Electronic – meant by the term “galvanic contact” in this sentence

circuit breakerelectrode

Simply speaking, a switch or circuit breaker are two metallic contacts (electrodes) that are in GALVANIC CONTACT with each other when closed and separated by a certain distance when open.

I don’t really get what galvanic means in this contest. I thought the term galvanic was used in relation for a production of a direct current by chemical reaction (galvanic cell), but in a circuit breaker there is no DC electrical production, so what other meaning has galvanic?

Best Answer

You're right about galvanic cells, but the word has picked up other usages. As usual with human language, there's no guarantee of logical consistency in these developments.

Galvanic contact and galvanic isolation simply refer to the presence or absence of a direct electrical connection. That is, a current through a conductor, rather than a connection via capacitive or inductive coupling, optical coupling, and so on.

In my experience, galvanic isolation is much the more common term. For example, transformers and optocouplers provide galvanic isolation. Galvanic contact makes sense as a consistent antonym, but I haven't seen it used anywhere near as much.

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