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The manner in which two conductors touch to form an electrical contact is described, and the influence of the phenomena occurring at the interface on the engineering properties of the connector is discussed. In the last ten years, significant advances have been made in our knowledge of the mechanical, electrical, and thermal aspects of the contact between surfaces. These have led to a better understanding of the deterioration processes which occur naturally in connectors. A new philosophy of the evaluation and specification of connectors which utilizes these results and which links the engineering reliability of the device to the basic science of the interface is discussed.