What type of metal are the tips of USB connectors/plugs typically made from? Aluminium?

I've noticed they will often, quite-easily, oxidise/rust/corrode.

  • Which part is "the tips"? Do you mean the electrical contacts inside the plug/socket, the metal shield, or something else? – gbulmer May 7 '16 at 3:50
  • @gbulmer The tips; the extremities, the points of contact/termination. (So both, I guess?) Admittedly, I assumed they would all be the same material. But obviously there is a bit more to it than that. – tjt263 May 7 '16 at 3:57
  • Okay. I must admit, I have probably more than 100 USB cables, and I have never noticed rust or corrosion. The vast majority of my cables are full-size or full-size to mini USB. Is this a phenomena you've noticed on mini, micro or any USB? – gbulmer May 7 '16 at 4:06
  • @gbulmer Now that you mention it: Mini only, I think. Like the one often used by external USB WLAN interface cards and other small peripheral devices. – tjt263 May 7 '16 at 4:12
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Well, quick search at Mouser gives:

For this model:

enter image description here

And for this:

enter image description here

So I'd say stainless steel, some gold plated copper alloy(brass) and flame retardant plastic.

  • The contacts themselves are made of brass. They are usually plated with gold. Sometimes, they are plated with tin to save cost. – Nick Alexeev May 7 '16 at 3:49
  • Very nice, cheers. I wonder why they plate it with a tin alloy; wouldn't it be better to just leave it stainless steel? – tjt263 May 7 '16 at 3:51
  • 1
    @NickAlexeev brass is a copper alloy :P (added your info to the answer) – Wesley Lee May 7 '16 at 3:58
  • 3
    I believe not. I dont know but I'd guess its something to do with chemical bonding of different metals. Just a wild guess. – Wesley Lee May 7 '16 at 4:07
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    Not bad for a wild guess, stainless steel grows a protective coating of nickel oxide, tin plating provides a surface that's easier to solder to (the tin will dissolve in the solder). once the stainless steel is wet with solder air is excluded, and no nickel oxide layer forms. – Jasen May 7 '16 at 8:32

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