Product Code: ICAL06_P507

Precision Adjustment of Spring Contacts Using Laser Forming
Danny MacCallum, Sandia National Laboratories; Albuquerque NM USA
Gerald Knorovsky, Sandia National Laboratories,; Albuquerque NM USA
Jeremy Palmer, Sandia National Laboratories,; Albuquerque NM USA
Joshua Arvizu, Sandia National Laboratories; Albuquerque NM USA
Presented at ICALEO 2006

Small-lot, precision electrical contact gaps frequently require manual adjustment under a microscope: a time consuming, skilled-operator dependent procedure. Laser forming has been shown effective in bending ~mm-thick, low strength, flat stock steels and is evaluated herein as a high productivity, high precision alternative. The application discussed uses thin, high reflectivity, high conductivity, and high strength Neyoro-G. Since laser forming requires thermal-gradient-induced non-homogeneous plastic strain, size-scale and material properties were of concern. Calculations employing simple models from the literature and a non-linear, transient finite element analysis (FEA) were used to evaluate feasibility and suggest laser processing parameters. The FEA model employed temperature-dependent mechanical properties; modeled both a scanned-spot and stationary bar-shaped source equal to the contact width; and used heat inputs chosen to promote through-thickness thermal gradients with peak temperatures at the Neyoro-G final heat treatment temperature (to avoid softening). Material properties, process parameters and initial and final material conditions are discussed and related to bi-directional bending behavior. The bar-shaped heat source was more effective. Comparison to a mechanical adjustment alternative, its FEA model, and contact displacement experiments are discussed. * Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

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