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#21- Wear Properties of Commercially Processed Thin Gold Alloy Connector Contact Materials

Abstract: The volatility in the palladium (Pd) market continues. The market value of Pd is expected to remain between $700 and $800 per ounce for the near term. With gold holding steady at about $300 per ounce, Pd and Pd-20Ni will remain more expensive than gold. In a previous study, the author presented preliminary data on the performance of gold-nickel (Au-Ni) alloys and compared the results to the performance of Pd-based systems.

Thin Gold Alloy Connector Contact Materials Overview

This Materion Technical Materials study continues the evaluation of Au-Ni materials. Hardness and corrosion data are provided, as well as lubricated and non-lubricated wear performance of diffused Au-Ni (DGNi) connector contact materials. Riders were fashioned from DGNi coated metal strip to simulate the geometry of a production telecommunications connector. The riders were cycled against production pins. The contact finish on the pins was gold flashed palladium (GFPd). Changes in the dynamic coefficient of friction were used to identify the transition from mild to severe wear. It was found that DGNi materials are harder than equivalent alloys, GF DGNi exhibit similar corrosion behavior to Au-Ni alloys in FMG environments, and that GF DGNi contact finishes exhibited superior wear resistance when compared to GF Au-Ni alloys.