IEEE Intensive Course on Electrical Contacts

Next Course Announcement will be 2012


The Course is taught every other year and was taught in 2010 at the Joint ICEC and IEEE Holm Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.  It has been completed revised to reflect recent needs in understanding very low contact force phenomena and the effects of high frequency currents. While doing this, the Course still covers the broad range of electrical contact situations, which are listed below:


o       Making contact and surface finish effects

o       Making connections and connector design [low and high current]

o       Switching contacts ac and dc design considerations [low and high current]

o       Contact materials for connectors and for switching contacts

o       Contact finishes

o       Contact failure mechanisms and how to analyses them

o       Corrosion and the effects of ambient environments


The Course includes class problem-solving exercises so that participants will learn how the Course material can be applied.  A participant in this Course will thus leave the sessions with a thorough and broad knowledge of the subject.  Our teaching approach will allow practicing engineers to use detailed knowledge of contact technology to resolve their own practical design problems.


In 2010 we have again decided to link the Course more closely to the IEEE Conference on Electrical Contacts by holding the Course the 3 days before the Conference. Thus the Course will run from Thursday September 30 to Saturday October 2. The Conference begins on Monday October 4. We are doing this for two reasons:


  1. There has been a persistent request by the Conference participants for an in-depth review of the complete subject of Electrical contacts. This is not possible in a 3-day Conference where the latest scientific studies are being presented. Thus we thought that if we presented the Course just ahead of the Conference it would satisfy this need. It will also give those who are new to the subject an excellent grounding in the subject that will enable them to participate more fully in the Conference.
  2. Although this means working on the Weekend, it does give participants some leverage when requesting time to attend the Course in these times of budget cut backs and budget restrictions in Engineering Departments.


Each participant will receive the full lecture notes plus the 1000 page book Electrical Contacts: principles and applications that was published in 1999. One important aspect of the course will be the 2 sessions where the participants can ask about their own real world problems or their own unique questions. The Lecturers will address them and also lead any discussion of them that may arise from the other participants.


Over the past 30 years the course has continually evolved to ensure that it remains relevant to the contact problems of the day. I believe that if you send your new engineers and your engineers who are new to the subject of electrical contacts, they will benefit enormously. Please check on the Holm Conference Web Site to see details of how to enroll:


Paul Slade, (

Director of the Intensive Course on Electrical Contacts


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