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Metallurgical aspects of contact materials for vacuum switching devices

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4 Author(s)
P. Frey ; DODUCO GmbH, Pforzheim, West Germany ; N. Klink ; R. Michal ; K. E. Saeger

Both the metallurgical aspects of contact materials for vacuum switching devices and their practical applications for important electrical load cases (circuit breaker, contactor, and load switch) are discussed. Because a vacuum contact material has to fulfil conflicting requirements, an optimization of the contact material with regard to the type of application is always necessary. The selection procedure for the different types of contact materials is discussed on the basis of experimental results. Cu/Cr-type contacts yield very good values for the breaking capacity of the circuit breakers used in the medium-voltage range. Optimization must attempt to improve the welding behavior and ability to withstand a high voltage after making short-circuit conditions. W/Cu-type contacts show a long service life in high-voltage contactors. Current chopping behavior, however, has to be optimized. WC/Ag-type contacts are a good choice for low-voltage contactors. The service life and breaking capacity, however, are not always satisfactory and need optimization

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 5 )