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Contact materials for use in vacuum chambers

Contact materials for use in vacuum chambers

We offer low-gas contact materials for use in vacuum chambers. Our switching contacts made of tungsten carbide-silver (WCAg), tungsten-copper (WCu), and tungsten carbide-copper (WCCu) reliably switch high short-circuit currents in the range of 7.2 – 24 kV in vacuum contactors, closed-circuit systems, and reclosers and can withstand over a million switching cycles.

Your advantages at a glance:

  • High resistance to arc erosion

  • Excellent electrical conductivity

  • Excellent resistance against contact welding

  • Very low chopping current

The right switching contact for every application

WCAg40 switching contacts

We produce our WCAg40 switching contacts according to international standard ASTM B 663-94. They have a silver content of 40% by weight.

  • WCAg40 (tungsten carbide 60% by weight, silver 40% by weight)
WCu switching contacts

We supply our WCu switching contacts in VFG (Vacuum Fine Grained) quality. This means that they are ultrapure and have an excellent electrical conductivity. Depending on the requirements, we have various VFG materials in our range with two different copper contents:

  • VFG10 (tungsten 90% by weight, copper 10% by weight)
  • VFG20 (tungsten 80% by weight, copper 20% by weight)
WCCu30 switching contact

Our switching contact made of WCCu30 is a cost-effective alternative to WCAg and is also manufactured from low-gas raw materials for use in a vacuum.

  • WCCu30 (tungsten carbide 70% by weight, copper 30% by weight)

Do you have any questions regarding choosing the right material or our switching contacts? We would be happy to advise you. 

Typical material properties for our contact materials for use in a vacuum

 

WCAg40

VFG10

VFG20

WCCu30

WC (% by weight)

60

0

0

0

Ag (% by weight)

40

0

0

0

W (% by weight)

0

90

80

0

Cu  (% by weight)

0

10

20

30

Density (g/cm3)

12.6

16.5

15.2

12.2

Electrical conductivity (m/ohmmm2)

20

22

25

15

Hardness HV30

170

220

210

230

In order to be able to offer you the ideal combination of different material properties, we produce our composites using powder metallurgy processes. The most important steps: we mix the base materials, then press and sinter the material. This is the most cost-effective way to ensure our contact materials have the necessary electrical and mechanical properties. Our manufacturing process enables us to achieve a very high material density of over 97%.

A comparison of various contact materials

In the graph below you can see the chopping current of various contact materials tested in a 20 kA/24 kV vacuum contactor at a maximum current of 630 amperes.

  • Source: F. Heitzinger et al., 15th ISDEIV, Darmstadt, 1992

Other products for energy technology

Would you like to know more about our contact materials for medium voltage? Then please visit our product pages for switching contacts made of tungsten-copper and copper-chromium: