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#11- Combating Corrosion in High Reliability Connectors from Materion Technical Materials

Abstract: This Materion Technical Materials paper presents the buildup of an insulating film on the surface of a connector (corrosion) is responsible for most failures of low voltage, low current, signal level circuits in computers and telecommunications equipment. Corrosion is a chemical process that gradually deteriorates the surface of a metal by oxidation or chemical reaction. Metal contact surfaces are subject to corrosion in the form of galvanic attack, which takes place when high humidity and ambient trace chemicals combine to form an adsorbed electrolyte on the contact surface.

The occurrence of corrosion, however, also depends on the integrity and chemical activity level of the connector's metal surface. If the contact surface must remain stable for a long period of time (a necessity for telecommunication connectors), the surface is coated with a precious metal such as gold through electroplating or cladding. Using and maintaining the appropriate surface coating can help prevent corrosion.