Electrical contact material is Cadmium-free

26th November 2015
Posted By : Peter Smith
Electrical contact material is Cadmium-free

Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K. has developed a cadmium-free electrical contact material for use primarily in vehicles and smartphones with what is said to be improved sliding wear resistance compared to existing products. Full scale production of CDF-10 will start on December 1st.

One type of electrical contact material, clad material, uses a different high electrical conductivity contact metal bonded only to the points of contact on a comparatively inexpensive base metal. Clad material enables reduced amounts of contact metal, which functions sufficiently at a thickness of a few dozen microns at the contact points. So clad electrical contacts are an inexpensive material while also having high sliding wear resistance.

In the contact materials market, precious metals have been essential materials for clad material contact points used in components that demand high reliability, such as automotive air conditioner damper motors, with silver-copper-nickel alloys (AgCuNi). In 1993, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo developed CDF-2 for this market, as a modified AgCuNi alloy with improved sliding wear resistance, and it is currently one of Tanaka's core electrical contact products, alongside AgCuNi.

However, with even higher market requirements over recent years, development of even longer-life, inexpensive products have become an issue for the company. - Properties of CDF-10 cadmium-free clad material for electrical contacts The main component of this successfully developed CDF-10 is AgCuNi, to which fine 1-2um deposited particles have been added to control adhesive wear*2 during sliding. The sliding wear rate of CDF-10 is one-fifth that of AgCuNi and one-half that of CDF-2, and when applied at the same thickness, it achieves more than twice the life of either. In other words, CDF-10 enables the same performance to be maintained at half the current thickness, meeting customer needs for thinner contact materials. This technology enables cost reductions of about 20-40 percent for customers developing products that use clad material for electrical contacts.


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