Resistance Nickel Alloys

All of the resistance wire products are Nickel based, with the exception of the ICA Alloys – which are alloys of Iron Chromium and Aluminium, but which exhibit very similar electrical resistance properties as the nickel chrome alloys.

The alloying of various elements with nickel produces electrical and physical properties that are diverse. Some have been developed for their electrical resistance properties, and some for their strength and corrosion resistance at high temperatures.

Nickel Chrome Alloys

Nickel Chrome alloys, or Nichrome alloys have excellent electrical resistance properties, operating at temperatures up to 1200 °C. This property coupled with high resistance to oxidation and chemical corrosion makes these alloys ideal for use as resistance wires in furnaces and heat treatment applications.

  • Nickel Chromium 37/18 (Nichrome 37/18)

    A Nichrome alloy with a composition balance primarily of Iron. It is suitable for continuous operation up to a maximum temperature of 1050 °C and is recommended for furnace use with atmospheres which might otherwise cause dry corrosion for higher nickel content materials. In particular, it has a better resistance to sulphur attack and “green-rot” – a type of corrosion produced by alternating carburisation and oxidation. A large temperature coefficient of resistance means that the change of resistance with increase in temperature must be taken into account during design.

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  • Nickel Chromium 60/16 (Nichrome 60/16)

    A Nichrome alloy containing long life additives and with a composition balance of Iron. It is suitable for use up to 1100 °C, and has good resistance to oxidation and chemical corrosion. It has a medium temperature coefficient of resistance that makes it suitable for less exacting applications than 80/20 Nickel Chrome alloys.

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  • Nickel Chromium 80/20 (Nichrome 80/20)

    A Nichrome alloy containing long life additions that make it eminently suitable for applications subject to frequent electrical switching and wide temperature fluctuations. It may be used at operating temperatures up to 1200 °C and has good resistance to oxidation and chemical corrosion. A low temperature coefficient of resistance coupled with a high resistivity makes it suitable for control resistors.

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Nickel 212 (Manganese Nickel)

A nickel alloy with the addition of 2% Manganese. Applications include electrode support wire and cold tail connectors for heating cables and mats.

Copper Nickel Alloys

Copper Nickel or Cupro-Nickel Alloys cover a range of quite similar materials. Generally their medium resistivity and low temperature coefficient of resistance make these alloys ideal for control resistors and thermocouples. Additives to the alloys are introduced to improve specific characteristics. The most popular of the copper nickel alloys are introduced below.

  • Copper Nickel 23

    Copper Nickel 23 or CuNi23Mn is a copper nickel alloy with the addition of Manganese to produce an alloy with a relatively low resistivity but high resistance to oxidation and chemical corrosion. Maximum working temperature is 500 °C. Applications include heating cords and mats.

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  • Copper Nickel 6 / Alloy 60

    Copper Nickel 6 or Alloy 60 is characterised by low resistivity, with a medium resistance to oxidation and chemical corrosion. The maximum working temperature is 300 °C. This material is used in heating cables and in electrical welded fittings.

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  • Hecnum (CuNi44, Constantan)

    Hecnum (a registered Trademark of Omega Resistance Wire) or CuNi44 is a Copper Nickel alloy containing Nickel, Manganese and balance Copper. Its medium resistivity combined with its low temperature coefficient of resistance makes it ideal for control resistors. It is suitable for low temperature heating elements up to a maximum of 400 °C. Due to its high EMF against copper it is suitable for use in thermocouples and thermocouple extension or compensating leads. Hecnum can be supplied with an oxidised or enamelled insulation.

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Iron Chrome Aluminium Alloys

These alloys are not actually nickel alloys, but have electrical resistance properties similar to those of the nickel chrome alloys. These are ferromagnetic alloys that are used in electrical heating elements and, by virtue of having no nickel, are generally cheaper than a nickel chrome alloy. They can operate at high temperatures, but suffer from higher corrosion than nickel chrome alloys. Additionally, at high temperatures the ICA Alloys tend to creep and become embrittled. Hence care must be taken to adequately support elements made from these alloy types.

  • ICA 135

    ICA 135 Alloy or Iron Chrome Aluminium 135 Alloy is a ferromagnetic alloy which can be used as electrical heating elements up to 1300 °C. The addition of additives and the accuracy of material preparation ensure that its disadvantages compared to the nickel chrome alloys are reduced. ICA 135 should only operate in a dry environment in order to avoid corrosion.

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  • ICA 145

    ICA 145 Alloy or Iron Chrome Aluminium 145 Alloy is a ferromagnetic alloy, which can be used as heating elements up to the very high temperature of 1350 °C. This makes it particularly useful for the heating elements of industrial furnaces.

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Nickel Iron Alloys

Nickel Iron Alloys are also known as Glass Sealing Alloys due to their primary application. These are alloys of Nickel and balance Iron, with additions to affect particular properties. In all of these alloys, the key property is the coefficient of expansion that is approximately equal to that of glass – hence the application as a glass sealing material.

  • Nilo 42 / Alloy 42

    Alloy 42 or Nilo 42 alloy has a fairly low and constant expansion factor up to 300 °C, which enables its use in high temperature thermostats, such as for gas and electric stoves.

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  • Nilo 48 / Alloy 48

    Alloy 48 or Nilo 48 Alloy has a coefficient of expansion approximately equal to that of soft glasses of the soda-lime and lead-oxide types. For this reason their application covers a very wide field in the manufacture of electric lamps and electronic equipment.

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  • Nilo 52 / Alloy 52

    Alloy 52 or Nilo 52 Alloy is particularly suitable for soft glasses, and has its most important application in reed switches and in electronic transistor components. Due to its low dispersion it can be used for high frequency relays.

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  • Nilo K / Kovar

    Also known as Nilo K or Kovar, this 29% nickel-iron alloy, modified by the addition of 17% cobalt has a very low coefficient of expansion, matching very closely the medium hard boro-silicate glasses. It is widely used in the manufacture of high power radio transmission, X-ray tubes and many types of electronic equipment. In addition it is suitable for use with ceramic materials for creating seals.

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