
What is a Busbar?
Busbars, also known as bus bars are used to carry an electric current from one location to another. They’re used as conductors that collect and transmit the electrical power coming from an incoming feeder source. While this might seem like a basic function for a piece of electrical equipment, busbars are uniquely created to serve many different electrical functions. A busbar is a metallic bar or strip made of solid metal, typically copper or aluminum. These bars or strips are generally uninsulated, rigid, and wider compared to electrical cables. They also come in a variety of shapes including flat strips, rods, and thick bars, which allows them to have many different purposes. The shape and format of a busbar help it to be used in many different ways since it can connect to different point locations without requiring a new joint to be created. They can even be suspended in the air with the aid of supporting insulation pillars or they can be wrapped in insulation. The rigidity of busbars helps them to withstand any movement or vibration caused by machinery or even earthquakes. This makes busbars very consistent and dependable to use. However, some electrical conditions, such as magnetic forces, heating, and temperature variations, can be difficult to manage with overly stiff busbars. For this reason, thinner, more flexible busbars were created in the form of thin, layered conductors.
What Role Do They Play in Electrical Work?
Busbars are typically used and housed in electrical panel boards, busway enclosures, and switchgears. In these locations, they help to aid the high current power distribution in that localized area. Additionally, busbars are used to join different pieces of high-voltage electrical equipment in switchyards. They’re also used to join together different pieces of low-voltage electrical equipment in battery banks. They carry a larger amount of voltage within a cross-sectional area. Busbars are usually connected to other electrical elements through clamping, bolting, and/or welding, which provides a firm, permanent connection. For this reason, busbars are typically used in locations such as data centers, factories, laboratories, technology centers, retail business facilities, and more. Busbars are even used in the construction of some electrical vehicles to aid the high-voltage connections that are necessary to power such vehicles. They are increasingly found in other high-tech products as well. If you typically do electrical work in smaller, residential homes, chances are that you won’t have to use busbars in your work. Cables will likely do the trick in connecting electrical currents and manning current power distribution in residential electrical work.
Cables vs. Busbars
Cables, like busbars, are also used to carry an electrical current from one condition to another. However, cables are often limited in their uses because of their thin design and tricky installation requirements. Cables often have to be installed inside walls, which requires difficult adjustments and installation processes. They are also often more susceptible to the curious chewing of pests and dangerous water leaks, which can produce big safety risks. Busbars have steel casings, which protects them from these risks. One reason why busbars are popularly used is that they are wider than electrical cables and more easily modifiable. They are also more reliably compressed with a sleek design. These formatting features enable busbars to carry a larger amount of electrical current within a determined cross-sectional area compared to cables. They also make electrical connections and conductions easier and safer since they’re less expansive. Their distribution of power using junction boxes and plugs helps to eliminate the safety risk caused by human error. Busbars can be used in high-voltage systems that might normally fry a cable. This is due to their improved resistance and heat absorption features. Busbars are also a more affordable option than cables. Busbars prevent more electrical current from being lost, and they’re also cheaper and easier to install. They don’t require a lot of space to be able to carry a lot of high-voltage currents. Cables can be very expensive and complicated to install. If they then have to be reconfigured, it can be incredibly expensive, risky, and disruptive to make such changes to the cable network. As a result, busbars are much easier and more reliable to use than cables.
If you have been wondering what a busbar is used for in terms of electrical work, remember the details in this article. Busbars are used to carry electrical currents, similar to cables, but they’re created and formatted in such a way that makes them useful in many different ways. If you’re working with high-voltage electrical systems in big tech locations, using busbars instead of cables could be a huge game changer for you.