Electronic components have become more ubiquitous in the last few years. Thanks to technological advancement, they are finding their way into more product categories and industries than ever before. One such recent advancement is the Internet of Things (IoT), which is a network of interconnected systems that communicate using a network protocol. The difference between the current internet and IoT is the heterogeneity. Systems of different functionality, technology and applications will belong to the same communication environment. The mantra that every component and system manufacturer is adopting these days is to make things “smarter.” What started with smart phones is now evolving into the smart watch, smart home, smart city, smart grid, smart retail, smart farming and the list goes on.
With the wearable electronics market growing by the day, the electrical connectors used in these devices are more critical than ever. While gold is the best and preferred metal to use, its high cost has led designers to explore other metals as plating materials. Tin has proven to be a suitable replacement, due to its low cost and ability to withstand environmental factors that wearables commonly come in contact with, including sweat, high humidity, high and low temperatures, corrosive gasses and various types of debris. That being said, tin connectors are more susceptible to failure, and it’s important that electronic designers and engineers understand their primary failure mechanisms to help prevent issues from occurring.
From a nearly non-existent industry in 2010 to an estimated annual spend of around $13 billion in 2015, wearable electronics have come to the forefront in popularity and functionality.