While electrical equipment is used as the primary power source in a wide variety of applications, it can be dangerous if not installed correctly. Energy sources and conductive wires can be harmful to humans and cause device failures if not grounded properly. While numerous devices and methods are implemented to ground electrical equipment, this blog will focus on the bonding strap.
A bonding strap is a device used to connect two electrically conductive materials and give them a low impedance path in which electricity can travel. This low-resistance pathway for current prevents the dangerous difference in potential between the two connected terminals. Thus, bonding reduces the incidence of electrical shock by lowering the current flowing through both bodies to a safe level. Additionally, bonding straps allow a breaker to trip when the current exceeds the limit. Bonding straps are often manufactured in compliance with safety standards set forth by Underwriters Laboratories, Canadian Standards Association, and the American National Standards Institute. Although bonding straps can be used to make any electrical system safer, the most common uses are on aircraft, homes, and marine vessels.
Depending on the application, bonding straps are designed using a braided, mesh, sheet, or solid wire pattern. Regardless of the design, the straps feature high tensile strength and rigidity. Another variation between straps is their material, the most common being aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and silver-plated materials.
On aircraft, bonding straps are used extensively to ground the primary aircraft structure components and protect against lightning damage. Compared to other applications that implement bonding straps, aircraft face unique challenges that must be considered. Since aircraft are exposed to corrosive elements frequently, an aluminum alloy strap is commonly employed. Additionally, as many of the bonding connections on an aircraft include flat surfaces or rivets, special bolts and screws are commonly included with the straps for installation. An additional consideration when using bonding straps on an airplane is the connection of dissimilar materials. For example, if a bonding strap is made of an aluminum alloy and the terminal is made of stainless steel, a fastener should be placed in between to prevent any corrosion.
Bonding systems are a critical component in a home's electrical system. As the electrician installs various branch circuits throughout the house, they will be sure to connect each one to the grounding conductor via a bonding strap. Moreover, since plumbing and other non-electrical metallic surfaces may accidentally conduct a current, it is standard for these surfaces to be bonded to the service equipment. Thus, if done correctly, essentially every circuit and other at-risk metallic surfaces will be grounded.
As boats are constantly exposed to corrosive elements, onboard electrical systems are especially vulnerable to failure. Additionally, two dissimilar metals that are connected in water face the unique risk of galvanic corrosion. Therefore, the third piece of metal is used as a "sacrificial" anode to prevent this phenomenon. A bonding strap is used to provide a safe passageway of current between the three parts.
Choosing a reliable bonding strap is a significant factor in creating a safe electrical assembly. Aviation Gamut is a leading distributor of NSN, aviation, and electrical components, including bonding straps. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we offer unmatched pricing and lead times on an inventory of over 2 billion new and obsolete items. Furthermore, as proof of our continuous dedication to quality practices and export compliance, we proudly operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. Browse our expansive inventory and get started on the purchasing process today to see how Aviation Gamut can help you fulfill all your operational requirements with ease.
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