New material can double amount of electricity carried over power lines

AUSTIN, Texas and ATLANTA, Georgia, October 29, 2001 — 3M has developed a new material for overhead transmission conductors that can double the amount of electricity carried over power lines while utilizing existing support structures.

The 3M brand Composite Conductors, referred to as Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced, or ACCR, rely upon a core made of aluminum composite wires surrounded by temperature resistant aluminum-zirconium wires.

They represent the first fundamental change in overhead transmission materials since conventional aluminum reinforced steel conductors, ACSR, were introduced in the early 1900s.

3M released the information today at the 2001 IEEE/PES Transmission and Distribution Conference and Exposition at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. This new conductor holds the potential to significantly increase the options available to the transmission engineer.

On an everyday basis, it operates with lower electrical losses due to the conductivity of the core material and the lack of ferromagnetic losses. When required, it can deliver high power flow, i.e., ampacity without violating line clearances.

The low thermal expansion of the composite core maintains the sag within the design limits when power flow increases. The result is a conductor, which can be used as a replacement conductor, offering increases in overhead transmission line capacity of 1.5 to 3.0 times without modification to the towers or foundations.

The replacement of the old conductor is quick and minimizes disturbances to neighborhoods and the environment. In most cases, ampacity can be doubled without the need for modifications to towers, resulting in savings in labor, materials and engineering. The conductors meet the demands of transmission bottlenecks, thermal upgrades, demanding clearance requirements, river crossings and national parks or other environmentally sensitive areas.

The 3M Composite Conductor has been tested in a number of laboratories in the U.S., Canada and Europe and was recently installed at an Xcel Energy site in Minneapolis. Extensive, multi-span field trials are planned for early 2002. The initial product release will cover standard diameters with 26/7 conductor design. Other constructions will be available later. Accessory development and testing has been carried out by industry manufacturers.

3M, a $17 billion diversified technology company with positions in electronics, telecommunications, industrial, consumer and office, health care, safety and other markets, will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2002.

Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, the company has operations in more than 60 countries and serves customers in nearly 200 countries. 3M businesses share technologies, manufacturing operations, brands, marketing channels and other important resources.

3M is one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average and also is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Additional information about the company is available on the Internet at

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