Constriction Resistance Behavior of a Tin or Silver Plated Layer for an Electrical Contact

Shigeru SAWADA  Kaori SHIMIZU  Yasuhiro HATTORI  Terutaka TAMAI  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E93-C   No.4   pp.521-526
Publication Date: 2010/04/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1353
DOI: 10.1587/transele.E93.C.521
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Electromechanical Devices and Components
electrical contact,  contact resistance,  plating,  contact load,  contact area,  

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Electrical contacts are an important part of electrical circuits and many reliability problems are related to electrical contact failure. It is important to investigate the relationship between load and contact resistance which is an important factor of contact reliability. In this study, the effect of plated material and plated thickness on contact resistance was examined. The samples were constructed of a copper alloy with tin or silver plating. Contact configuration was hemispherical-flat contact. The contact resistance was measured by using a four-probe method with a load up to 40 N. The relation between indentation contact area (i.e. apparent contact area) and contact resistance was determined. As experimental results, the contact resistance depends on the indentation of the contact area. In the same contact area, tin-plated samples have higher resistance than those that are silver-plated due to their own resistivity. The constriction resistance of a plated layer, which depends on contact area, plated material and plated thickness, is analyzed by a theoretical solution, which is shown by R=Φρ /2a, using a surface resistance coefficient Φ . The theoretical results show almost good agreement with the experimental results. Thus, the indentation contact area (i.e. apparent contact area) is almost the same as the real contact area in this study.