Electronics Glossary – K

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Term Definition
Kapton A trademark of E. I. duPont for a plastic of the “imide family” that is capable of withstanding 400°C for extended time. Used as a flexible substrate (such as a miniature pc board) to interconnect silicon chips.
Kbps A data rate. Kilobits, or thousands of bits, per second.
kcmil Thousand circular mils. The power industry uses this symbol in preference to MCM.
Kelvin Scale The temperature scale whose origin is the temperature at which all molecular motion would cease. The unit is the degree Kelvin (oK), which has the same magnitude as a degree celsius (oC).
key A projection which engages with a keyway to guide a component during mating.
keying A mechanical arrangement of guide pins, guide sockets, keying plugs, contacts, bosses, slots, keyways, inserts, or grooves in a housing, shell, or insert that allows connectors of the same size and type to be lined up side by side with no danger of making a wrong connection. Keying may also be accomplished by numbering the connectors and matching panel positions, or by using connectors of a different size or color. Under certain circumstances, keying and polarization may be combined in a connector design.
keying plug A component used to provide additional polarization for mating connectors. Two types of keying plugs are Intercontact and On-Contact. Intercontact:These keying plugs are designed to fit into slots between the contact cavities. A slot must be cut in the mating pc board for proper engagement.; On-contact. These keying plugs are designed to fit into an empty contact cavity. A slot must be cut in the pc board, or the mating contact must be removed from the mating connector for proper engagement.
keyway A slot or groove in which a key engages.
kilo Metric prefix meaning 1,000.
Kilobits per second (kbps) 1,000 bits per second. A measure of transmission speed.
Kilovolt kV – a unit equal to 1000 volts.
KMER Kodak metal etch resist. A photosensitive material used to mask silicon and silicon dioxide for selective etching. Performs the same function as KPR.
Knee (of the demagnetization curve) In the second and fourth quadrants of the hysteresis loop, some materials such as ferrite and rare earth exhibit a distinct ‘knee’, or rapid change in slope of the intrinsic curve. The location of the knee is of interest to designers.
Kool Mu Kool Mu (r) is a magnetic material that has an inherent distributed air gap. The distributed air gap allowes the core to store higher levels of magnetic~ when compared to other magnetic materials such as ferrites. This characteristic allows a higher DC current level to flow through the inductor before the inductor saturates. Kool Mu (r) material is an alloy that is made up of basically nickel and iron powder (approx. 50% of each) and is available in several permeabilities. It has a higher permeability than powdered iron and also lower core losses. Kool Mu (r) is require to be pressed at much higher pressure than powdered iron material. The manufacturing process includes an annealing step that relieves the pressure put onto the powdered metals which restores their desirable magnetic properties. Thus, the powdered particles require a high temperature insulation as compared to powdered iron. Kool Mu (r) performs well in switching power applications. The relative cost is significantly higher than powdered iron.
Kovar A trademark of Westinghouse Electric Corporation for an iron-nickel-cobalt alloy which has a coefficient of expansion similar to glass and silicon. Used as a header material and in glass-to-metal seals. Has thermal characteristics similar to alumina.
KPR Kodak photo resist. See also KMER.
Ku-Band The frequency interval from 12.4 to 18 GHz.
Kulka block Kulka is a manufacturer’s name (Kulka Electric Corp), but the term is frequently used in error as a generic term to describe terminal blocks in general.
kV Kilovolt – A unit equal to 1000 volts.
Kynar Trade name (of Elf Atochem North America) for polyvinylidene fluoride and its copolymers.