Effect of grain size on the electrical failure of copper contacts in fretting motion

H. J. Noh, J. W. Kim, S. M. Lee, Ho Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of grain size on degradation of electrical contacts during fretting wear was investigated. Copper polycrystals with grain sizes of 2–162 µm were used to examine friction, wear, and electrical contact resistance. The results showed that the electrical contact failure was caused by the compact oxide layer produced at the contact junction. Copper specimens with smaller grains had a longer lifecycle because of grain-size strengthening. However, this strengthening effect was limited to a critical grain size and, with further increase in grain size, plastic deformation underneath the contact surface played a major role in delaying the contact failure caused by oxide formation on the fretting surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalTribology International
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 1


  • Electrical contacts
  • Fretting corrosion
  • Fretting wear
  • Grain size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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