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Analysis of surface roughness morphology with TRIZ methodology in automotive electrical contacts: Design against third body fretting-corrosion

Liskiewicz, TW and Kubiak, KJ and Mann, DL and Mathia, TG (2019) Analysis of surface roughness morphology with TRIZ methodology in automotive electrical contacts: Design against third body fretting-corrosion. Tribology International, 143. p. 106019. ISSN 0301-679X

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Abstract

Electrical connectors for motor vehicles are essential for the safe and efficient operation of a vehicle. However, their durability is limited by fretting induced corrosion. This type of surface damage is observed between two interconnected surfaces exposed to vibration and temperature variations. Such conditions occur during normal vehicle operation and cause two parts of an electrical contact to move at high frequency and with a small amplitude of movement relative to each other. This damages both surfaces, creates wear particles and then oxidizes them in the air. This causes an oxide layer to form at the interface, isolating the two surfaces and increasing the electrical resistance, resulting in contact failure. This study shows how the service life of electrical contacts can be extended by a surface design approach that controls the metal interface and ensures low contact resistance. The approach combines surface morphology with the progressive process of interfacial oxidation. A strong relationship between surface roughness and electrical contact resistance was observed and is elucidated in this study. Theory of Inventive Problems Solving (TRIZ) was used to identify surface texturing as a viable option to increase durability of automotive electrical connectors.

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