Xerox has developed CarbonConX® as an alternative to unreliable and expensive metal contacts. Originally created for use in passive devices for electrostatic discharge applications, CarbonConX® has proven to be a preferred technology for electrical switch components. Xerox CarbonConX® technology offers high functionality with low complexity. Useful in a variety of applications, CarbonConX® makes use of pultrusion to form bundles of carbon fibers into each contact, ensuring redundancy in the contact point.
Technology DescriptionThe CarbonConX® technology uses low-pressure pultrusion to bundle thousands of carbon fibers into each contact, ensuring redundancy in the contact point. This process involves pulling the carbon fibers and a thermoplastic or thermosetting polymer through a shaping/curing die. The result is a high-strength, electrically conductive contact.
Using carbon fibers makes the CarbonConX® reliable, inert, and multifunctional. Carbon fibers are less susceptible to corrosion than metal contacts. Their nonreactive nature makes them ideal for use in harsh environments, including saltwater, nuclear power, space, or medical X-ray environments. Additionally, pultruded carbon fiber contacts can act as structural members, due to the high strength material characteristics of the polymer and carbon bundle. The high number of contacting fibers makes CarbonConX® attractive for applications where reliability is critical.
As produced, CarbonConX® surfaces are inherently contact rich, providing statistically regular, evenly distributed contact sites. The effective surface area of a CarbonConX® can be greater than the simple planar surface area, depending on the engagement length of the fibers. The primary characteristics of a CarbonConX® are:
Key Specifications at a glanceMechanical properties: Supplemental information for T-300/M826/dia 1.6
BenefitsCarbonConX® has the following advantages over metal contacts:
Reliable - CarbonConX® provides more contact area (i.e., thousands of conducting fibers per contact), resist films formed on metal contacts, and have lower failure rates.
Rugged - CarbonConX® resists corrosion and contamination, even in harsh environments.
Multifunctional - Using pultrusion to bundle the carbon fibers allows the CarbonConX® to conduct electricity and provide structural support.
Inert - Carbon fibers are nonfilming.
Versatile - CarbonConX® can be manufactured in various design shapes and configurations.
Low cost - CarbonConX® have commodity pricing and use simple, efficient manufacturing processes.
Proven - CarbonConX® have been in practice for many years in commercially available products. Manufacturing capability already exists to support future expansion of the technology.
Intellectual Property SummaryThe CarbonConX® technology encompasses a patent portfolio of over 30 patents, published applications and know-how. Issued core patents relating to CarbonConX® include U.S. 6,214,921 (Electrical component) and U.S. 7,220,131 (Electromechanical device having a plurality of bundles of fibers for interconnecting two planar surfaces); U.S. 8,018,059 (Electrical interconnect with an electrical pathway including at least a first member overlain by a second member at a contact point).
Additional CarbonConX® technology patents and published applications are listed below.
For Licensing InformationTo learn more about licensing the CarbonConX® technology.