Slide 10Aluminum Wire: Examples of aluminum wire field failures in electrical circuits

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Aluminum electrical wiring field failure photographs: Color photos and descriptive captions from CPSC Meeting 9/28/95. In this document aluminum wire twist-on connector failures and repair procedures are described, including aluminum wire repair methods which work and methods which do not work and are unsafe. Color photos of aluminum wire repair procedures, and photos of failed connectors are included.

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Photographs of Aluminum Wiring Field Failures

This document series describes hazards with existing aluminum wiring repair products, explains the aluminum wiring failure mechanism, and reviews recommended retrofit procedures including use of readily-available materials. This information was presented to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission by Dr. J. Aronstein, 9/28/95. The minutes of that meeting were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and posted by Daniel Friedman January 1996.

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Slide 10 10. Field failures are also seen. These were from an aluminum-wired senior housing complex in the DC area. A large number of these twist-on connector splices were found with various degrees of heat damage in an on-site inspection in which CPSC participated. (Photo courtesy of Tom Donahue)

Slide 11 11. The earliest visible sign of overheating is often softening and melting of the wire insulation, as in this field failure.

Slide 12 12. This field failure shorted to ground when the thermoplastic insulating shell softened due to overheating in the connector-spring area. Short circuits, due to insulation deterioration on the connector or wire, add to the fire hazard posed by the failure of aluminum-wired twist-on connections.

Slide 13 13. This field failure is from Canada, where they had a substantial number of aluminum-to-copper twist-on splice failures in electric baseboard heater installations.

Slide 14 14. This field failure was in service 9 years. Failure of the aluminum-wired twist-on splices occurs in a relatively short time for a component of the permanent built-in wiring of a home.

Slide 15 15. Note the burn-back of the wire insulation and the characteristic discoloration pattern on the connector shell of this field failure. (Photo courtesy of Eleanor Posey)

Slide 16 16. This last field failure again shows the typical overheating band. A number of field failures have been shown to emphasize that they are not rare. Both UL and CPSC investigated field performance and uncovered a substantial number of failures, with the worst-case failures resulting in structural fire and fatalities.


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