Evaluation of Copper-Beryllium Contacts for High Current Density Pulsed Applications

Miguel Lindero-Hernández, Gonzalo Ramos-López, Martín Nieto-Pérez

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    1 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Low-resistance metal-to-metal contacts, both static and sliding contacts, are of interest to many scientific and technical applications as magnetic confinement fusion, railguns, and electrical motors. In fusion applications, silver-coated copper contacts and low-current-density designs are preferred, while in other applications, high current densities are required. For high-pressure high-current-density sliding contacts, contact pairs such as aluminum/copper are preferred as in railguns, while for electrical motors, copper-copper alloys are preferred. Copper-beryllium alloy, C172, is investigated as static contacts for high-current-density pulsed-power applications. To subject the contacts to suitable current pulses and pressures, a special electrical contact assembly has been developed allowing contact pressures from 0 to 66 MPa and current densities from 62 to 263 kA/cm2. The contacts were studied under different current density pressure combinations with repeated 60-μs pulses in air, while current evolution and surface modifications were followed. Besides some surface oxidation, no evidence of other surface modifications like welding or surface melting were found.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8764403
    Pages (from-to)4048-4051
    Number of pages4
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
    Volume47
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Aug 2019

    Keywords

    • Contacts
    • copper-beryllium
    • high current
    • pulsed power

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