Lam, Yu-Zhi, McBride, J.W., Maul, C. and Atkinson, J.K.
Displacement measurements at a connector
contact interface employing a novel thick film sensor.
IEEE Transactions on Components and Packaging Technologies, 31, (3), . (doi:10.1109/TCAPT.2008.2001133).
One of the key failure mechanisms for wiring and connector
systems used in the automotive industry, is fretting and fretting
corrosion at the contact interface of connectors. For many
years, procedures have been carried out under laboratory controlled
conditions to investigate both thermal and vibration fretting
effects using environmental chambers and fretting tests. Both
optical and visual inspections have also been adopted to observe
the movement at the contact interface. However, these methods can
be considerably inconvenient and costly. Furthermore, their suitability
for field applications is limited. In order to study the fretting
degradation at the actual interface for in-situ measurement effectively,
a novel position sensor is designed to monitor the relative
displacement. Thick film techniques are employed to fabricate
miniaturized and cost effective resistive devices. The sensor is assembled
into a connector sample by taking the place of the male
component. When the interface experiences movement, the relative
displacement of the contact point would cause a corresponding
linear change of resistance measured across the male and female
connection. The sensors are validated by a series of experiments
and subsequently used in a field test to establish the relationships
between the fretting effects with temperature, humidity and differential
pressure, which is associated with temperature variation.
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