What is Contact Area
The contact area is the mechanical area where a PCB and bolted connectors used in specialist electric vehicle applications make physical contact with each other. It is the region where the PCB and connectors come into direct contact, allowing for the transmission of electrical signals and power.
The contact area can be visualized and analyzed using advanced techniques such as X-Ray computer tomography. This non-destructive method enables the graphical representation of the contact interface, creating a “contact map” that reveals the actual properties of the contact area. By examining the contact map, engineers can gain insights into the forces applied during the contact, facilitating the evaluation of the connection’s reliability and performance.
The contact area is influenced by various factors, including the magnitude of the contact forces applied during the connection. Different contact forces ranging from 0.8 to 4.8 kN can impact the size and shape of the contact area. Additionally, the contact area can be affected by the electrical current passing through the connectors. High DC currents, commonly encountered in specialist electric vehicle applications, can introduce reliability issues at the contact interface. Current cycling of the connectors can also lead to increased contact resistance and alterations in the contact force, further influencing the contact area.