Publication Date

Spring 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Daniel Jackson (Director), Greg Arbuckle, and Mark Doggett

Degree Program

Department of Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


In the global, competitive market of energy transformation, increased operational expenses and depletion of raw materials have resulted in companies pursuing alternate materials to reduce consumer costs. In electrical applications, energy is transformed using materials with high electrical conductive properties. The conductive material used to transmit a signal is called conductor wire and is comprised of any material that has the ability to move charged particles from one point to another without propagation or delay. The conductor wire in many applications is encapsulated in epoxy resin called enamel. The enamel is the insulation system that provides necessary dielectric clearances to prevent voltage leakage. The most common form of energy transformation is the electric motor. Both copper and aluminum conductor wire are commonly used in electric motors, but copper is preferred due to thermal and electrical properties. However, there is a significant economic incentive to convert to aluminum conductor wire. Limited white papers are available comparing the performances of the two materials; the research is limited to physical and electrical performances of the raw material and does not take into considering the insulation. The conductor wire, which includes the insulation, is susceptible to damage during the manufacturing process and is an inherent risk if not fully understood. During the blocking process, the conductor wire is pushed and compressed into lamination slots. This process changes the conductor wire outer diameter to accommodate void spaces within the lamination slots. The percentage of slot area occupied by the conductor wire is known as slot fill. The higher the slot fill, the more wire occupying the available space. The higher the slot fill, the more force required to fill the slots. High slot fill motor designs provide a performance advantage with little associated cost. The more wire pressed into the slot, the higher the potential efficiency gains. However, high slot fill motors are more susceptible to damage.

The study is designed to evaluate and measure the durability of aluminum and copper conductor wire under simulated compression stresses. Utilizing this information, electric motor manufacturers can push current design limits without affecting conductor wire quality and reliability.


Materials Science and Engineering | Operations Research, Systems Engineering and Industrial Engineering