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Whisker Formation on Electronic Materials

Whisker Formation on Electronic Materials The filamentary growths of single crystals on material surfaces are termed whiskers. They are seen to nucleate and grow on certain electronic materials either from vapour and liquid phases or by a process induced by residual stresses in electroplated surfaces. Whisker growth does not depend on the existence of an electric field and surfaces prone to their growth may nucleate and form whiskers as a result of exposure to a space environment. This paper includes a detailed examination of tin whiskers which were found to have 1 to 4 micron diameters and lengths exceeding 2 mm. Some were found to carry currents between 22 and 32 mA before burning out. Conductive whiskers can cause extensive short circuit damage to spacecraft electronics particularly as miniature devices progressively employ closer spacings between conductors. Several modes of whisker growth on spacecraft electronic materials molybdenum, tungsten, Kovar, tin have been observed and are described. Tin, cadmium and zinc surfaces can support stressinduced whisker growth and it is recommended that these metal finishes are excluded from spacecraft design and possibly replaced by a tinlead alloy. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Circuit World Emerald Publishing

Whisker Formation on Electronic Materials

Circuit World , Volume 2 (4): 9 – Mar 1, 1976

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References (7)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0305-6120
DOI
10.1108/eb043543
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The filamentary growths of single crystals on material surfaces are termed whiskers. They are seen to nucleate and grow on certain electronic materials either from vapour and liquid phases or by a process induced by residual stresses in electroplated surfaces. Whisker growth does not depend on the existence of an electric field and surfaces prone to their growth may nucleate and form whiskers as a result of exposure to a space environment. This paper includes a detailed examination of tin whiskers which were found to have 1 to 4 micron diameters and lengths exceeding 2 mm. Some were found to carry currents between 22 and 32 mA before burning out. Conductive whiskers can cause extensive short circuit damage to spacecraft electronics particularly as miniature devices progressively employ closer spacings between conductors. Several modes of whisker growth on spacecraft electronic materials molybdenum, tungsten, Kovar, tin have been observed and are described. Tin, cadmium and zinc surfaces can support stressinduced whisker growth and it is recommended that these metal finishes are excluded from spacecraft design and possibly replaced by a tinlead alloy.

Journal

Circuit WorldEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 1, 1976

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