WASHINGTON, DC - Increasing interest in the various uses of electrical contacts is the leading impetus for the development of a proposed new standard, ASTM WK34423, Specification for Electrodeposited Coatings of Palladium-Cobalt Alloy for Engineering Use.

The proposed standard is being developed by Subcommittee B08.08 on Metallic Coatings, part of ASTM International Committee B08 on Metallic and Inorganic Coatings.

“Due to increased activities in the electric and hybrid-vehicle technology areas of the automotive industry, electrical contacts with higher temperature ratings are becoming very important,” said Sheikh H. Rahman, Lear Corp., and leader of the task group that is developing ASTM WK34423. Additionally, Rahman notes that support from the U.S. federal government in finding alternate energy sources and minimizing carbon emissions has been a factor that has contributed to interest in the hybrid and electric vehicles that created the need for ASTM WK34423.

Rahman noted that the automotive industry and its supply base, particularly plating companies, will be the primary users of the proposed standard once it has been approved. While palladium-cobalt plating has been used in the electronics realm for years, it has not to this point been introduced to the automotive industry.

According to Rahman, having a high temperature limit is an important advantage of palladium cobalt plating.

“Currently, the highest temperature that can be achieved for an electrical contact is 165 to 170 degrees Celsius through silver plating,” said Rahman. “The palladium cobalt plating will boost this temperature from 170 to 395 degrees Celsius.”

Participation from all interested parties, particularly those within the plating industry, is encouraged in the ongoing development of ASTM WK34423.