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Connector Contact Materials for Elevated-Temperature Applications
Joe Kaiser, Vice President of Product Development at Materion Corporation
Currently, the consumer electronics market segment dominates product manufacture. Consequently, vast sums of design, packaging, and reliability criteria are focused on meeting consumer market buying patterns at the lowest possible cost. The upper temperature limit for consumer products may reach 100°C, which is a very manageable temperature from a connector performance and cost perspective.
Other electronic market segments do not enjoy the volume leverage of the consumer segment, and many such segments have far more challenging temperature exposure ranges. As such, standard, off-the-shelf connectors may fail in these demanding applications. Characterizing these applications in terms of temperature exposure can help specifying engineers identify connector contact materials especially designed to withstand elevated- temperature environments.
The automotive electronics market segment includes many high-temperature applications that standard, off-the-shelf connector products are not designed to withstand.
Elevated-Temperature Environments
Several electronic market segments and anticipated temperature exposure ranges are summarized in Table I. With the exception of the Military/NASA market, the upper temperature limits for the other segments significantly exceed consumer limits (100°C).
Table I: Anticipated operating temperatures for several electronic market segments.

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