Types Of Electrical Contacts

Eugene Vargas

Electrical contacts are important components of electrical circuit breakers. They are usually located inside the interrupting chamber of the circuit breaker. Electrical contacts act as the contact surface for the joining material responsible for breaking the circuit. Contacts helps to protect your electrical appliances from current overloads and short-circuit. Here are the four types of contacts used in day-to-day appliances.

Make-Break Contacts

These contacts derive their name from their mode of operation. A make-break electrical contact will either "make" the circuit by maintaining the connection with the conducting material or "break" it by disrupting this connection.

Make-break contacts are further sub-divided according to their power load.  Contacts that have higher current loads are often made of copper wire thanks to its high conductivity.

Sliding Contacts

Sliding contacts are quite different from make-break contacts when it comes to their mode of operation. This is because sliding contacts do not actually break contact as the flow of electrical current breaks.

A sliding electrical contact moves with great speed and accuracy as the flow of current breaks. This speed and accuracy does not allow sliding contacts to offer a high level of resistance.

Fixed Electrical Contacts

Fixed electrical contacts have to be clamped together when you first want to use them. They can then remain in this position for a number of years without having to be moved. If not clamped, fixed electrical contacts will be bolted.

Fixed electrical contacts are used to maintain the integrity of their parent component. They do not take part in either making or breaking the flow of electric current.

Demountable Electrical Contacts

A demountable electrical contact is similar to a make-break contact. Demountable contacts are used when a single breaker unit must be separated from a larger electrical network. The duration of separation allows for repair and/or replacement of the demountable electrical contacts.

These contacts have the capacity to handle large amounts of current at any given time. However, they cannot control whether the current will actually flow through the circuit breaker or not.

Demountable contacts have to be attached and detached whenever the circuit breaker is not in use. They are made of copper or one of its alloys.

It is important to point out that a circuit breaker that has faulty electrical contacts is a threat to the safety of anyone using the electrical appliance.  Do not hesitate to call in your electrician if you notice that the contacts are defective.

For more information, contact a business such as East Hawthorn Electrical Services.