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By: Greg Carter | G+

Why Electrical Contacts Stick

Electrical contacts may stick when they open and close. Small sparks known as "arcs" can corrode the metal and contribute to sticking. Cleaning electrical contacts to reduce sticking is an option. Eventually, electrical contacts need to be replaced.

How to Reduce Contact Sticking

How do you help reduce the sticking of contacts? Electrical contacts are usually made of CDA-110 electrical copper and some have silver tips brazed onto the copper backing to help prevent electrical sticking.  The application determines the construction.

Repco (Replacement Electrical Parts Company) in Marlton, NJ manufactures replacement electrical contacts for motor controls using CDA-110 electrical copper.  The manufacturer's specifications are followed to determine if silver tips are brazed on the backing.

Electrical contact sticking caused by degradation of the contacts can be limited by a number of durable metals and alloys. Listed here are various metal options and reasons for choosing them:

  • Silver Tungsten: superior conductivity and resistance to mechanical and electrical wear.
  • Silver Tungsten Carbide (AgWC): resistance to oxidation that causes sticking.
  • Copper Tungsten (CuW): lower cost when used in oxidation prone applications.
  • Silver Graphite (AgC): common in stationary contact material when coupled with Agw or AgWC.

This article should help you understand why electrical contacts stick and why manufacturers use various processes to help enhance performance.

What is an electrical contact?

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