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A Change in Paradigm: Maximum Tin Whisker Lengths Just Got Longer

Posted by Gerd Fischer, PhD, and Bob Esser, PhD on Aug 31, 2016 3:15:04 PM

Initial troubleshooting identified a potential shorting condition as the failure mode. Locating electrical shorts can be extremely problematic, but a through examination of the product identified anomalies emanating from a flexible film connector (FFC) contact receptacle. Closer inspection using a higher magnification stereoscope identified tin whiskers growing from the surface of the tin plating and bridging the distance between two receptacles. An example is shown in Figure 1. Follow-up analysis using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) confirmed these findings. An example of these results is shown in Figure 2.

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Topics: Failure Analysis, tin whiskers

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