Copper-Nanolaminate Composites – a New and Promising Material for Electrical Contacts in High Voltage and High Current Applications
Electrical contacts used in high voltage and high current applications are commonly based on silver-tin dioxid (Ag-SnO) where the SnO is used to increase the durability of the silver contact . Futhermore the silver might be doped or alloyed with other materials such as tungsten or cadmium. The contact material is produced by powder metallurgical approach.
Lately the prices of noble metals are increasing and therefore, the pursuit of finding alternative possibilities is leading to new approaches and materials.
A promising approach is the electrochemical deposition of copper – nanolaminate composites. Two different types of Mn+1AXn phase were chosen as hard particles. One was Ti2AlC from the 211 Mn+1AXn phase family and the second was Ti3SiC2 from the 312 Mn+1AXn phase group. Particles of these two materials (mean size: aprox. 2 µm) were co-deposited with copper to form an electrical conductive surface with higher hardness than common copper. The distribution of the particles was determined using Focused Ion Beam cross section. The behavior at high currents and high voltages as well as in electrical discharges was investigated.
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