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Components Inc. TEL: 866-481-5137 2400 S ROOSEVELT STREET FAX: 480-731-6216 TEMPE, ARIZONA 85282
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Laminated Bus Bars
Laminated Bus Bars are passive electronic components that distribute power in electronic
equipment. They are used in telecommunication, data processing, industrial control, military,
aerospace and other electronic systems. Their modular form can effectively replace the mass of
round wire cable harnesses, resulting in a simpler assembly, and lower installed cost.

A laminated bus bar is an electronic package made up of thin, flat metal conductors separated
and bonded together by a dielectric material and sandwiched between outer insulating covers.
The number of layers, size and thickness of conductors, type and thickness of dielectric
material, as well as method of termination depend on the electrical and physical requirements of
the specific application. Input and output terminals can be configured for soldering, mechanical
or connectorized methods of attachment. The outer insulation surface can be used for required
identification and termination designators.

♦ Customized modular form for ease of ♦ Low characteristic impedance.
handling and installation.
♦ Superior grounding and shielding
♦ Encapsulated and moisture sealed for capability.
Military/Aerospace applications.
♦ Better heat dissipation because of thin,
♦ High distributed capacitance. wide conductors.

♦ Low inductance. ♦ Various termination methods.

♦ Reduced noise levels in high speed ♦ Consistent electrical characteristics.

♦ Compact design allows for positive
♦ Pre-tested. mounting and fixture add-ons/retrofits.

♦ High current carrying capability with ♦ Error-free wiring.

minimal voltage drop.

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Insulation Materials
A variety of materials can be used for insulation between
conductors and for the outer covers. If the bus bar is to
be edge-filled, epoxy glass is recommended for top and
bottom insulators. If it is to be sealed by pinching off the
insulation, we recommend the use of Nomex*.


MYLAR* .002 3.3 7,500 VOLTS/MIL


KAPTON* .001 3.8 4,600 VOLTS/MIL

NOMEX* .003 2.6 500 VOLTS/MIL

* Dupont trademark

Bus Bar Assembly

Input and output terminations can take any shape
desired. They are usually fabricated from the conductor
base as an integral portion of that conductor. Or, they
can be attached or inserted directly into the conductor.
They can be designed to accept most wire termination
methods some of which are shown below.

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Mounting Holes
The insulated mounting holes of almost any size may be incorporated into laminated bus bars.
However, we recommend the standards shown in the table below. The number of mounting
holes and their placement will depend on the bus bar size and configuration.

Enough metal must be left around the conductor holes to satisfy electrical requirements. A
0.125” / 0.250” insulated hole in a 1.00” wide conductor is shown below.




. 0 3 MIN.

0.125” 0.250”

0.156” 0.250”

0.180” 0.281”

0.205” 0.312”

Edge Sealing
Depending on the application, exposed conductor edges may be sealed by edge filling or pinch

Edge Filling: Edge filling is a process that seals the

exposed conductor edges of the bus bar. Tabs,
bushings and other electrical interconnects are left
exposed. Bussco uses epoxy based materials that are
“catalyzed” to obtain cure. The edge filling process is
accomplished by dispensing a liquid epoxy compound
around the edges of the bus bar assembly, trapping it
between the extended, outer insulating layers.

Pinch-Bonding: In pinch bonding, the extended

layers of insulation are sealed by “pinching” them
together around the bus bar periphery. A SEAL EDG ES

thermosetting adhesive is used to ensure a reliable

edge seal. This method of edge sealing is used
mostly with thinner conductors.

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Conductor Selection Material
The selection of conductor material is based on electrical requirements and intended methods of

Copper: The most common material used, due to its excellent electrical and thermal properties.
Aluminum: Due to its excellent weight in volume ratio, (60% of copper), aluminum can be used
where weight is a consideration.
Brass: Often selected where material strength is more important than conductivity.

Conductor Size
A major factor in determining bus bar conductor size,
is the system’s electrical requirements which include
voltage current, temperature rise and voltage drop.
Additionally, many bus bars act as structural
members. They may contain, or act as the interface
for circuit components such as IGBTs, capacitors,
diodes, fuses, etc.

Properties of Conductor Materials

Table 1. Typical conductor materials used in bus bar construction
Resistivity (ρ) At 20°C
a t°
Conductivity %
METAL Ohms Per Ohms per Coefficient at Specification
IACS at 20°C
Circular Mil Square Mil 20° C x 10-2
per foot. per foot
Copper Alloy 10.37 8.09 101 .393 QQ-C-576
Brass Alloy 37.0 29.06 28 .098 QQ-B-613
Aluminum 17.0 13.35 62 .423 ASTM-B236
Alloy EC
Table 2. Other metals associated with circuit packaging
Resistivity (ρ) At 20°C Conductivity
a t° Coefficient
Ohms Per Circular O h m s p e r S q u a r e at 20° C x 10-2
Mil per foot. Mil per foot 20°C

Tin 69.16 54.29 13.6 .42

Lead 132.1 103.86 8.1 .39

Nickel 46.9 36.82 11.8 .48

Silver 9.8 7.70 105.8 .38

Solder Alloy 103.9 81.56 10.0 .40

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Electrical Characteristics
Current carrying capability depends on both resistance and the ability to dissipate heat. The flat form
of a typical bus bar conductor is a better heat dissipater than a round wire of the same equivalent
cross section. As example; an inch long length of AWG “O” gauge wire has a surface area of only
1.02 square inches, while a .031” x 2.68” bus bar conductor has a total surface area of 5.412 square
inches, nearly 5½ times greater.

As a general guideline, 300 square mils of copper per amp can be used. When two or more
conductors are laminated together, an allowance should be considered to provide for possible heat
build-up. On average, the cross sectional area of each conductor should be increased by
approximately 7½%, for each bus bar layer.

Conductor Resistance: Bus bar conductor resistance depends on the material used and cross
sectional area. To determine the Resistance of a given conductor refer to Tables 1 & 2, and apply
the following formula

Resistance = (Resistivity (ρ) x Length ) / Cross Sectional Area

Since the resistance of the conductor changes with temperature, for operational temperatures of
other than 20° C, allowable variations have to be incorporated. The minimal cross sectional area (in
copper) can be determined by:

A = 3 0 0 x I x [1 + .075(N-1)]

Where A = Cross Sectional area in square mils

I = Current in Amperes
N = Number of conductors

A more accurate method of determining conductor size is by the voltage drop method. Allowable
voltage drop is the governing factor in conductor selection and is directly dependant on the cross
sectional area and the length of the bus bar. Voltage drop can be determined by use of the following

V= R x I

Where V = voltage drop in volts

R = resistance of the conductor in ohms per foot
I = current in amperes

To find bus bar resistance at temperatures others than 20° C, the following formula can be used.

R2 = R1[1+ a (T2-T1)

Where R1 = resistance at 20° C in ohms /foot

R2 = resistance at new Temperature in Ohms / foot
T 1 =20° C
T2 = New operating Temperature in ° C
a = Temperature coefficient of resistivity of the material

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It is desirable to build prototype and/or limited
production bus bars with a minimum tooling investment.

This is done using numerically controlled equipment for

conductor fabrication, usually followed by secondary
operations for special tab shapes and/or forming. Engineering

In high volume production, hard tooling may be used to

reduce cost and to assure component consistency and
integrity of assembly. This method of producing bus
bars assures meeting all electrical and mechanical
requirements of the design.

Tolerance Production
Mounting hole location ± .020”

Mounting hole diameter ± .010”

Mounting hole to edge ± .030”

Tab to tab, single conductor ± .010”

Tab to tab, multiple conductors ± .030”

Tab hole diameter ± .005” Inspection

Tab hole to edge ± .010”

Formed angles ± 2°

Overall length, width ± .030”

Overall thickness: maximum or (reference).

Bend radius: to be a minimum of formed part


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Other Products Manufactured by
Circuit Components, Inc.

• Minimize stiffening costs

• Prevent shock and vibration damage
• Can be used to carry current up to 64 amps, to prevent voltage
sag, or for ground equalization
• Easy installation
• Snap-in version available—for rigidizing—does not require pin
• One or two layer (power and ground ) buses


• Broad product line of suppression and filtering
• Protection from lightning damage or surge/
spikes entering power or data lines
• Product categories include
→ AC/DC power hard-wired & PCB
mount suppressors
→ Plug-in suppressors
→ Main branch and local panel AC
power suppressors
→ Modem, telecom & telephone hard-
wired suppressors
→ Signal/data hard-wired, PCB and
terminal mount suppressors

VIA/PLANE® Substrates *

• Substrates with tungsten/copper or tungsten/gold

filled vias or slots
• Alumina, aluminum nitride, or quartz substrate
material available
• Suited for thin film applications
• An excellent electrical interface platform
• Vias/slots are excellent thermal dissipaters
• Design guidelines available

* Marketed and sold by MICRO SUBSTRATES CORP.

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