Tips for Locating Contact Base Material Data

When choosing products such as headers, receptacles, and connector housings, customers must consider options beyond the usual pitch, number of positions, gender, etc. Material construction can also be important given that the insulation, shell, and contacts will affect performance based on the specific composition.

For this article, let’s learn how to find the data regarding contact base materials. To learn more about the different types of materials and their basic properties, take the time to read this separate post: [click here Common Contact Base Materials ].

Contacts for Housings

On the Digi-key site, connector housing products will often have a list of manufacturer recommended contacts listed in the Associated Product section of the product page. After looking at the available options and clicking on a specific contact part number, features such as wire gauge, termination type, and contact finish may also be found. The base material might not be listed, though.

(01) First, we’ll look at an example where the contact base material is listed for the contact. Start at the circular connector housing category: [click here ]. Product Index > Connectors, Interconnects > Circular Connectors – Housings.

(02) Choosing part number 23-0845010001-ND as the housing [click here ], we can scroll down to the Associated Product section to see the recommended contacts. Since there are too many options to display, use the ‘View More’ link to see the full results: [click here ]. In this case, all of them are listed as ‘Copper Alloy’ in the Contact Material column. If there were more options, ‘Contact Material’ would appear as a filter.


(03) To see where that information was taken from, view the information in the drawing or datasheet link. Here is the drawing for part number 0845240018-ND, and the base material is listed in the ‘Notes’ section: [click here ]


Process Summary:

— Housing Part Number
— Associated Product
— View More (if shown)
— Contact Material Column

(1A) Next, we will use a rectangular connector housing example where the contact base material is not listed as a filter. We can use the previous example as a guide. Start with the main category link: [click here ]. Product Index > Connectors, Interconnects > Rectangular Connectors – Housings.

(2A) Choose a part number (900-0022013037-ND) [click here ]. Scroll down to the Associated Product section and use the ‘View More’ link: [click here ]. The contact finish is shown, but not the base material, so we’ll check the drawing.

(3A) Part number WM1114TR-ND will be our example [click here ], and the drawing link is included on the product page [click here ]. There, we find that the base material is brass.


Process Summary:

— Housing Part Number
— Associated Product
— View More (if shown)
— Drawing or Datasheet

Fully Assembled Connectors

The same process can be used for connectors that already include the contacts. Many male pin headers have the contact material listed on our site: [click here ]. Product Index > Connectors, Interconnects > Rectangular Connectors – Headers, Male Pins. This can usually be verified by some form of manufacturer documentation.


A similar category currently (as of posting) does not have the base material listed. [click here ]. Product Index > Connectors, Interconnects > Rectangular Connectors – Headers, Receptacles, Female Sockets.

For many of these, use the same process as before:

(x) Click on the part number link to view the product page. (Example: WM20773TR-ND)
(x) Find a drawing or datasheet link.
(x) In that document, look for a listed ‘Material’ other than plating. (Result: “Terminal” = Copper Alloy)

Alternative Sources:

Aside from datasheets and drawings, contact base material data might be found on the manufacturer’s home site. A possible source, for example, is a material composition (or material declaration) document. Many of these list the materials overall, but some have them listed by sections of the part (housing, contact base, plating, etc.).

In some cases, the contact base material will show “N/A” on our site, and there will be no obvious data in the manufacturer’s documentation or on the supplier site. There are also a few occasions where a datasheet/drawing does not have the same data as the supplier’s other pages or documents. If this information is essential, customers should contact Digi-key at or post a request in the forum.