Creep tests for copper alloys

Lamifil introduces a participative research programme to better control the effects of creep during and after installation, thereby increasing efficiency.

The Creep Problem

When installing railway catenary lines using alloys like CuMg, CuSn, CuAg, … every railway infrastructure owner or installer knows the cost and time implications of creep. After installation one can estimate and allow a certain resting period to compensate, or one could try frequent measuring, and constant maintenance.  However both options are time consuming, expensive and result in a network at standstill. For traditional pure copper wires, creep values are known, however they are not known for the new alloys being installed within the harmonized standards (EN 50149/EN 50119, etc.). It is our opinion that a better understanding of the creep characteristics of these alloys will lead to an increased efficiency of working with them.

The Participative Research Programme

Therefore Lamifil has initiated a participative research programme designed to test the creep properties of the new copper alloys and compare them with the pure copper products. This is done through a series of tests conducted to the appropriate DOE (Design Of Experiment). The research aims to examine the influence of certain process engineering choices in relation to the creep characteristics. More than 56 tests will be performed at 500h each in order to obtain the greatest possible accuracy of the measurements. All tests are performed under strictly controlled air temperature and wind conditions.

The Test Parameters

The research will start with investigating the following parameters:

  • Alloy: Cu, CuAg, CuMg 0.1, CuMg 0.2, CuMg 0.5, CuSn 0.3
  • Temperature: 20°C and 80°C
  • Tension: 30% and 50% RTS
  • Section: 107mm² and 150mm²

For customers who participate, an extensive and detailed testing report will be provided, including a comprehensive overview of all tests planned.

Upon specific customer request, the standard tests package for all participants can be extended with more customer specific parameters. For these special tailored tests the test results will be confidential to the customer concerned.

The Laboratory

Testing will be performed in the ISO 17025 accredited, testing- and inspection-laboratory housed at Lamifil, which is particularly well equipped and suited for these tests.

The Deliverables

  • A detailed overview of the complete planned test programme
  • Quarterly reporting of completed tests and findings
  • Annual or semi-annual meeting with detailed discussion of the results
  • Access to the lab with prior arrangement

Interested companies are invited to contact us and join in this research programme that is sure to have a substantial beneficial impact in our understanding of creep in new alloys, and increase efficiency greatly.