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Bare Conductor

A bare conductor is an electrical conductor that is not continuously covered with insulation but is supported intermittently by insulators. This type of conductor is typically used in specific applications where insulation is not necessary or practical.

Key Characteristics

  1. Lack of Continuous Insulation:
  • Unlike insulated conductors, bare conductors are exposed and do not have a continuous insulating layer.
  • They are often used in environments where the risk of short circuits is managed by physical separation and support structures.
  1. Support by Insulators:
  • Bare conductors are supported at intervals by insulators, which prevent them from coming into contact with each other or with grounded structures.
  • These insulators are typically made from materials such as porcelain, glass, or polymer composites.

Common Applications

  1. Bus-Bars:
  • Bus-bars are substantial bare conductors used within electrical substations, power distribution panels, and other high-current environments.
  • They distribute electrical power to multiple outgoing circuits within these installations.
  1. Overhead Power Lines:
  • Bare conductors are commonly used in overhead power lines for the transmission and distribution of electricity.
  • These conductors are strung between poles or towers and supported by insulators to keep them elevated and properly spaced.
  1. Grounding Systems:
  • In some grounding systems, bare conductors are used to provide a low-resistance path to ground.
  • They are often buried directly in the earth or placed on the surface in a network of grounding grids.


  1. Cost-Effective:
  • Bare conductors are generally less expensive than insulated conductors because they do not require additional insulating materials.
  1. Heat Dissipation:
  • They can dissipate heat more effectively than insulated conductors, reducing the risk of overheating in high-current applications.
  1. Ease of Inspection and Maintenance:
  • Without insulation, bare conductors are easier to inspect for damage or corrosion, making maintenance more straightforward.


  1. Exposure to Environmental Elements:
  • Being uninsulated, bare conductors are more susceptible to environmental factors such as weather, pollution, and wildlife, which can cause wear and tear over time.
  1. Safety Concerns:
  • The lack of insulation poses a higher risk of accidental contact, which can be hazardous. Proper measures must be taken to ensure safety, such as using protective barriers and maintaining adequate clearances.
  1. Electromagnetic Interference:
  • Bare conductors can generate more electromagnetic interference (EMI) compared to insulated conductors, potentially affecting nearby electronic devices and communication systems.


Bare conductors are essential components in various electrical systems, especially where high current capacity and effective heat dissipation are required. Their applications range from bus-bars in electrical substations to overhead power lines and grounding systems. While they offer cost and performance benefits, they also necessitate careful handling and strategic use of insulators to mitigate safety and environmental risks.

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