McBride, J.W. and Maul, C.
On definition of intermittency phenomena in electrical connectors during low frequency fretting
Tribology: Materials, Surfaces & Interfaces, 2, (1), . (doi:10.1179/175158308X320746).
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Fretting is known to be a major cause of contact deterioration and failure in connector systems.
During fretting the contact resistance generally increases slowly with time. Superimposed on this
slow increase in contact resistance are rapid changes in contact resistance within fractions of a
second, called intermittences or short duration discontinuities. Consideration is given to the
evaluation of surface wear during the fretting process using a 3D laser scanner. The surface wear
of both plated and solid surfaces are related to the frequency of the intermittency events. High
speed measurements of contact voltage drop and contact current have been carried out and the
results are evaluated using general contact theory. It is shown that sudden changes in contact
resistance can be caused by the interaction of surface films and metallic contact combined with
the melting of current carrying asperities. The latter phenomena also accounting for volt drops
across the contact interface which exceed the melting voltage of the material.
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