A New Silver-Based Graded Composite as Electrical Contact Material
Silver metal oxides (Ag/MeO) are extensively used as electrical contact materials in switching systems. A contact material with ideal operating parameters is very difficultly fabricated by conventional manufacturing techniques. In this paper, a new electrical contact material characterized by graded distributions of different oxides in Ag matrix was fabricated in order to optimize the distributions of operating parameters in material bulk instead of to enhance synchronously properties of that on contact surface. Two selected metal oxides, NiO and SnO2, were doped into Ag matrices, of which one surface layer NiO 12wt% was doped and another SnO2 12wt%, and the concentrations of NiO and SnO2 were varied gradually in bulk. The electrical contact test results show that the average operating number of NiO doped surface layer of graded Ag composite as contact surface is 4600 under 20A current and 220V AC voltage without melted welding while that of samples doped uniformly with NiO is 2200 under the same testing conditions. However, the average loss of mass due to arc erosion of graded samples is higher than that of uniform samples. We conclude that the functionally graded material (FGM) concept has potential application for electric contact materials.
Wei Pan and Jianghong Gong
L. Wang et al., "A New Silver-Based Graded Composite as Electrical Contact Material", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 336-338, pp. 2616-2618, 2007