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Electrical contacts are metal devices that make and break electrical circuits. This Article commences with information on materials selection criteria and failure modes of make-break contacts. It describes the property requirements for make-break arcing contacts, namely, electrical conductivity, mechanical properties, chemical properties, fabrication properties, and thermal properties. The Article presents a brief note on brush contact materials and their interdependence factors for sliding contacts. It also describes the type of commercial contact materials for electrical contacts, namely, copper metals, silver metals, gold metals, metals of the platinum group, precious metal overlays, tungsten and molybdenum, aluminum, and composite materials. Finally, the Article provides information on composite manufacturing methods, and tabulates the physical, and mechanical properties of electrical contact materials, including copper, silver, gold, platinum, palladium, and composites.

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