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topic 45692

Galvanic Corrosion on ARCAP AP1D and gold over nickel plated brass


Q. Is there any possibilities of corrosion if the above combination undergoing salt fog test?

engineer - Penang, Malaysia


Composition of ARCAP AP1D, courtesy of Quantum Alloys, Ltd., Buckinghamshire, UK

A. If the gold plating totally encapsulates the part, and is pinhole-free, there can be no galvanic effects on or from the underlying nickel or brass, Wey. I'm not 100% sure whether you are saying that the AP1D is also gold plated or is bare. But again, if the surface is properly gold plated, what is under it doesn't matter galvanically, and it would be fully compatible gold vs. gold.

If it's bare AP1D vs. gold, this strikes me as unusual in the first place. A bare AP1D contact doesn't sound suitable for a low voltage low current digital circuit, and gold plating a higher voltage, higher current contact seems unnecessary. Although there is certainly an available galvanic voltage between the two, it may be of no actual consequence in the dry climate-controlled atmosphere that many electronic devices see.

I do not understand what you are talking about regarding salt fog testing, although there would surely be galvanic corrosion between AP1D and gold contacts if the assembly were placed in a salt fog cabinet. For responsive and insightful replies, please try your best to frame the question is terms of your own situation rather than casting it in the style of a flash card quiz. Readers love to discuss people's actual situation but they usually show very little interest in trying to answer abstract questions. Thanks.

Ted Mooney, amadeya42.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 16, 2017 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hello, I have a gold over nickel contact in a connector and a mating nickel contact. Are they dissimilar, would they corrode?

Berenice Sanchez
aviation company - Chihuahua, Mexico

November 2017

A. Hi Berenice. Millions of people buy "premium gold plated" HDMI cables & audio cables and plug them into the nickel plated jacks on their TVs and sound systems with no bad consequences, so I'd have to say that it is not a real problem in the dry climate-controlled atmosphere of most electronic components.

But no, they are not actually compatible because gold is significantly more noble that nickel.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

November 22, 2017

thumbs up sign Thank you very much Ted for you answer, this contacts will be use on an aircraft, single Engine not on a Jet, so they will be under non-controlled environment but not as aggressive as high altitude.

Again thank you for your answer.

Berenice Sanchez [returning]
aviation company - Chihuahua, Mexico

November 23, 2017

A. Hi Bernice
It is highly unusual to find bare nickel contacts in modern avionics. Gold/nickel compatibility is not the problem.
Bare nickel always has a thin oxide film and any mating connector must have high contact pressure to break through this. More of a problem is the possibility of nickel forming other corrosion products that are less easy to penetrate.
I would be surprised if any aviation authority found this an acceptable combination.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith

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