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topic 12258

Advantages of tin plating vs. bare copper for bus bar


In a 48 volt DC application, is it necessary to tin plate copper bus (No. 110 / half hard Copper)? Are there any REAL advantages (i.e. better thermals, more reliable electrical connection, less voltage drop, etc.)? It should be noted that the normal operating environment is controlled.


Everett Salinas
Compaq Computer - Houston, Texas


Something should be done at the connections to insure good electrical conductivity because copper does oxidize and create high resistance joints. The options include silver plating, tin plating, or application of a joint compound such as "No-Ox-Id" from Sanchem. The joint compounds work fine, even in severe environments like plating shops, and at much lower voltages, but considering that you may not want a wet compound on the joints, tin plating may still be your best answer.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Tin corrodes far less than copper. The military uses silver on some of their equipment because it does not form whiskers and is reasonably corrosion resistant with superior transmission of electricity. It actually does not cost terribly more than tin, once a process is established and has a run on a regular basis.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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