Certain traits that silver possesses, such as its conductivity and arc resistance, has made this metal the most commonly used for electrical contacts. Its effectiveness in transporting electricity from one place to another and safety in avoiding problems, such as electrical fire, has resulted in the metal being used in a variety of electrical devices. But why exactly is silver so popular in these devices and in which devices are they most common? Here are three facts about silver electrical contacts.
What is an Electrical Contact?
The purpose of an electrical contact is to either complete or interrupt an electrical current. These objects are designed the carry high current loads and connect directly to high voltage feeds. There are three main parts of an electrical contact; an operating coil, stationary contacts, and movable contacts. Electricity gets sent through a shunt to the control coil, creating an electromagnetic current. This will cause the movable contact arm to either open or close, allowing the current to be completed or interrupted as needed.
Silver is commonly used for electrical contacts in devices because it possesses two primary traits that make it desirable. The first trait is that silver is the most conductive of all metals. This will allow it to effectively and efficiently conduct electricity where needed. The second trait is that it is arc resistant. This is important because arc resistance prevents that electricity from arching between two open contacts. The result of arching could be an electrical fire, making silver a safer metal to use for electrical contacts. For this reason, silver is the ideal metal to use in switches and other electrical appliances that include high electrical loads.
How Are Electrical Contacts Used?
Electrical contacts are used in a variety of ways to complete to interrupt the electrical current. Three common objects made of electrical contacts are contact rivets, multi-metal contacts, and electrical contact tape. Contact rivets are commonly used in fittings that connect contacts to wires. Multi-metal contacts are often used in the production or certain equipment, such as kilns, medical testing equipment, and aerospace equipment. Other metals used in this equipment can be steel or copper. While silver is not always used in electrical contact tape, it sometimes will be. This is typically used to fabricate electronic devices for medical testing equipment and production lines. Silver electrical contacts are quite common due to silver’s conductivity and arc resistance. The result of using silver is the ability to handle more electricity and prevent electrical fires.