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Why Rhodium/Palladium??? The Facts.

Discussion in 'Super T Manufacturing' started by forcedfuel50, Oct 15, 2011.

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  1. forcedfuel50

    forcedfuel50 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    1. Question: David, you’ve been making mechanical mods for nearly four years now, why did you switch from non-coated brass battery/switch/atomizer contacts to Rhodium over Gold and Palladium Plated Brass Contacts ?

    Answer: Brass (as well as aluminum, silver and copper) are highly conductive materials with a glaring detriment, they readily interact with oxygen and moisture on a molecular level, a process called oxidation (often also referred to rusting, corrosion or tarnishing). Most all non precious metals oxidize, even stainless steel, albeit very slowly compared to brass, aluminum, silver copper etc.

    2. Question: What is Rhodium?

    Answer: - Rhodium is one of the rarest and most expensive Precious metals.

    - It is a non oxidizing metal; oxygen and moisture have no effect on it. It will not oxidize, tarnish, or corrode.

    - Rhodium is impervious to most acids.

    - Rhodium is extremely hard, with over 4 times the hardness rating of Gold and silver, which is very important due to the high friction and pressure loads electrical contacts in a mechanical mod encounter.

    -Rhodium is extremely resistant to electrical arcing. Electrical arcing occurs when electricity jumps the gap just before and after a switch makes contact and this electrical arcing creates hotspots that oxidize, but since Rhodium is virtually impervious to oxidation, electrical arcing has little to no effect on Rhodium, unlike Nickel, Silver, Brass and copper which are susceptible to the oxidizing effects of electrical arcing.

    -Due to Rhodium’s extreme resistance to the effects of electrical arcing and it‘s extremely high melting point (3600+ degrees and a boiling point of 8000+ degrees), it is often used to coat the end of spark plugs which often see 20,000 volts and localized, intermittent temps in excess of 10,000 degrees!

    3. Question: What is wrong with oxidation?

    Answer: When a metal experiences oxidation, a chemical transformation of the surface layer of the metal occurs, this chemically transformed layer severely impedes the flow of electricity.

    4. Question: Can we see Oxidation?

    Answer: Oxidation is virtually invisible because it occurs on a molecular level, it is only when it progresses so far that free radicals start breaking away do we actually see it’s effects. But it’s effects to the flow of electrical current begin immediately when these bare metals are exposed to oxygen or moisture.

    5. Question: What If we don’t touch the brass, silver, copper etc after we polish it, will it still oxidize/tarnish?

    Answer: Yes, it will begin oxidizing immediately after polishing, these metals only require oxygen or moisture to begin oxidation. Introduction of moisture by touching it or humid air will increase the oxidation rate.

    6. Question: Can we slow the oxidation process of unplated metals such as brass?

    Answer: Yes we can slow it, but not eliminate it and it's only a band aide temporary fix, by applying anti oxidants to a cleaned surface. Anti-oxidants are petroleum based products (which go under many name brands, such a Dexoit Gold, Noalox, Di-Electric Grease, Vaseline etc) that, when applied to metal, help, for a short time, to keep away moisture and oxygen. With Rhodium though, no anti-oxidants ever need to be used as Rhodium is unaffected by moisture or oxygen.

    7. Question: Ok, so I think I understand. Untreated bare metals experience oxidation. Oxidation interferes with the flow of electricity, which makes my switch fire inconsistently and lowers the voltage reaching the atomizer. But you still haven’t answered my question, Why Rhodium?

    Answer: One of the biggest complaints users of all mechanical mods have is the frequent need to clean the electrical contacts in order to keep their unit firing. We’ve all experienced it; the dreaded push the button and nothing happens. Push harder or twist the button, try again. A few moments pause before our atomizer fires, followed by weak vapor. Arrg, time to clean again! Feedback on all mechanical mods is unequivocal, find a solution, so Super T set about researching a solution to the problem! Enter Rhodium.

    8. Question: So the solution to eliminating oxidization was plating the brass contacts with Rhodium, I understand that, but What exactly does the Rhodium do (or not do) that makes my unit hit so consistently and so much harder then my other devices? Is it because it’s so conductive?

    Answer: Actually, Rhodium is just an average conductor, it’s purpose is not to conduct per se, that is still the function of the brass base metal over which the Rhodium is applied and Brass is an excellent conductor. The Rhodium, poses virtually no resistance to the flow of electricity as resistance is also dependent on the thickness of the metal electricity has to flow through.

    BUT what the Rhodium does do, is provide a oxygen and water proof barrier over the Brass which prevents oxidation of the brass from occurring and since the Rhodium itself also never oxidizes, corrodes or tarnishes, it is always making the best possible electrical connection for the electricity to pass through. Hence, you see no loss in voltage to your atomizer and you experience reliable switch action, hit after hit and the biggest benefit of all, you never have to clean it!

  2. forcedfuel50

    forcedfuel50 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    All PrecisePlus's come with Rhodium plated contacts, both the top battery and atomizer post and the bottom switch to battery contact post. It is a tri-plate preparation, involving first a copper plating over the brass base metal, followed by a gold plating, followed by Rhodium. The Tri-plating is to facilitate adhesion and minimize leaching of the base metal into the Rhodium plating.
  3. bmwjen

    bmwjen Reviewer / Blogger Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 2, 2011
    very easy to understand explanation. Thanks for that!
  4. Barefoot Joe

    Barefoot Joe Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 9, 2009
    Grand Cayman
    One of my hobbies is collecting (and using) vintage double edge razors. You know, the kind grandpa used. Many were nickel plated, some gold plated, and even fewer were plated with rhodium. Some guys have their vintage razors re-plated so they look new and shiny. Rhodium is an option for re-plating at some platers. I have a couple of those from the early 1900's and they look great. Very bright, white-like/platinum appearing.

    The reason I'm writing this is to point out that the rhodium looks different on the P+'s. The plating is thin, so the gold shows through and gives it a yellow tint. It looks quite different than what I am used to as rhodium plating. David's post just answered a few questions for me. I can envision how a thin plate of rhodium accomplishes what it is supposed to....prevent oxidation. Whereas the razors are plated primarily for looks, the P+ contacts are plated for function. I will say what has already been said hundreds of times...the P+'s function very well. Kudos David!
  5. forcedfuel50

    forcedfuel50 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Bump for a good read...
  6. Vaporologist

    Vaporologist Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    Epic Journey
    That is a good read indeed... I really appreciate you putting it in a way that even someone like me who lacks basic knowledge of differences in metals can comprehend benefits of Rhodium's presence in a PV.

    Today marks three weeks since I received my P+. I am still amazed that today it hits precisely as it did on day one without any maintenance or cleaning up to date. It's just something I'm not used to. Even with my P18 and P16, I always had to shine the brass contact points weekly to ensure maximum performance. But the P+ just keeps on going on its own... The last paragraph really makes sense to me based on my current experience.

  7. vapn

    vapn Supplier Associate ECF Veteran

    Jul 10, 2009
    Can I get a Rhodium plated Precise? Totally plated, the whole device? Now that would be bad ...!
  8. Vaporologist

    Vaporologist Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    Epic Journey
    It would be!

    But, at the same time, I love the new P+ finish soooo much, I'm really not sure I would like anything else just as much. It really is perfect for me, the color, the feel, the texture... I just freaking love it!!! It would be pretty difficult to top that imo.
  9. vapn

    vapn Supplier Associate ECF Veteran

    Jul 10, 2009
    Yea wish I could experience the finish for myself. Maybe one day I will.... tap, tap, tap.... :p
  10. forcedfuel50

    forcedfuel50 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Sure, just sign your first born over to me, put him/her to work assembling units!!! Hehe..
  11. forcedfuel50

    forcedfuel50 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    That is really good to news to hear Vaporologist! Anything I can do to lessen the fiddling, cleaning and increase the ease of use is a big win for the user! Less fiddling and cleaning=More Vaping!
  12. forcedfuel50

    forcedfuel50 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

  13. Vaporologist

    Vaporologist Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    Epic Journey
    One month yesterday, no cleaning yet... Hitting like a champ! :thumbs:
  14. dspin

    dspin Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 2, 2010
    I am very envious V - Can't wait for the new caps for mine.
  15. Vaporologist

    Vaporologist Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    Epic Journey
    Oh, I know, D... I think you will love them!

    Btw, I know you love shiny but for what it's worth, P+650 is supposed to come out today. I wouldn't be surprised if you totally fell in love with the new finish and actually decided that you prefer it once you held it in your hands.
  16. snork

    snork Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 30, 2011
  17. Vaporologist

    Vaporologist Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    Epic Journey
  18. snork

    snork Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 30, 2011
    David, why rhodium?
    I mean, what precipitated this innovation? Were you just sitting around one day and suddenly exclaim "Rhodium!" and head out to find a rhodium-plater? What was the process?
  19. forcedfuel50

    forcedfuel50 Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    The contacts on mechanical mods have always been the achilles heel, so i started looking into suitable platings. Gold is an excellent conductor, but with our exposed contacts, it wouldnt' last as long. Silver tarnishes like crazy, nickely plating isn't too bad, but it's susceptible to electrical arching and the subsequent oxidization once it's been heated (like in a short). Rhodium just ended up being the best possible solution so we went that route.
  20. ainako

    ainako Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 25, 2008
    Southern California
    Game blouses! getting my p+18650 soon! shipping notification received! So what's this I hear about the p+10440's button getting redone?

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