By Dr. Michael Azarian
Lubricants are widely used to mitigate wear and corrosion in electrical contacts. Factors influencing the performance of electrical contact lubricants include their chemical stability and compatibility with contact materials; their viscosity; the expected number of contact cyles; environmental, mechanical and electrical usage conditions; and the lubricant application process. In this presentation, methods for assessing electrical contact lubricants will be discussed. Experimental test results for a variety of electrical contact lubricants will be presented. Finally, guidelines for lubricant selection will be proposed based on the properties and chemistry of the lubricant, as well as the evolution of contact resistance and friction with fretting cycles for gold-on-gold contacts.